Vickies Cakes the homemade original natural family recipe turned into a brand!

Making meals from scratch is always something to be cherished, especially when the tradition is passed down throughout the family from generation to generation. Christian Sargent, Founder of Vicky Cakes, grew up making her homemade meals with her siblings every night for dinner and every Saturday morning they would devour her buttermilk pancakes. This later prompted her to launch her business.

Affectionately named after her mother, the pancake recipe has brought bright smiles and full stomachs to everyone who has sat down at their kitchen table. It is genuinely one of the most requested meals in their family and is a staple that will never lose its weight.

Thankfully, my mother’s love for the kitchen, culinary skills and passion for feeding people’s souls was passed down to me, and I proudly present to you Vicky Cakes Buttermilk Pancake Mix™, the recipe that has won people’s hearts time and time again,” Sargent states.

Their company motto is, “Laugh together, eat together and build together whole enjoying the heart of breakfast”.
I recently interviewed Mrs. Sargent where she chatted more on her company.

Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself and your upbringing?

I was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, the hometown of the late Michael Jackson. I am the youngest of four siblings. My mother, Vicky, was a single woman who was strict in her parenting approach, but she showered us with love and affection. My mother would always tell my siblings and I that our focus should be God and education.

The city we grew up in was very dangerous and it is nothing short of a miracle that all of my siblings and I did not become a product of our environment. We rose above the negative stereotypes thanks to the standards and foundation my mother built for us. I am forever grateful to her for that.

Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations/mentors? How did they impact your life?

My greatest inspiration isn’t just one person, it is more of my ideas and overall outlook of the limitless possibilities that inspire me in my walk of life and beliefs to strive for the highest level of success because all things are possible to those who believe.

The only mentor I’ve had on my entrepreneurial journey is my husband who is a serial entrepreneur. He is my rock and truly one of the best assets I have in life. The man is bad to the bone! HA!

When did you realize your passion for entrepreneurship?

Believe it or not, the first time I heard the word entrepreneur was at the age of 21 in 2009 and I realized my passion for entrepreneurship in 2011. My husband and I went to a church where the pastor taught it like it was the Bible and we grabbed ahold of it and never looked back after that.

Realizing that we all have gifts and we just have to identify them and operate in them without restraints was all I needed to keep my mind focused and driven to see my gifts make room for me in the marketplace as an entrepreneur.

What inspired you to start your own business and product line?

My husband! Yes, my husband Cortney was the one who tasted my mothers pancakes in 2013 when we went home to visit her for the holidays and he told us right at the table that we should sell them and call them “Vicky Cakes”! We laughed it off and didn’t do anything with his idea/suggestion until May 2019.

I realized that I was doing of a lot of things that I was good at but I wasn’t doing what I LOVED! I love food, I love cooking, I love watching people eat and enjoy my food and I love family! All of these things were incorporated in the family tradition of my mother’s pancake recipe that has been around for 40 years.
It was at that moment I realized I needed to ask her blessing to use her recipe to create and launch a pancake and waffle mix company that would build a legacy for our family and change the breakfast industry forever!

How difficult is it to break into the breakfast food market?

I would say that if you start with a foundation and mission that goes beyond crushing the competition and instead truly being the superior product and caring about the consumer and their experience, it is not hard at all.

I have known my “why” since the beginning and I have confessed the ultimate goal for our brand from the beginning as well; therefore, all of my efforts, thoughts and actions are leading me to those results and nothing else matters on this journey.

What are some obstacles you’ve faced that you didn’t plan for when thinking of your great product?

Okay, this is going to sound strange, but we have not encountered many obstacles. Now there have been some things we didn’t know about because we are new to this but everything we have applied for, gone after, asked for, requested, etc. has been met with approvals and yes’.

There’s been countless hours of research and resources that we have uncovered but it has all been to our advantage to have a mindset of “this is working in our favor” instead of “it may not happen for us”.

Can you tell us some differences in your product and the regular on shelf brands?

We’re often asked at events what makes our pancakes and waffles so different than what is in stores already and we have the best response: It’s a homemade from scratch recipe that will have you looking for our grandma under the stove to see if she made it for you! HA!

