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.
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