March 19, 2016

#ShowYouSTL Backstory - Monica Tyson - Author, Activist, Cosmetologist, Consultant

This past Tuesday I was able to meet up with Monica who is not only a talented and amazing woman, but also my cousin. We met up in the Central West End to take pictures and I must say I had a blast because not only is she beautiful, she had the model poses down packed. With no direction from me. LOL

She also is a contributing author on a new book that came out called I AM WOMAN ENOUGH.

After our photo session, we sat down and talked about her love of writing. She states that she has been writing since she was a child. Her mom told her if you can't say it, write it down. So she would journal and she also writes poetry. She didn't take her writing seriously until having a meeting with a restaurant entrepreneur from the STL. Yet she put her dream on the back burner to take care of her brother.

Eventually her interest in writing was reactivated and she has been working on her website The Black Female Factor to bring awareness about issues pertaining to black women. We also talked about our family and she informed me that we have family members who were extremely talented in the arts.

My Great Grandmother used to write artistically. She used to write on Campbell labels and then put them back on the cans. One of my great-aunts name Alice studied Haute Couture in Paris under the House of Chanel. There is a story Monica relayed to me that while my great-aunt Alice was studying in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld used to walk past her and stab her with stick pins. Finally one day she put him in a headlock and beat his behind. Afterwards they became the best of friends and used to write each other until she passed away. She was married to the president of Prairie View University. One of the female dormitories is named in her memory.

My Aunt Alice is an amazing photographer who was best friends with Maya Angelou and was a guide to Malcolm X on his visit to Ghana. Another relative was a furniture maker. She informed me that we come from entrepreneurs and artistic people. She states you must follow your own path in life to fully live your life and your dream. You can't be concerned with what other people think about you and your journey. It's your journey to walk and experience. Live your life and live your passion.

I can't thank her enough for being a part of this project. Please check out Monica's connection to the STL at #ShowYouSTL.

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