We don’t have all of the junk in our mixes that other brands do, no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, additives etc. We also use REAL premium ingredients to make our mixes. For example, I was in utter shock after discovering in my research that less than 90 percent of major brands who offer a “blueberry” product actually uses real blueberries. They are imitation blueberries that consist of sugar bits that have been dyed blue with added fruit flavor to appear as blueberries. They have no nutritional value at all and are just there to give the appearance of the real thing. 

We are the difference because we have the real deal in each of our bags of blueberries, pecans and chocolate chip pancake and waffle mixes. Quality should not be sacrificed for price because the families who support and eat our products deserve the best!

What influenced you to make your product vegan/all natural?

I didn’t want just another “add water” only mix on the market. That would take away the from scratch recipe that I grew up on and how my mother perfected it to be. So I decided early on in the product development phase that we would NOT include powdered dairy (milk/eggs) in our pancake and waffle mixes. 
At the time my goal was not to intentionally make it marketable to vegans. I didn’t even know that it qualified as vegan until about a week after launching and a few people asking us when we would have a vegan mix and my husband looked at me and said, “You know our mixes are vegan friendly already right?” I was so shocked and excited at the same time!

Think about it, if a “complete” pancake mix already has powdered milk and eggs in it how much preservatives and additives have to go in it for it to sit in a warehouse for 3-6 months, then on the shelves of stores for another month and then in your pantry for 6-12 months? It’s not the best nutritional value or choice for the consumer and I would rather our consumers use their choice of ingredients to enjoy our light, fluffy and delicious pancakes and waffles then to have a dense, chalky tasting breakfast from artificial additives.

How many current flavors does your brand have so far?

Our complete product line currently consists of Original, Blueberry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip and Gluten Free – Original Pancake and Waffle Mixes. 

What are some of your short term and long term expectations/goals?

Our short term goal is to be the to be the top selling pancake and waffle mix brand on Amazon. And our long term goal is to replace Aunt Jemima, as Americas best and favorite pancake and waffle mix!

What great words of wisdom and advice can you offer our readers and future entrepreneurs?

Follow your heart. Do not sell yourself short by thinking small and by limiting your success based on how you grew up and what your current situation is now.

In the course of six months your life can change drastically by making one decision today to no longer accept mediocrity. Want more? Know that you deserve more and believe that it is already yours! Go get it!


We suffer from gun violence and police brutality,

So PTSD and prescription drugs are the government’s therapy for our reality.

Born and raised in the ghetto,

The struggle is a blessing,

Humbly building yourself up,

Becoming something more than their label of nothing.

Against all odds the outlier becoming a success,

Despite all the stress seeing everyone and everything around you look a mess,

You are a rare commodity.

Nightmares of failure makes the dream stellar,

To your surprise all it takes is focus and drive,

Biological make up of a king not that ole derogatory ‘N’ word synonym.

Exclusive Interview: Orlando Jones

Late last week Orlando Jones released a video stating he was fired from the show American Gods on STARZ because of race implications. Here at Purposely Awakened, it is our mission to highlight issues such as this one that arise in our community.
I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Mr. Jones on behalf of the magazine where he chatted more on the situation and what his next moves are.

Growing up and still till this day, who are some of your inspirations and how did they impact your life?

I always think that is a tricky question because you can never name them all. You can only name the ones that come to you in the moment. If I had to sort of circle the ones that I think  are probably the most impactful for me, one would be James Baldwin, his work was extremely impactful for me and Dick Gregory, is another human being who was extremely impactful, as he was one of the first comedians that I’d ever seen, as well as one of the first entertainers that didn’t discuss who he was as a victim, and I think that the same is true for James Baldwin. They described the conditions with a great deal of empathy and understanding but they were not victims.

When did you realize that you had a passion for acting and working in Hollywood?

I can’t say that I had a passion for working in Hollywood. I mean I’ve always been [in it]…my first job in Hollywood was as a writer. So, I think it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m a storyteller and I think that the truth of the matter is, that you have to make a simple and critical decision; which is that Hollywood has a very specific rule as a business, so either you are working in your craft. And the craft is in my world a very important aspect where you’re working but trying to be successful in the medium, whatever that is. 

