WVON Interview | “Uplifting Our Youth During the Pandemic”

WVON Interview | “Uplifting Our Youth During the Pandemic”

Last weekend, I was invited to for an interview on WVON 1690AM – The Talk of Chicago’s Community Health Focus segment for “Uplifting Our Youth During the Pandemic!”

It was a dope experience to have someone I respect asking about my work alongside some exceptional co-guests whose work I follow. Shout out to host Dr. Doriane Miller, Dr. Sonya Dinizulu and Ernest Sanders!

To hear the entire interview about ways we are uplifting youth and parents in our every day work, click the following link: https://fb.watch/4Q2mAlBSNK/

To view more on Dr. Doriane Miller of Urban Health Initiative: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/find-a-physician/physician/doriane-miller

To view more on Dr. Sonya Dunizulu of UChicago Med: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/find-a-physician/physician/sonya-dinizulu

To view more on Ernest Sanders of @ssworkschgo: https://www.southshoreworks.org/

To learn more about Gary Comer Youth Center’s work with 6-12 grade youth: http://www.comereducationcampus.org

A Moment of Gratitude

A Moment of Gratitude

After a long night of filming, I realized I should say thank you! So, I went live on Facebook… at 12:00 a.m. …Yep! That’s how much you meant to me! In this video: 🎥
• I say THANK YOU to you! 🥰
• I talk about why I started my blog! 💻
• I share the meaning behind Shange! 🦁
• I say THANKS some more 🙏🏾!
—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

#SlayTheDream today!

To view the entire video, head over to the Facebook page or click here!

Chicago’s Pain.

We prided ourselves on productivity
until “produce despite a pandemic”
became our reality.
Into the dawn like bird songs, now
pangs of insomnia beckon us.
Mistaking insanity for invincibility
causing us to be more reckless
during the day.

“Black folk the new robots.”

All the while paving the way,
for heavier workloads.
They’re writing the code on our souls.
Imputing and uploading mixed messages
in our minds making it hard to surmise
whether I should pick up a pen and write
when all I really wanna do is fall
asleep before sunrise.

“They’ll kill themselves off.”

Programmed to hate each other too easily.
Stench of every fatal attraction still seeps
deep into our psyche.
Secretly wishing we could reek less
havoc sitting on the public safety ad hoc.
But ain’t enough committees for
mother’s too tired to cope
with white sheets laid in the streets
or cops protesting our presence
on every sidewalk touching our feet
and choppers riot overhead searing the bluest sky.
Somebody must’ve died.
Today, CPD searches the perimeter
for the shooters despite
hiding a few in plain sight
and screaming Blues Lives…
While grandmamas and sirens cry,
we bleed out laid out
on a cracked and wholly pavement
and not even an ambulance ride can save him
so an older woman screams
“Help him, Holy Savior!”
How do we sleep in a time such as this?

“They say sleep is the cousin of death.”

Fold the map on Vincennes and Lawrence.
Tell us just another way to keep
Black people opulently oppressed
and outta Lori’s downtown
long enough to forget
the riots that came before us.
We are the descendants of Red Summers
and MLK-motivated marches
in Marquette and Trumball Parks and—
well, who fights for poor people’s rights now, huh?

“City been on fire. COVID, just carjacked the flames.”

Chicago, the city built on a hill—
not to be hidden, but driven into history
as too separate and too ready to kill.
Kill our joy, kill our peace, kill our boys
as they fight for fame and recognition
—for anything but being looted slaves.

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

I guess it’s National Poetry Month… I started this almost a year ago. Back in May 2020… tried to finish it today. In fact, it feels more abandoned than finish. #poetry #nationalpoetrymonth

I Have An Announcement! 🎉

I Have An Announcement! 🎉

I live a pretty private life. So making public business moves is really something foreign to me. It’s been a learning process!

So, of course, when I was looking at a friend’s social media page and saw their title for their brand/company underneath their photo, I thought… “Why have I never added that to my Facebook profile?” (Insert a 🤦🏾‍♀️+ a 🙄) But, I’m thankful for the people (family, friends + complete strangers) that have supported me all this time despite this slip!

What’s something that seems intuitive but people forget to do for their business? If you have another “simple-enough” tip that could help someone, please share in the comments. We like supporting each other on this site. So, don’t be shy!

…Guessing now this means, at some point, I need to do a proper launch party, huh?! 😏

—Sincerely, Tyra

The Announcement on Facebook.

The Announcement on Facebook.

Send this poem to a Black Woman 🖤

Is there someone in your life you who could use a reminder about how strong/creative/blessed they are? If you are a Black woman reading this, what are you speaking over yourself this morning, Queen?

