We had the good fortune of connecting with Yaa Asantewaa Faraji and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yaa Asantewaa, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I didn’t really have a choice in the matter – a creative career was something I fell into simply from the enjoyment of creating. I’ve always had an affinity for making something of expression, whether I was building plays, poems, sculptures, canvas or the like. In my teens, when I discovered the business of creation – of intellectual property, licensing, creative advertising, problem solving – I knew that I wanted to emulate some form of this for myself. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and the beauty in the written word is that it makes everything: stories, emotions, advertisements, films, lesson… I found that I could be in the business of creation as my work was building itself. As an advertiser and author, and screenwriter, I could speak and license my words to organizations needing to fill the narrative. I could express myself and run my expression as a business. A creative career does and always will give me the best of both worlds.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is clairaudience itself: I listen to the world around me and I interpret it back to itself, in the form of poetry, story, screenplay, sometimes canvas and dance. I am a griot in the modern sense. I’ve worked professionally in advertising for 7+ years and have found ways to build stories for brands and organizations, through written word and other mixed media. It’s truly what I enjoy doing. As an author and public speaker, I get to use my business degree with each client I service. I’m constantly analyzing audiences in real time to appeal to their most affective nature. I lend this eye to most of my work, and it helps with larger projects that call for directing, producing or coordination.
As a screenwriter, I get to aggregate all of my passions and skills into one large, cohesive unit. It is the symphony that orchestrates my life’s work.
Of course the road has not been easy. Nothing worth learning ever is. My road, specifically, I believe, had to be difficult to grasp the skill of hustle. A lot of what I do as a writer requires hustle, if you are to make a career of it. You have to be creative enough to turn writing into a living – 50% of the job in being a writer is finding ways to profit from the craft.
But the beauty in being a creative is that you make your reality in real time – you can make anything, including money, if you choose to create it. This is the creative’s way.
Being a writer is not easy. You must be disciplined, devoted, courageous, empathetic, expressive, innovative, patient and so much more to overcome the hurdles that saddle the career path. But most of all, you must believe that you are a writer. This, I think, is the most difficult.
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?
A perfect day in LA (sans traffic): We’d hit up Hermit Falls and cliff dive into the gorge, then grab a bite to eat at True Food Kitchen in Old Pasadena. Perhaps we’d watch the Sunset at Griffith Observatory after hiking to the Hollywood Sign, and if the night calls for it, grab a late show at UCB Franklin. Maybe then we’d maximize our night and catch some views on Mulholland drive, before getting In N Out to sail us into the next night…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout out to Da Poetry Lounge, World Stage Press, Penn State and CSUF for building me into who I am today. Much appreciation to my family and to the courage that my ancestors bestow upon me. Many thanks to Calabama, Black Film Space, In the Cut and the Black Writer’s Collective for giving me a voice when there was none. To all my fellow nannies and bartenders, iykyk (;