In my opinion, the medium changes. We see that happen in music. We’re watching it happen in television; in that they’ve gone from records, 78’s and 45’s to 8 tracks and compact discs and now we are at downloads. But someone’s ability to play, that’s the craft; someone’s ability to be successful in all of those formats, that’s the medium in the business. So for me, I’ve probably been doing that since I was a kid; maybe 15 or 16-years old, and I think that it was something that other people noticed in me; it wasn’t something that I noticed in myself but overtime it did become clear to me that if my public speaker teacher said to me; it was the lady who got me into debate, “I stand up in front of this class everyday and I can’t get these people to shut up and you get up and two seconds later, they’re quiet and want to hear what you have to say. That’s a very particular type of gift and I’m gonna teach you how to use it”, and she did.

What was your first your first job in Hollywood?

My first writing job in Hollywood was on A Different World.

At what point did you realize that you had “made it” as a writer and as an actor?

I don’t know what that means exactly. I think “made it” is very different to different people at different times in their careers and I also think it depends on how you see success; how you view success. For me, I’m still as passionate about what I do as I was then, so I don’t know if there’s such a thing as “made it”. There is always striving to continue to grow your craft but I don’t think that there’s a mountaintop and if there is, I don’t care about being on one mountaintop. I care about continuing to climb and grow and to expand but I don’t think that communication, which is what art is, is about “making it”. It’s about commerce and people who want to be famous. I don’t want to be famous. I wanted to tell stories and communicate with other human beings.

Over the years, you’ve had many memorable roles; most recently you were, Mr, Nancy in American Gods. How did you land that pivotal role in that show?

I was and I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and I’d read the book and really liked it and when I heard that they were making the show, I sent him a message on Twitter and I was like, ‘Hey man, I’d love to do Mr. Nancy’. But the real way that it happened was Margie Simkin who was the casting director; along with her partner, Orly Sitiwitz. I had worked with Margie Simkin in the past and she went to Bryan Fuller and Michael Green and said, ‘What do you think of Orlando Jones for Mr. Nancy?’, they apparently liked that idea and they called me up and I had just flown in from Africa where I was shooting a project called, Madiba, with Laurence Fishburne. We had a conversation and that was it, after I spoke with Bryan and Michael, they sent an offer over as I was Mr. Nancy.

In Season One, your introduction to the show, the story of black people in America was polarizing. What were your initial thoughts on the reading of the script?

I don’t see truth as polarizing, I see it as liberating. For me, Anansi is a god, he’s not a man and I think that one of the things that people often struggle with is that they think that he is speaking as a man and he is not. He is speaking as a god; and he’s only there because someone prayed to him and he came to liberate the person who prayed to him and he is completely comfortable with everyone killing themselves in sacrifice to Anansi. So, I did it hilarious that people would find that polarizing because all of these….if you’re a racist, all the black people die in that scene; you should be happy and if you’re black or if you’re disenfranchised, then you are able to get a snapshot of the difficulties that has befallen my people; and that we are still fighting today and I thought it was beautifully written and it was not apologetic; and it was probably the first time I’d ever read anything for a movie or television that unapologetically described what it feels like; and I think that it laid out a clear action at the end of it for those slaves to take.

So, I was excited by it. I thought it was going to be groundbreaking. I’d never seen or heard anything like that. I’d never seen an African god or heard anything like that before, that’s why I was so excited about the character in the beginning and why I emailed Neil Gaiman. So, I was overjoyed that I had always dreamed of what Anansi could be, there it was in black and white on the page and all I had to do was to bring it to life.

Your role in season two would expand as you would also become a writer. Becoming a writer, did it help to make Anansi more real for you or all you to put more of yourself into that role?

I put myself into season one, so I don’t think that I put more of myself into it. It was simply a situation that was unfortunate in that I really didn’t have the time to be apart of American Gods season one because I was, as I said, shooting three films and doing something really comprehensive about the apartheid movement; playing someone who was one of my idols, Oliver Tambo. I remain in awe of Oliver Tambo as a human being and to play him from a young man to his death was extremely important to me, so I couldn’t get from Africa to Toronto, so I only did two scenes in season one.

In season two, those writers who were writing extremely extraordinary material were suddenly gone and I had a problem because the people who had the job at the time, didn’t know how to write the character and clearly had no interest in it, so having been a writer for 25 years, I know how to do the job but I really wasn’t expecting to have to do it for myself, let alone others. So I was just really acting out of survival mode.
We had set a very high bar in season one for Mr. Nancy and there was a lot excitement about getting to see more of him in season two and I just didn’t want to disappoint fans and so I jumped into the writing chair for Mr. Nancy really to try and maintain the high bar, quality and focus of the story that he told and I was just protecting the character and protect myself as a performer; you’re only as good as the last thing you did in this business and so I didn’t want these gifted writers who left the project to suddenly put me in a situation where now Mr. Nancy was crap and so I kind of dove into it with that responsibility.

What I also wasn’t expecting was that I was going to get all of the disenfranchised characters; Kahyum Kim, who plays “New Media”, a Korean born actress, I had Salim and Jinn, Palenstian and Muslim, both actors,  who were straight in real life, but playing two gay characters; writing them. I had “Shadow Moon” the French born lead of the show. I had Demore, who was playing Mr. Ibis on the show. I had (Dobos?), a Nigerian born, African actress, I had Sam Blackcrow, a Native American actor. They handed me all of the disenfranchised; “Laura Moon”, who plays “Shadow’s” wife; a white actress. So I ended up with women and and the LGBTQ+ and the black people and Asian people and The Native American people. So suddenly, I found myself highly responsible for all of those; that’s the bulk of the show. I didn’t want to just write my stuff and tell my cast mates to go to hell and so there it was, that became my season two responsibility on American Gods.

In season two, your character gives a wonderful speech on peace, which was a wake up moment for modern black society. How much input did you have in the creation of this scene in this episode?

Well, I wrote it, so that was the input. I worked with Rodney Barnes throughout the course of the season. But if you’re asking who wrote all of those characters or who wrote Mr. Nancy, there’s only two people who wrote anything Mr. Nancy said and that would be me or Rodney Barnes, that’s pretty much it. If you’re talking about those other characters, the vast majority of their stuff was written by me or Rodney Barnes. There were small contributions that came from other people, so for the most part, the thrust of what you saw for the scenes was what we wrote.

After that speech, did you feel the energy change on set or in meetings or suffer any backlash before being fired?

No, because there was nobody there. I think people have a different idea of the way Hollywood really works. The truth of the matter is, the writers room for American Gods is in Los Angeles, we were shooting in Toronto, so there’s nobody there to fight with per se. They come in and visit and say what they say and then they go away and the director who is there shooting is actually a guest director. They are only there for a week, maybe two weeks before they go away. They don’t even know as much about the show as the cast and the crew do, so it was a difficult situation to get through because what was previously written had black gods worshipping and discussing a white Jesus and that just didn’t make any sense to what we’d established in season one of the show but the writers had written it anyway and that didn’t make sense for Ibis or Bilquist or Mr. Nancy and so I threw that out and decided that or suggested, I should say first, the way I thought the scene should go.

As Bilquist is sitting in a bizarre position in the “War between the Gods” because she’s kind of joined up with the “New Gods” but she is an “Old God” and I just wanted to have a real conversation about what Mr. Nancy might to her to get her to realize that her being in the middle, not making a choice; how detrimental that was to her worshippers and that’s really what that speech is about, it’s pointing out that women of color are the targets. They are the ones that are dying, being kidnapped or being human trafficked. There’s more slavery today in the world than ever before in the history of the world and that is the outcome of sitting on the fence and so Nancy was her to engage in helping fight that rather than waffle back and forth, the way she is right now because she’ll never experience true power or really, not so much power; she’ll never be fully realized as a Goddess again if she can’t liberate her worshippers and deal with Ibis’s death. 
So for him, war is a good idea and whomever dies is a good news for him because they all as he says, “Lay before him”, and that seems to be a conversation that those African gods would have rather than us sitting around talking about a white Jesus; who we wouldn’t worship in the first place; we’re gods ourselves so why would we care about the white man’s iteration of us?

Recently, you posted in your social media that cultural implications and social standings played a part in their action. Why do you believe or feel that way?

