by Keiyana McIntosh on April 26, 2023
Sometimes as adults, we forget what it's like to dream. We find ourselves working for those who believe in themselves while we put our dreams on the back burner. Unfortunately, some find it easier to believe in others before they take a chance on themselves.
Fortunately, creative and entrepreneur Drekkia Writes never shelved her talents because she trusted that someday it would make a difference. Little did she know, her passion for poetry and arts would soon make an impact.
Although Drekkia worked within the field of arts, she knew that there was more to her than what she was limited to. Drekkia took a leap of faith in resigning from her job to become dependent on the gifts and talents God had given her.
Though the road of entrepreneurship has its challenges, Drekkia overcame them by faith. Since leaving her nine-to-five job, Drekkia runs her company, Seven of Arts, where she uses her love of poetry to produce professional and personal development for youth and youth educators. Her creativity also allows her to connect black women through state-wide networking events, The Melanin Land.
Drekkia is evident that taking a chance on yourself can be challenging but well worth it! Her client's and consumer testimonies alone are a reminder that using what you have can result in something impactful!
I was left inspired by her story, and I am sure it will leave the same effect on you.
Keiyana: You’re from Little Rock, Arkansas. How has growing up there contributed to who you are today?
Drekkia: Yes, I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the second oldest of five kids. I grew up in Southwest Little Rock, which is considered the “hood”. When I think about how growing up in Southwest Little Rock contributed to who I am, I think about how my perception of my surroundings differs from then to now. Because I grew up in the hood I would run away from talking about it. However, as an adult, I now understand that our origins make us who we are. I am proud of where I come from because people do not expect people like us to go far.
I have been able to do amazing things with my life. I am grateful for my hood because I got to experience different things and grow from them. One of my mottos in life right now is that it does not matter where you come from. It does not matter if someone in your household is a crackhead or a prostitute. You get to choose who it is that you want to be. So, growing up in Little Rock taught me that I have the power to create the life I want, and it does not have to be reliant on where I come from.
Keiyana: That’s a very inspiring outlook! Before becoming a full-time entrepreneur, you took a leap of faith in leaving your nine-to-five. How was that transitioning between the two?
Drekkia: Transitioning from having a stable income to relying on myself to create revenue has been a journey. At first, it was difficult but very necessary. When I decided to leave my job I felt it was spirit led. I worked as the Arts and Education Program manager for Arkansas, so that was right up my alley. One day, I was sitting at my desk planning out my activities for the next year, but while I was planning for the next year, I heard, “Girl, you're not even gonna be here that long.”
At that point in my life, I was learning to trust my instincts and my gut. When I felt that heavy on my spirit, I started to mentally prepare myself while sitting in my little cubicle. I used to write, I am going to leave this job knowing that I can provide for myself based on the talents that God gave me. It required me to do a lot of confidence-building. I believe trusting yourself to use your talents to provide for you takes a lot of faith and belief in yourself.
In this process, I've learned that one of the greatest qualities that I love about myself is that I have the audacity. A lot of people don't dare to believe in themselves. I thank God every day for me having the audacity to have faith big enough to step out and make a living doing what I love with poetry. I never thought I had the faith or courage to try it. So it was a tumultuous journey because entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. However, I'm proud of myself and celebrate my accomplishments, but I also know that I got the potential to do more. Where I am is a direct reflection of the work that I've put in. This journey has introduced me to parts of myself that I try to ignore. I had to tell myself, you know what, girl, you are a little lazy. You're not disciplined, you're the rollercoaster. I'm like, whoa, wait, who are you talking about? <laughs> But it's real. It's gonna introduce you to the real you.
Keiyana: I agree! So, one of your first ventures as an entrepreneur was starting your business, Seven of Arts. Tell us more about the mission of your company.
Drekkia: Seven of Arts is a creative-based professional and personal development company. I use the creative arts to address team building, communication, social-emotional learning, and literacy. Through the organization, my target audiences are youth and youth educators. I come from a background of being in spaces where I have always had to work with the youth and try to find creative ways to reach and teach them.
Where I come from, I have noticed that poverty affects how we learn. So when you work in impoverished neighborhoods, you have to know that before you can teach that child, you have to be able to connect with them. The arts are the one thing I feel has a low barrier to entry, and everybody gets to participate. Using the art of poetry allows me to connect with all of my students and create a safe space for them to write about their feelings.
Even with youth educators, I equip them with tools and resources they can use and implement in how they teach. Again, you have to be able to connect with people before you can have an impact. So with Seven of Arts, we used the arts to impact.
Keiyana: Along with Seven of Arts, you began a community for Black women to network called The Melanin Land. How did you come up with this idea to bring black women together?
Drekkia: Since 2015, I have managed a women's empowerment organization, but it wasn't until last year that I decided to do an event called, Melanin in May where the theme was Shades of Brown. That was the first time I had done an event exclusively for black women. For so long, I had this idea of a chocolate rainbow, but I never did it because I was scared to do something that felt so exclusive. When I finally did it, I teamed up with my friend Yaminah Cummings, who is my business bestie. I told her this is what I wanted to do since I had been doing these photoshoot networking events for every holiday occasion. Yaminah teamed up with me with her organization, The Willionaire Women, and we curated the event, Melanin in May. When that event happened, the vibe was so electric! What I felt that day felt like God had spoken to me. I knew then this was what I wanted to do. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I want to create spaces for black women. Sincere then, I decided to take this event around because I was still testing my faith. I had just quit my job and was about seven months into my journey. But I said, Hey, I'm about to take this on the road. I traveled to five states and six cities doing this photo shoot networking event through Melanin Land.
