We had the good fortune of connecting with Sagirah Layne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sagirah, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe in risk taking for sure! I’m one of those people who can do something very spur of the moment for the betterment of my life. I think taking risks takes you out of your comfort zone and opens you to a new world of opportunities that you may not have necessarily been exposed to otherwise. You learn to believe in and rely on yourself and learn from your mistakes, if there are any, along the way. I believe some risks are necessary for growth. Some of my greatest moments have come out of the most spontaneous, risky things I’ve done – solo travel out of the country, leaving a full time job without another job lined up, and moving across the country to a place I’d never been and knew no one and started a new life from scratch. All of those things led me to where I am now, building a brand as a spoken word artist. This wasn’t part of my plan, but I’m having so much fun doing it. It also allowed me to shift gears in my first career as an accountant, which was my plan to begin with when I took the risk of moving. I’ve become much more well rounded and I love where life is taking me. I advocate for taking risks to advance in life and career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been writing since I was a little girl but got into performing over the past few years. It’s exciting seeing how the journey is progressing. I think one of the things that sets me apart is my performance style. I’m naturally soft spoken but then transform while performing. It’s something that seems to blow people away after they watch me. I already went by the pen name Trust, but after some performances I added ‘the Quiet Force” to create my brand.
I got started performing after introducing myself to a new organization of women and telling them writing poetry was one of my hobbies. Lori, the Chair of the org’s Black History Program, asked me if I’d be willing to do a piece for the upcoming program and I agreed. She’s been my mentor ever since. It’s been an easy process for the most part, since I’ve been booked by people either seeing me at events or being referred by word of mouth. One of the things that I’ve been most proud of and was looking forward to celebrating was the publication of my debut poetry book “The Rise of the Dope Black Woman”, which I released in April 2020. I was all set planning for a book release, which had to be postponed due to the pandemic. However, I still did a soft reading a few months later and still had a following interested in book purchases. Knowing that I was still able to make this happen, this turned out well. I’m looking forward to when events begin picking up again where I can do what I love more often and expose more people to my book.
The biggest lesson I learned along the way is to just continue putting myself out there. I’m an overall private person, so sharing is not my thing. But the more I share and the more opportunities I embrace, the more my brand grows. So I keep working towards expanding the brand.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Fortunately all the people who come to visit me already come with a list of places they want to go, so I don’t have to plan much aside from telling them the ideal days and times, considering traffic. They’re always so amazed that I was not lying about the traffic and the drivers here.
I do sprinkle in some places that I frequent that I want them to experience. I have a tea spot in Inglewood that I love, called Mingles Tea Bar, so that’s always part of the itinerary. That was one of the first places I was brought to after moving here and the owner, Lara, is very friendly and makes being there an enjoyable experience. I always recommend the Apricot Escape (iced or hot) w/ agave and the Peach Cobbler. At some point during the trip, we also have to hit Fatburger. I also like to visit the Hansen Dam area. Those are my go-to places. My last visit, my friends and I hit Venice and Santa Monica beaches, Hollywood, so many restaurants, night spots, malls, etc. They loved Cabo Cantina in Hollywood that we ended up going twice. Cabo on a Wednesday night during karaoke with your crew is a GOOD time, at least the night we went.
Somewhere that I haven’t yet taken people that I’m looking forward to is Leimert Park on either a Saturday or Sunday, when all the street vendors are out. It has such a rich community and history that is amazing to be around. Can’t wait for my next set of visitors!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family – the ones whom have supported me the most know who they are. My parents and aunts in particular. Much love.
My friend Krystal always says that she’s my biggest fan. She supports me in everything that I do.
My sister-friend/mentor Lori, who is also a writer, and has taken me under her wing since I moved to California. She’s also from the East Coast, so we immediately connected on so many levels. She was the chair for the first production I ever wrote and performed for. She’s the reason I started performing and been getting the recognition that I have. I appreciate her for this opportunity.
And for everyone who genuinely supports me. I appreciate all y’all.