We had the good fortune of connecting with Tdjiri Yakini and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tdjiri, why did you pursue a creative career?
This one’s easy. It’s my purpose. Ever since I was a little girl, I had a passion for the arts. It’s what I was born to do. And when you have a natural talent for something it’s important to cultivate it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
To be honest I’m not sure what sets me apart… We’ve all had struggles, overcome some type of adversary, and pushed through the fire. I am a multi-hyphenate like the next person. Being reminded that using my gifts will make room for joy in my life. I am honest, perhaps that is my unique imprint. Some may say to a fault. I say it’s what makes me a leader. I am honest in my writing, my acting, and when I am dancing. I have grown to be comfortable with that energy. Learning tact along the way. I am also mutable. I embrace the discomfort that comes with growth. And respect the knowledge I gain because of it. It’s quite beautiful really, to look back and see the evolution of one’s life. I am grateful.
I am most proud of my fortitude as an artist. It’s not easy to keep going once you’ve been knocked down. Many quit in that space. Give up right before the blessings occur. They settle, and for me, that is simply not an option. I have landed roles I didn’t audition for and have been granted to work with so many inspiring people. Currently, I am costarring in a web series called QT. We are in the middle of crowdfunding to create a Spin-off Pilot show. A Pilot!
“And even if it scares you, do it afraid.”, has been my motto throughout this journey. I have traveled from Detroit to Houston, to New York, to LA to study the art of acting and filmmaking. Every moment did not go as planned. I have had to pivot many times because I was trying to do it alone. My ego wouldn’t allow for me to create the space for someone to see me in my process. So, the lessons felt long and hard. My advice, build a community. A community that will not only help you on your walk in this life but also holds you accountable for producing the things you say you want to achieve. Be open to change, and know that nothing is impossible.
I am strong, not because I want to be but because I have overcome so much to get to where I am today. I am here and I look forward to sharing this space with you.
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?
My best friends and I have so many moods. So it just depends on the day…
They get in early and I pick them up from LAX then we go back to my place for them to shower before heading to Brunch at Cafe gratitude in Venice. It’s a vegan restaurant, but they won’t know that shhh. We’ll head to the beach after and walk the pier because it’s up the street and who doesn’t love a good beach vibe? Once we allowed the water to kiss our feet and get sand between our toes, we’ll go home and shower, again before heading to Melrose to do some cute shopping. We purchase some outfits for the night, plus some souvenirs to take home. Then we get dressed for a night out. We’re pretty free-spirited so no set destination will be put in place. Except one of us needs some direction so we decide on Sound LA. I chose Playhouse initially but they’ve closed, so here we are. The rest of the trip will be filled with living in the moment because sometimes itineraries are for plane rides.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have gained many mentors throughout my life and within my career, but for this section I’d like to shoutout the team over at the Artistic Standard Television (ASTV) for stretching me as a writer, visionary and storyteller. And a personal shoutout to my mentor Akiya McKnight for reaching back and pouring into me. I have been truly blessed.
Grant Yanney. The Artistic Standard TV, QT Series (Tamieka Briscoe),