It’s a place where women come together dressed up in all shades of Brown, network, and expand their professional and personal relationships. The Melanin Land is geared toward black women who are business owners, corporate professionals, politicians, and more. This is a space where you get to come and be yourself. I have found myself code-switching in spaces where I feel like I could not be myself. I wanted to get away from that because it's a taunting thought to feel like my existence is not accepted. I want to move away from that feeling like I have to fit in with somebody else. Because at the end of the day, even with this black skin, with my black lingo, with my black culture, long nails, and Bantu knots, I produce results, and I'm an asset wherever I go. I have every right to be whoever I want without conforming to somebody else's idea of who I should be. And I want to create that and create those spaces for black women.
Keiyana: And I love that perspective. And thank you for doing just that. What have been your biggest achievements and challenges as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome those challenges?
Drekkia: My biggest challenge has been staying focused on one idea and executing it. As a creative, I have a million ideas that flow through my mind. I get so overwhelmed with my thoughts, that I end up not doing anything. I manage it now by reminding myself to indulge in money-making activities. I evaluate everything I want to do, and I ask myself which one of these will produce income? Right now, I run my business Seven of Arts. That's how I make my money, but Melanin Land is my passion project. With being passionate about both, sometimes I have to put the Melanin Land on pause and do what I need to do for Seven of Arts.
One of my greatest achievements has been understanding that I can make money doing what I love. I love what I do with my educational consulting company knowing that I can take my talents and produce income from them. One of those moments that made me realize that was when I did my first 10K months and mapped out that I worked less than a two-week pay period. I made 10k in 36 hours versus overworking 80 hours to make a thousand dollars. That moment kept me motivated. I put my first 10k in a shadow box to remind myself it is possible. It reminds me that I have something of value to the world that I can make a living from.
Keiyana: You have mentioned the value of having an accountability partner. How has it been for you having digital creator, Yaminah Cummings as yours?
Drekkia: It has been transformational to be able to be in conversation with somebody with a similar mindset. We meet regularly to hold each other accountable for the goals we set for ourselves, but also to act as sounding boards for each other. If she has an idea, she can voice it out loud with me, and I can add value to it or help her execute things that she needs to be done for it. And the same thing goes for me. I can share my ideas out loud with her, and I'm always giving good feedback. At the end of every talk about ideas, we ask how we can help each other. It feels inspirational.
Having Yaminah as my business bestie has helped me to be where I am now with Melanin Land. I had never liked working with others on my events because I felt I had to do it alone. The Melanin Land was the first event I collaborated with another woman and the best event I ever had. I profit most when collaborating because the experience is next level. Collaboration can elevate your brand, and having a business bestie helps you stay focused, and holds you accountable.
Keiyana: It appears you’ve always been such a creative person. What other creative ways do you use to express yourself?
Drekkia: Poetry is my main outlet of expression. It’s the one thing I use to put my feelings out there. I used to paint, but I don't do that anymore. Creating events, ideas, and spaces that are engaging experiences also serves my creative process. It's a form of expression that I get to curate a vibe, and that's why at each event that I do I'm always hyper-focused on what the experience is going to be for somebody else. With events, I feel like it's my way of giving back to the world.
I'm so appreciative of the journey that I've had and everything that I've been able to learn over the years. When I'm able to create spaces where I can share that knowledge and possibly help somebody else, that's next level for me. It's satisfying and it makes me feel good about continuing my journey. So those are the two creative ways I express myself. Now, I would say I sing, but I don't have the voice of an angel, but I do love to sing <laughs>.
Keiyana: Outside of business, in the next 3 years, what personal goals do you have for yourself?
Drekkia: That is crazy that you asked such a mind-boggling question. <laughs> What do I even want outside of business? My goal is to damn, that's the business. Well, I don't think I have a life outside of business. <laughs> No seriously though. I'm thinking about my goal. My personal goal is to be physically fit. I want to rebuild my body, almost like a plus-size bodybuilder. <laughs> I also want to travel to Jamaica. That is one of my goals to travel to different countries and continents.
Keiyana: In light of it being Spring, traditionally people fall into Spring cleaning. Currently, what are some things you are working on cleansing from your life?
Drekkia: I'm working on cleansing the subconscious and self-limiting beliefs. Even though I’m on this journey, I'm making progress with self-doubt creeping in. Though I know things are possible, sometimes I feel like some things are not obtainable, however, I'm working on freeing myself from it completely because it can be crippling.
Keiyana: As we close, tell our readers where they can find you on social media and what to expect from you this year.
Drekkia: You can find me on all social media platforms at Drekkia Writes and Drekkia.com. Be sure to also follow my businesses at Seven of Arts and The Melanin Land.
What to expect from me is our Melanin Land conference that's coming up in the fall. Melanin Land is also celebrating our first anniversary on May 13th in Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm super excited about that. We're celebrating with a soirée, entailing an award ceremony where we’re highlighting dope women in the community. As for Seven of Arts, you can expect us to just keep growing and touching school districts. My goal is to connect with five new states this year and host my business. Overall, my goal is to continue the growth of both of my businesses.
On behalf of Foundation First, we want to thank Drekkia Writes for sharing her inspiring testimony!
Stay connected with Drekkia by clicking the links below.
Instagram: @drekkia, @themelaninland, and @sevenofarts