Here’s a poem I wrote years ago to speak over myself when I needed an extra bit of encouragement. My only request:

If you share this at all, share it with a Black woman—first.

—Sincerely, Tyra

Dear Queen,
Look in the mirror and repeat:
You are beautiful. You are Black. You are woman. Divinely created to bring peace to a world of chaos; perfectly molded to solve any problem with your intelligent mind. Go forth and give rise to the day you wish to experience.

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Oh, But After This!

Oh, But After This!

I stayed up a little late last night finalizing my monologue for this weekend while on the Art of Transparency Tour stop in Memphis.

It’s a gritty take on my life story.

Raw, real… and I hope I don’t ugly cry at the end… 🥴😂

For tickets: bit.ly/aotmemphis

—Sincerely, Tyra

**COVID protocol will be followed during each show/activity. See link for full details.

New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

You know, I think I’ve always wanted to start a clothing line. I vividly remember sketching designs for our cheerleading uniforms in grammar school and re-designing all the hottest Nikes I couldn’t afford. I was customizing Nike’s before it was ever an option on a website.
So earlier this year when I decided that I would design and make a few t-shirts, I knew I wanted them to be innovative. Like any entrepreneur, I’m pretty particular about what I put my name on. So the excitement that comes with putting the EbonySun logo on these designs is next level.

We* officially debuted two original designs last week at our very FIRST pop-event (pictured below). That means we officially slayed two goals this month! We already had the “Distinguish Yourself” design and the “#ProtectUs” shirt which made its debut on Juneteenth. So releasing the “Don’t Fold” and “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts next felt like a step in the right direction.

Our warehouse is small but mighty.

The catalyst for all of these designs are, of course, centered around personal lessons or and social issues—many of which I’ve written about on the Sincerely, Tyra blog or our social media platforms. So there is an intentional level of brand connectivity happening between the writing that we feature and these designs. Even the EbonySun logo and motto looks like something we would don on the Sincerely, Tyra side of the house. 

image.png
EbonySun logo and motto.

Our next goal is to facilitate a collaborative of women-owned small businesses in the creation of a scholarship fund focused on teen mothers. The “#ProtectUs” shirt (originally titled the Rekia shirt) is a not-for-profit sale item for this very reason. Until the collaborative group is formed, this shirt is our healthy reminder to protect every facet of Black womanhood. This design will likely become the flagship for funding the scholarship fund. If you know of any organizations or small businesses that we should partner with for this endeavor, please email details to info@sincerelytyra.com


Each shirt can be found on our Etsy shop  (https://www.etsy.com/shop/EbonySun) and custom orders can be placed using the following Google Form. Of course, we’d love our subscribers’ feedback on the designs! So hit reply and tell us what you think! Or let us congratulate YOU by sharing any goals you’ve accomplished this year with us!

—Sincerely, Tyra 

*Right now, “we’re” a design team of one (perhaps, one and a half if you count assistance from my five-year old daughter). But prayerfully EbonySun and Sincerely, Tyra will be able to hire an administrative assistant and a design assistant before Quarter 2 of 2021. The best way you can support us with this next goal is through prayer. Thanks in advance!

**We = trusted team members are being spoken into existence. 

Last Sunday’s POP-UP event display.
EbonySun’s Creative Director, TyraShange, wearing the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirt.
Prepping the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts for the Pop-up event.
The “#ProtectUs” shirt gets a new colorway!
Getting the “Don’t Fold” Shirt prepped for special delivery.

ISSA POP-UP EVENT!

We’re excited to announce that our mother company, EbonySun Chicago, is partnering with this dynamic group of Black-owned businesses next week to offer you all NEW merch (like new NEW… not even on our website… exclusive NEW) and of course, boxes of Sincerely, Tyra-authored books!

Join us and share the good news! Happy Sunday!

—Sincerely, Tyra

EbonySun is a lifestyle brand created to showcase positive images of Black life.

Love: A New Inquiry

Yes, I’m that mom that sings to the babies in their sleep! 🥰 Judge ya mama 😂

So I’ve been listening to a lot of Drake and Anita lately. But somehow in between them, I was able to come across this song, Sacred Space, by India.Arie. Honestly, between her and Anita’s Tidal playlists, I’m rethinking the type of love that I need and want in my life.

There’s a lyric in this song that India sings: “When this life becomes a fight. You are where I put my gloves down.”

…Honey, that hit my spirit in different way. Those lyrics expressed a type of love that exudes peace, comfort, and sanctuary.

Listening to it made me think about whether those things could exist naturally between two people or whether a couple would have to work toward finding and maintaining that type of love.

