We had the good fortune of connecting with Mya Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mya, what principle do you value most?
Being a person of my word matters to me the most because it’s what my mother taught me. My mother used to tell me, “Your word is all you got.” I believe that. Unfortunately, that is an uncommon thing now with people.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a designer/artist, I like to create things with my hands. I’ve crocheted things in the past, made earrings, I like to draw, tie-dye, and just make stuff. My art sets me apart from others because I put love into it when I make it for people. I am most excited about my tie-dyes on my brand and the way it makes people feel when they see it. Tie-dye does its own thing at times. Also, no two designs are ever the same, so people get original art.
As a filmmaker, I get excited telling people’s stories to offer another perspective on a narrative we already know. I like to make people think, while learning something at the same time. That’s why I like documentaries so much. I would say I got to where I am professionally by taking risks. Sometimes I tend to be in my head a lot, but I see quick manifestations when I just do it and not overthink it. Being an artist is never easy because society and even your family want you to be like them – work the 9 to 5 job and have a career. Also, sometimes as an artist, you don’t know when the money is going to come. Being a business owner, your workday sometimes exceeds past 8 hours and you wear many hats. I overcome the challenges by consistency. Right now I am working on an art installation piece called, I AM A SURVIVOR: THE AFTERMATH that consist of pictures and video of gun survivors. I want to show their healing process, resilience and how it changed their life.
The lesson I have learned along the way is to keep creating, whether it’s content or apparel designs. The more you are consistent, the more people will believe in your brand and support it. However, it takes time. Nothing happens overnight. I want the world to know I am a filmmaker, writer, and activist who created branded apparel to tackle gun violence. I think in this country we have been desensitized about gun violence and I want to change that with a simple message. My brand is relatable to many people and groups because we all know someone who has been afflicted by gun violence. There are many creative things we can do, whether it’s filmmaking or painting. Anything other than shooting people.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Venice Beach and the canals. Although the water is cold, I love the action on the beach from the many stores, basketball court, skateboard park, and the rental of bikes. It reminds me of NY because there are so many people there. I love that. I would also take them to Griffith Park to hike up the trail. I love that park. Next, we would go to Leimert Park and hit up the stores and vendors over there to vibe with the people. When we get hungry, I would take them to my fav Ethiopian spot, Lalibela on Fairfax. Last, we would end the night with a comedy show at the Laugh Factory for Chocolate Sunday’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have a lot of shoutouts to give actually because people in my family and around me have always been encouraging. First, I want to thank my mom, who is now an ancestor for naming me after Maya Angelou and always being supportive of my vision. I would also like to give a shoutout to my brother, Ali Howard, who has always encouraged me to keep going. On the business side of things, I would like to thank my friend Sophia Coffee who really taught me how to move past my fears and be bold. It really helped me get out in these streets and make money. I would also like to thank my friend Barbara Boulet who gave me the initial money to start making apparel and Carl Seaton who became an investor on a larger scale. I want to also give a shout-out to Reel Sisters Film Festival for always supporting and showing my films. It is a powerful organization and film festival that offers a lot of programming and mentorship to black women.
Albert in wheelchair photo by, Stephanie O’Connor Me at my booth with branded tent, Zoe Me at my booth (red tent) Robert Solomon