Giving Birth To Your Creativity – A Lesson From “DearSis” Host Myrtha Jasmine
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Myrtha Jasmine, author, entrepreneur, and host of the DearSis podcast. She dropped many nuggets of pure sister-girl goodness showing how we can be humble yet firm in our positions. She has an unapologetic and endearing tone that resonates in her work.
"MJ", was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Trenton NJ. She attended, Gordon Phillips Beauty School in Lawrence studying cosmetology which led to a 20-year career in the industry. During her tenure, she was a gifted hairstylist, talented make-up artist, and in 2010 started her own cosmetics line, Nadege Cosmetics. However, after 20+ years she called it quits and began her journey into writing.
From a story that naturally flowed through her, Myrtha, self-published her first novel entitled (The Black Lily-The Frame) in 2015. The book full of action, money, sex, and drama, starts the story of 3 girlfriends growing together and the entanglements that come along the way. Today, her book is on tap to be written as a screenplay and filmed for a movie.
Myrtha used her voice to inspired women all over the Tri-State area, from video conferences, and a growing social media platform. In February 2020 she began hosting the DearSis podcast where she talks about everything life throws at us, EXCEPT politics. In just a matter of months, the show has seen great success, including the publishing of the DearSis Planner, getting picked up on iHeart Radio, making the front page of The Trentonian Newspaper, and gaining over 8000 listeners on Apple.
Even with books, screenplays, and podcasts, it was on MJ's heart to do more. She co-founded Black Owned Warriors in the wake of the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery murders, and is committed to using her voice to help our Black communities begin to thrive.
She has even made a run for city council in Princeton, NJ. All this while being a mom of two and working her day job.
I asked MJ if she considered herself a natural-born creative and if she always knew that creativity was going to be part of her livelihood. Her response was "Yes, and no…
"I'm a Cancer and I'm totally into my sign as you know from listening to DearSis. I think we have a lot of creativity inside of us we need to give birth to and sometimes don't like to tap into but maybe I have."
While discussing her book, Black Lily – The Frame she told me the story of the work she put into it, and the work she did not realize was ahead of her. After taking 6 months to produce the initial draft, she began a mentorship and coaching relationship with a seasoned author. Under her advisement, 2 more years of rewrites would take place before publishing. The process was grueling, but she saw it through even through tears at times.
One of the most prominent themes of the book is the relationship amongst the women and their growth together from stripping to pay tuition and survive, to owning businesses and cultivating careers. MJ found it important to portray this evolution in their relationships to highlight the need for women to trust each other and lift each other up.
She did assure me, however, that this is not the end of the story for these characters. There will be a follow up for all her readers waiting to see what happens next. While working on book 2 of Black Lily, book 1 is being written into a screenplay by writer Tiffany Yancey whose most recent project, Holiday Heartbreak is set to air on BET on December 16th, starring LisaRaye McCoy and Michael Colyar.
In the midst of all this, DearSis was born. What started from no nonsense, sisterly advice became a podcast that has literally blown up before MJ's eyes. Being in the right place at the right time, working as a bartender, one of her customers connected her to the owner of New Pod City Podcast Network, Frank Sasso. Within 4 months she had over 1000 subscribers and was able to secure 2 sponsors in 2 days. The show was picked up on iHeart Radio and over 8000 listeners subscribed to Apple. She had no expectations other than being her authentic self and finding her place in the world of podcasting.
She is selective about her guests. They must have a website, branding, and growing visibility on social media. There is no difficult strategy for asking potential guests to be on the show, "I just ask!", says MJ. She does advise however that while networking to pay attention to your approach and tone. Keep your schpiel, or elevator speech 30-60 seconds, don't ramble on, and know your brand.
As if there wasn't already enough on her plate, she was impelled to get involved in efforts to strengthen the black community after the murder of George Floyd. She became involved in a large group conversation of potential investors who were eyeing the town of Tombsboro, GA to rebuild Black Wall Street. Within that group she met Stacy Ashley and with their like-minded visions founded Black Owned Warriors, an investment group committed to building "fully black-owned" businesses in communities where black representation was lacking.
She describes fully black-owned as black businesses, owned by black people, who employ black (and brown) people, backed by black banks, and featuring black vendors, farmers, and services. Their first project, Happy Foods Supermarket, will be located in Charlotte, NC. Their goal is to make Happy Foods into a national supermarket chain creating generational wealth for African American families. If you are interested in learning about how you can be part of this amazing organization, visit the site where donations and connections are being accepted.
If there is anything to be learned from the accomplishments of Ms. Jasmin it is to not hold back your creativity or your voice. Put yourself out there and don't worry about who doesn't support you. There are people out there waiting to hear what you have to say. As she told me, "We need you, Sis!"
Go follow MJ and stay up to date on all that she is doing. There is certainly more to come:
@iamnadege on IG
Writer, Blogger, Entrepreneur
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