I think the real outcome of what at least I experienced was American Gods had a 19 month hiatus between season one and season two and 11 of the cast members; the vast majority; the bulk, I think eight of them or seven of them are disenfranchised. So when you come to work and no one, not only has written your character but the studio is very clear that they didn’t care about those characters, as far as they were concerned, the show was really about “Mr. Wednesday” and  “Shadow Moon”; they just wanted them riding around in a car and the rest of us were, you know, to be thrown away or used however but we weren’t important. That’s a very particular point of view and it takes skin color and it clearly says that if you have pigment or if you’re a woman, you’re less important than the white man and there’s this mixed black guy here; I shouldn’t say mixed because I don’t know what that is, drinks are mixed; bi-racial black man here and we’re going to take the story from his point of view because the story and the book are all about “Shadow Man’s” view of the world and we’re going to put the show in the white man’s point of view.
If you take the show and you take the point of view from the bi-racial man and give it to the white guy and you diminish and don’t care at all and are open and upfront about how little you care about all of the other characters, how does one conclude that that’s not about race? Well, so let’s say thatbim wrong, then you have a new show runner who goes around and tells all of my old writing colleagues, all the cast, the crew that he wrote from a black male perspective. This is a guy wearing a “stay woke” t-shirt, talking like a black man, wearing a “Black Panther” t-shirt. So that’s a blizzard thing to see, a black man who pretending to be a white man, who is saying that my character is bad for black America. Again, I guess we can try and conclude that that’s not about race but he’s talking about race.

When you throw in the last part of that, which is; they asked me to write the characters, they begged me to do the work to write those characters but then they didn’t want to pay me to do the work and when I point out to them that I was a Writers Guild member and that this was a Writers Guild show and what they really were asking me to do was to go against my Guild, they were very angry with me and I said, why are you angry? You paid all the white people to do the work; you paid the white men; you paid the white women but they’re not doing the work, they’re at home, fully paid. I’m here doing it and you don’t want to pay me. Again, I guess we can say that’s not about race but the only person who had their contract held was me.

The only person that got fired in the eleventh hour was me. So, if this isn’t about race, then why is the studio consistently talking about it and why do their actions consistently say, you’re not important and the reason you’re not important is because you’re black; who cares, what’s really important is this over here, you see and I don’t know how to conclude that things aren’t about race, though I do find it hilarious that people would say, I brought it up, but I like to point out to them that I didn’t write the words, angry get shit done! In season one, two white guys wrote that. The studio and the network approved that. So if the new show runner doesn’t like that, the people she should talk to, is the people who hired him and if they’ve decided that they don’t like that about Mr. Nancy, how is that my fault? I didn’t write the book, I performed it.
So all of it to me is the white power structure made decisions but their vitriol fell upon me, for what, doing a good job as an actor, doing a good job as a writer, doing a good job as a producer? So what crime and I guilty of in this scenario that would lead them to do the things they’ve done and if it’s not about race, then what is it about?

As a human rights activist, did you find purpose and ease in playing such a relatable, expressive role?

I think that I always try to bring some purpose and attention to whomever I am playing. I like to play different characters, this was a character, this is a character that I’m a huge fan of, that I very much wanted to play. I mean it was difficult. It had a high level of difficulty because there was not a lot of support, as you might have imagined. When you look at the sixteen months of production for American Gods; I only worked twenty-one days on it, in that season, I worked less than anybody on the series, so it was difficult.

I don’t think that I deserve a special prize for having the ability to do my job. It would have been nice to have had some support. It would have been nice if they cared about the character and write for that character and I’m really excited and proud of the work I did and I’m really happy and proud about the way it was received by people of all colors but to say the sound of it was difficult under these circumstances, blatantly being told that they didn’t give two shits about you and really not  giving you a lot of screen time because you don’t see a lot of Mr. Nancy, but for my scenes to be the only ones that most people ever watched on that show is an odd irony but I’m proud of what I was able to do and excited about getting on to the next thing. I want to say it wasn’t easy.

What advice and words of wisdom can you offer to our readers and aspiring actors and actresses?

It’s a very different world than it once was and if what you’re waiting on is for someone to give you permission, that’s not the way it’s going to happen. You have to give yourself permission and once you realize that that’s what you need to do then I think it changes everything. That means that you’re not waiting on Hollywood to discover you and I think it also depends on if you want is fame or you really want to learn the craft. For me, it was all about learning the craft and your phone. You can make a movie with your phone and you can post it, if you want, when you’re done making it.

You don’t need anything else with a phone and a computer. You can absolutely make a movie with a phone, a computer and another camera, aside from your phone; you’ve now got two cameras. So you really don’t need Hollywood to make content or tell your story and you don’t need a distributor to broadcast your story. You don’t need millions and millions of adoring fans, you just need ten thousand people in your area who want to support you and with that you can build a successful business. So if you’re waiting For is for someone to give you permission to do this, it’s going to be a long wait and I don’t know that you’re waiting on, well if I get famous, then it’s all going to be fine, well I’m famous and I’ve been famous for a really long time but that didn’t stop any of the treatment that I experienced.