There are so many ideas and suggestions about love within our culture. An obvious example can be found in love songs. Anita’s and India’s repertoires are even better examples. I’d like to say that Drake might have one or two ideas about love that are actually solid. Maybe…

But it’s difficult to determine what to require from love these days. The dominant theory of our culture doesn’t even seem to value love much. So it’s definitely not effectively teaching us what to REQUIRE from love for it to be long lasting and beautiful.

Are there prerequisites or demands of love for it to be one’s sacred space? What are some things that you require from love for it to feel right and good? Share in the comments! I’m learning! So help me out! 🥰😩

—Sincerely, Tyra

What About Self-Awareness?

What About Self-Awareness?

I want to hide… Literally just want to get under the covers, ball up like a baby and hide. Why? Because of this feeling of rejection—and how I chose to respond to it. Disclaimer: This post is going to share my flawed reactions to a recent male friend’s choice to be in a relationship with someone else. No details about his identity will be revealed because, well, that just wouldn’t be fair.

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you probably remember the following quote:

Posted in January of this year, the photo reached just shy of 2,600 individuals and sparked 41 profile visits on Instagram. Cool, right?

Well, it probably would’ve been dope—if I actually would’ve taken my own advice. You see, I entangled myself intimately again (this time, building what I thought was a stronger friendship) with the same man this post was about just three months AFTER I wrote about being content with us not being in a relationship.

Now, let me be honest this time around, I have not really been self-aware these past few months. I thought that I could be intimate with him and not catch feelings. Honey, I had it mapped out so clearly in my head.

…Until, we started acting like real friends toward each other. Because of this new pattern of interactions, my feelings grew exponentially faster than his did. When I realized he had become interested in someone else, again lacking self-awareness, I thought “okay, cool, we can still just be friends.”

Big pause here: Show of hands. How many of you think I was ready for us to just be friends?!

Seriously, what was I thinking?! Deep down, I knew I wanted more from the beginning and should have been honest with myself enough to create boundaries to let him know that as well.

But that wasn’t the choice I made. So when he decided that he did NOT want a relationship with me again—one would likely think: Oh, she knew it could end this way. She’ll be fine.

I did know that it could end this way and yes, because I’m an adult who made the choices I made, I SHOULDA been fine with his decision. But, for the sake of my own personal growth, let me tell you why I wasn’t:

I do not handle rejection well.

…There I said it.

I’m honestly just not used to it. I was one of the top students in school all throughout my life. Got rewarded left and right for my intelligence, work ethic, and ability to help others. I was popular in college and am still very much the person everyone has a good time around. Other guys are vying for my attention. So why wouldn’t he want to be in a relationship with me?

That was the million dollar question that I didn’t realize I was even struggling with this time around. When I say struggle… it took TWO good friends to sit me down on TWO separate occasions over the course of this past week for me to realize that I have been giving this man hell over a choice he FULLY has the right to make. (Note: 🥴🤦🏾‍♀️ is how I feel admitting to this and realizing I’ve been acting like crazy person. I’m supposed to be cooler than this.🙄)

Last Friday, without knowing about my situation, one of my best guy friends was venting to me about a woman he’s been involved with recently. Hearing his feelings about her actions confirmed that I had been irrational with my expectations of the man I was only intimately involved with. So, it was then that I decided that I was over it. At least, that’s what I thought.

Then, yesterday, after sending a text to the man that explained how I felt—about him not choosing me—I called another good friend for validation when he told me I was wrong. How could he say my feelings were wrong? But, because my circle keeps it very real with me: she told me I was DEADASS WRONG for some of the things I said to him. Ultimately, I apologized to him because of that conversation and her ability to help me see a different perspective.

So this morning when I get another like on the Instagram post above, I realized that this feels terrible because I’m not used to feeling “rejected.” I wanted something from him that he didn’t want from me. Hence, the REJECTION.

If I was more self-aware or problem-solving this for one if my own friends, my advice would be that:

1) I could have chosen to not fool around with this man.

2) I could have been real with myself—and chosen to correct my attitude toward our time together.

3) We were just two people making decisions about what we wanted in the heat of each moment.

4) Despite how much you disagree with their choices, you don’t always deserve an apology.

5) Sex and friendship does not equal a relationship.

Everyone has choices to make in life and we’re not always going to like what other people decide. These past few weeks have helped me to become more aware of my own choices and although I still feel bad for how I was treated and how I decided to react toward the man, I’m thankful that this experience has granted me insight. Next time, I know to be more upfront with myself.

How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself? Have you had an experience that caused you to act differently than you normally would act? What lessons did you learn about self-awareness? Full disclosure: I’m still learning and your comments may help me grow!

Sincerely, Tyra

Self-awareness? How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself?