As we know, media is a powerful force. It has the ability to transform minds and shape the way we think and how we see things. This is why it is critical that children are only seeing positive images that will gear them towards success.
Media expert, Dr. Jobia Keys, has been on a mission in accomplishing that goal. Through her company, she researches methods of positive reinforcement for our youth through media.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jobia Keys where she chatted on her inspiration behind what she does. Read more about this powerful woman below.
Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself?
I wear many hats! I am a wife and mother. I am also a children’s media expert, author, researcher, entrepreneur and a professor. I specialize in media literacy, media representations and entertainment-education. I am very passionate about ensuring that children see positive images of themselves in all media outlets.
Growing up and still to this day, who are your inspirations and how did they impact your life?
I pull inspiration from so many sources. I am inspired by God and the simple, daily blessings. I am inspired by my mother and the amazing women in my family to keep pushing. My husband and children also inspire me to keep creating. Oprah is my shero. She has inspired me to be the best version of myself. I am also inspired by Lisa Nichols, her words of wisdom are so palpable.
What age did you know broadcast journalism and creative writing were your passions?
I absolutely loved writing as a child. I used to write stories and plays and perform them for my family starting around age 5. I became interested in broadcast journalism, and media in general, when I was in middle school. I went to a Visual, Performing Arts high school and I was in the TV/Radio program. My interest in media grew tremendously during my high school years. I was always passionate about hearing stories and telling stories through writing and media-especially those that had not been told before.
How did you decide to get into the education and children’s media expert field?
When I was in college, I took a Media Effects course, and it blew my mind. From that point on, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the ways in which media influences what we think about, how we feel and how we perceive ourselves. I was particularly drawn to media that children are exposed to because I wanted to understand what they were seeing and learning from their perspective.
Children imitate what they see, and some even aspire to be what they see in media. If the messages and images are one dimensional, children are only getting a limited view of the world and possibilities. Some of the most successful people in the world believed they could be who/what they are because they saw someone like them represented in media. I want to be part of transforming the messages that children receive in media, and ensuring that positive, inclusive images become the norm.
What initially and continually fuels your passion as an educator and child advocate?
I am a mother and I take that job very seriously. Part of that job requires me to not only educate and advocate for my children, but for all children. My little ones keep me going and continue to fuel my passion as an educator and child advocate. I love children and I recognize that they are the future. We must pour resources into their holistic education if we want to have a thriving future for our world.
You’ve recently added the title of author to your resume/portfolio, what influenced this creative endeavor?
I was published for the first time at age 11. I have always had a passion for writing and telling stories that have not been told. I was inspired to write Grand Angel because of my own relationship with my grandparents and talks that I had with my daughter. My daughter and I talk every night and when she was 3-years old, she asked about one of my grandmothers who had passed away. We talked about my grandmother and about heaven. It was important to me to discuss the cycle of life with her, so that she didn’t have a fear of death.
So, I wrote Grand Angel. This story opens hearts, imaginations and expands faith by painting a beautiful picture of heaven and angels. It is a blend of scripture and fantasy and provides young children with satisfying answers about where their loved ones-especially grandparents-go after leaving this earth.
Was the project and process of writing this book hard by any means?
Writing Grand Angel was not difficult. It was actually therapeutic and organic for me. I enjoyed the writing process. The publishing and editing process took the longest.
What are some upcoming book signings and dates we can look forward to writing in our calendars?
Working on scheduling fall book signings now!
What great advice and words of wisdom can you offer us millennials?
Sometimes I use TV/movie clips, images and lyrics from songs when I illustrate points to my students. So, I’ll use lyrics for the advice I’d give millennials. Three pieces of advice would be:
- “They say communications save relations.” ~ Drake’s verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice”
- Put the phone and computer down and talk face to face with the people in your life. Never underestimate the value of face to face communication. It is important to talk things through, and it also cuts down on miscommunication.
- “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change” ~ Michael Jackson, “Man in the mirror”
- Fight feelings of hopelessness by working on yourself. Don’t dwell on the negativity you see around the world. Instead, focus on how you can take action and be the positive change the world needs. Improve yourself mentally, physically and spiritually and be the change that you want to see.
- “Never looking back or too far in front of me, the present is a gift, and I just wanna be.” ~Common, “Be”
- Be present. When you are having dinner with friends or family, put your devices away and appreciate the time you have together. Enjoy every moment that you have. Be happy, peaceful and thankful now, not later.