So I just think we have to look at these obstacles as what they are. I’m not new to racism, that’s why I’m not angry or broken up about what I experienced. I’m just calling it out for what it is and doing the best that I can to try and create better conditions for the ones that come after me. But in terms of being broken by or being surprised by it, yeah none of that is true. So if you really want to do this, work on your craft and once you feel like you’ve got something that you want to share, share it. But don’t ask for permission, you don’t need permission.

Is there anything else that you would like the readers to know about the situation that you’re going through that I may not have asked about?

No, not particularly. Not at this juncture. I think it’s a sort of, it is what it is situation. It will obviously continue to play out. I think the only thing I would add at this point is to say, I’ve been fortunate in that people have come out in my favor but to be fair there’s also been plenty of people who were quite upset with me and who only cared about how what I said affected them and some of those people were black. So if what you’re expecting is solidarity when you go down this road, that’s not what you’re going to get. All you can do is speak your truth and do the best you can to achieve your goals, which for me is trying to create a better work environment for the next disenfranchised person who walks into this type of scenario and doesn’t feel that they have the power to do anything.
So given what Free Mantle has done to Michaela Pereira, the British born actress who did the chewing gum series; Gabrielle Union, myself, Mel B, Nick Cannon; there’s a long history of this company diminishing people simply because of their gender or color of their skin or their sexual proclivity and if we really care about humanity and diversity and really believe that people are people and that artists are artists and that they all deserve to be treated equally, then we can’t all continue to let and support those types of companies that are going to blatantly do that and I’m hoping that we’re able to shed some light on that and create better conditions for whomever comes next.

Wow…That’s Crazy

Ain’t no looking back since we were captured and bound by chains & then heard the whip crack knowledge they wanted us to lack our consciousness would die and mind desensitize.

Very little privilege nothing was given just the first cog in their system to stop our God vibe & disturb our cultural rhythm, so you better believe I question religion and everything they tried to teach us.

1865 we began to change economics or so we thought to our optics never accounting it was chess they took it next level full court press, no longer was it survive we had to fight now even the house nigga could understand our plight witnessing death on sight even with body cams they neutralize.

What is it do they really have to fear? The aggression in our voice they claim to hear, our wide nose the one’s they cut off sphinx so history could be stole, the natural muscle bulge the one in every sport you bet on for our hustle & tussle, the shine in the curl of my hair the melanin glow as it absorbs light you hate us but you creatures love our features!

Black Sheep

I’m a prisoner in my own mind we use to be one of a kind I move you move I had your back you had my back we promised they’ll never catch us lacking in them streets.

They looked at us different but couldn’t put their finger on it & describe us it was more than blood and trust if I love you I’ll ride & never change up our bond was deep.

I learned to focus & realized these corners and back blocks weren’t my home just borrowed fun and time like a loan, I had to step into my zone accept what I wanted to sew then I was in my own just me.

Put myself first but to y’all I turned my back but the real in you know that’ll never be the fact, I’m black balled now the only one talking back to me is the walls we couldn’t imagine the fall off would be this steep.

Expression the therapy we all need!

Writing is therapeutic and healing, especially for Lattifa “Author Queen”. At the age of 25, she published her first book and started her own publishing company. Her writing journey was sparked at just two-years old. Since then she has been infatuated with writing and words.

“I always loved reading and often told myself that I would write a book someday,” Author Queen states. “I kept a journal throughout middle and high school, and I always found writing to be very healing. After a long day, nothing made me happier than coming home to my best ball-point pen and my composition book and releasing the day in between the lines.”

Lattifa is a graduate of Georgia State University where she majored in African American Studies, African American American Critical Thinking, and English. Many have asked her what she is going to do with a degree in African American Studies. Well, she stated that taking the time to study her roots and where she came from has helped her to understand where she is going.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to study my culture and learn topics such as: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which is still relevant. When I am not writing, I am learning more because the goal is always to be “Purposely Awakened,” Lattifa explained.
I recently interviewed Author Queen where she talked more about her inspiration, her book and what all is in store for her in the future.

Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations/mentors? How did they impact your life?

I had the opportunity to study under Attorney Mawuli Davis and Robert Bozeman and their work ethic taught me almost everything I know today. Studying side by side with two of Atlanta’s greatest leading Lawyers was the opportunity of a lifetime. They impacted me by first showing me how the real world is, in and out of the courtroom.

Being a lawyer and experiencing it first hand is serious business. I attended court with them on several occasions, sitting in the background watching them fight on behalf of other African Americans who were brutally beaten and killed by Atlanta police, sparked my desire to do study law.

Currently, as I embark on my journey as a law student, I use my experience as their legal intern and I apply those things to the real world. They taught me the importance of Sankofa, which means ‘to go back and get it, or go fetch’. I apply this with going back to get those people behind me who were not given the same opportunities as me. I grab them by the hand and show them the way through paths that I have cleared for us, to make their walk a little easier than mine was.

When did you realize you had a passion to become a writer?

Oh, man. My father was incarcerated most of my childhood, but I remember writing him letters as early as two-years old. He kept every letter I wrote him. The first letter I sent to him at two was perfectly written. I mean, I scribbled inside every single line, not all over the paper like most two-year olds would do. You can see my scribble squeezing between those lines, and I remember like it was yesterday because I always had this desire to write in cursive even as a kid…lol. Writing has been my passion for as long as I could remember. I published two children’s books, one when I was nine-years old, another at 12. I also published a poem titled, The Father In Me at 11-years old and had it published in the Beta Club National Magazine. Writing has always been rewarding for me.

How did you first get into being a professional writing?

I stepped into professional writing by happenstance. After studying under Nia Akinyeme, The Literary Revolutionary, I learned everything that I needed to know in order to become an authorpreneur. She openly shared her skills and expertise, through the principle of Sankofa, and I started to do the same after studying under her. Book publishing is a billion dollar industry, and there just aren’t enough black people representing the market. If I can encourage every black person to write a book, as well as to dive into partner publishing, we could strengthen the numbers of black owned publishing companies and really find our place in literature.

You’re a best selling author and publisher of your book Speak,. What influenced you to write your book?

I wrote Speak after I found myself being silent about my past experiences with depression and trauma. I remember how keeping my mouth shut made me feel and I wanted to develop a tool that could help me speak up about things that hurt. So I took the word SPEAK and developed a five step tool that helped me to get through a lot fo situations.

The S in speak is for separation. So at times when I find myself down or in a bad mood, I separate myself from people and the situation, then I pray, which is what the P is for. I Pray, meditate, and affirm things for myself, and then I have to check my Energy. If something is “off,” I work to acknowledge whatever it is, be it pain, sorrow, frustration. I sit with those emotions and I reassure myself that where I am at this present time, is not where I will always be. And lastly, I make sure to Know my worth. (Separate, Pray, Energy, Acknowledge your Pain, and Know Your Worth).

Can you tell us a little about your book speak and how you want it to impact the culture and world? 

In my straightforward self-help book, Speak, I give you the tools and advice you need to demolish what is weighing you down to help you become the best version of you. Speak is full of painful honesty, inspiring stories, sage advice and easy self-love exercises to help you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from living life freely.
Speak will help you create a sense of self that you totally love. Truth be told, it isn’t other people that are standing in the way of your happiness. Truthfully, it isn’t even your circumstances that block your happiness. It is you and the negative self-talk you keep reciting to yourself. I’ve been told that my book has literally stopped a young woman from committing suicide. That’s my goal. I want people to rediscover their worth. I want people to understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Believe it or not, writing a book, especially about yourself, is certainly not an easy thing to do. But writing forced me to confront things that I buried and worked so hard to forget. Through writing, I discovered that covered wounds still hurt. And when wounds speak, it is important for me to speak as well.

In the book you speak about yourself and a lot of your trials and tribulations. What gave you the courage to share your story with the world?

Knowing that someone’s breakthrough was wrapped in my testimony, led me to write the book. I was forced to remove the mask and write from my soul. I don’t know how others choose to heal, but I heal through writing. My pages keep the best secrets and believe it or not, the pages speak back to me. But the best part of it all, is that I can look through those pages and see everything I overcame. I can look back and thank God that I don’t look like what I’ve been through and I can also thank God that I am no longer living in those chapters. Now, there is no mask. I actually make others uncomfortable at times because I so openly share my truths. I don’t have a mask honey, I trashed that a long time ago. I’m open so that my sisters can see me for who I truly am, not who they perceive me to be. I am not only my sister’s keeper: I am my sister.

Your book touches on mental health, depression, and suicide which are now becoming prominent topics in our communities as we raise awareness. What is some advice you can give people facing some of the same things you did?

OWN YOUR TRUTH! Own your truth, then share the truth. You may think that you’re alone, that no one else has experienced some of the hell that you’ve experienced, but the more you openly speak about your experiences, you begin to own your story and your truths. If you don’t speak your truth or write your truth, people will try to write and tell your truths for you, but nobody can tell your story like you can.

Not only did you write a book but you also have your own clothing line Queendom Wear, what sparked this venture?  What are your goals and intentions of Queendom Wear?

As a voluptuous Queen, it was not the easiest task to find me a nice tribal skirt that compliments my waist. So I began to work with a distributor who catered to my needs and together we gave birth to Queendom Wear. The goal through Queendom wear is to help women embrace the Queen within. I want Queens to feel like absolute royalty with their hair tied and their matching skirts flowing.

Our clothing perpetuates self-love through everything stitch. Everything that we sell is centered around self-love. My goals and intention is for every Queen to truly embrace the Queen within, and fight against what society deems as beautiful. You can cover up and still be beautiful.

How important is it that people find self love and passion in their life for everything to make sense?

Self-love enhances every aspect of life. Self-love is being patient and kind to yourself, while loving and forgiving yourself enough to move forward. People who have a healthy relationship with themselves can perpetuate strong and meaningful relationships with other people. Self-love is forgiveness, acceptance, and respect for who you are when no one else is watching. It combines your beautiful and hideous parts into one vase that holds you together like a pretty flower.

When you do not love yourself, you are still a pretty flower, but you are stuck in a broken vase, and that’s okay because there are always ways to repair the vase or simply get a new vase if the flower is still living. You see, when you love yourself, you take care of yourself: you water yourself, you give yourself permission to grow, you give yourself sunlight, you honor your boundaries without allowing other people to cross those boundaries; you listen to your needs and you respect your dreams enough to act on those dreams. When you truly love yourself, you radiate happiness, health, and positivity into the world. Through self-love, you create the ability to genuinely love the people around you.
Self-love is a revolutionary act. It is your divine right, and it is up to you to make a conscious effort to put in the work for self-love and self-care. I hope Speak will be that little light of yours that will help you when you are too afraid to shine. You have to make sure it shines so bright that it makes the whole world shine around you. Speak will shed light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel. You are light. You are not the mistakes you made. You are not your mother or your family’s mistakes. You are not the pieces of the broken vase. You are light. You are a pretty flower, and it is my job as an author to help you grow.

What great words of wisdom and advice can you offer our readers, aspiring writers, and survivors of mental illness?

When you look around and it seems that everyone around you is winning except you, learn to protect your energy. Check yourself immediately and remind yourself that your peer’s success is not your failure. Keep your eyes on your own beautiful journey. Delayed does not mean denied! Not every blade of grass grows at the same speed. Keep going.

People will envy your ability to heal, your ability to fall seven times and stand up eight. People will envy your ability to openly speak about the things you have done and put yourself through in this lifetime because true healers know that there is a distinct difference between “going through” and “putting yourself through” of course. We understand the importance of not falling victim to any particular situation, but we also take full accountability and ownership for the things that we encounter in this life.

When you are able to openly speak about your past and the things that were sent to destroy you, this signifies that you have healed from it, and not everyone can handle your healing aura. Most people do not have the ability to break several times and put themselves back together again. Most of all, know the difference in being broken to pieces and being broken to PEACE sis. Brothers too. Put yourself back together again. Always in all ways. 

Casualty of War

Destroying the image of self and others products of the social trending times mental slavery perpetuating the decline of the black family and community some don’t care but others don’t want to know.

They have us brainwashed not seeing anyway to escape the maze everybody believing it’s uncontrollable like a phase, selling drugs to our brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers because of their self hate.

Stuck in the inconceivable reality to the the sleep daze working a 9 to 5 breaking your back afraid to work hard AND demand a raise from your boss, others come home from a cell refusing to accept irrelevant labels like lame only wanting the hood fame & praise sacrificing yourself to death row.

The outlier I was the one you ignored I would never sell my soul my conscious came in to bold the player you never knew was playing but the strongest and smartest on the board, our life’s destiny is to realize we’re gods patiently waiting our turn to proclaim check mate because we control our fate!
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