Have you been a vendor with us for very long?
Since December of last year.
What have you learned since being out there?
I’ve learned that as long as you pray, have faith and be of good character and good cheer, no matter if you get a sale or not—it’s not always just about the sale—I’ve learned that I’m being blessed as well as blessing others. People have told me they see a light in me. I’ve had people tell me right on the corner by Panera Bread where I sell. I’ve seen people take their money out before they even get to me and run to me to buy the paper. That’s a light I came into the world with. It’s called favor.
Where else does that light show up in your life?
It shows up in my spirit, in the way I walk. I try. I’m not a perfect person, I’ve been consumed with a lot of fear. I’m a singer-songwriter and I have a song I’ve been working on through a bad situation. I used to write all the time. The light showed up when I was staying at a women’s shelter and they would ask me to pray over everyone. I was interceding on my behalf and theirs as well. I had people come to me and say thank you for the prayer, you must be a professional. And I thought, how can you be a professional at prayer?
But, I don’t have a lot of regrets. The light is something that shines in me even when things might not be going very well. Even when my eyes are teared up and I don’t think I can go another step, that’s just the enemy making me think I can’t go another step. But I’ve got too much promise on my life to do great things, to excel and this is just a part of this breakthrough. I’ve heard it several times before, and because of me doing my own kind of thing and trying to people please. I focused too much on that and just gave a lot up. I gave a lot of the blessings that were for me, but if you don’t give anything then you’re hoarding the things.
It’s more important to me today to have love and compassion in my heart. I always have, but I haven’t always received it back, and it’s almost costed me my soul, and that’s one thing I’m not giving up. I’ve had that fight all my life. It shook me like a palm tree, it knocked me, swayed me this way, and I’ve chosen things that aren’t good for me because I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling. But I have this perspective about it today. I’ve got a beautiful daughter and five grandchildren.
Are you from Nashville?
I was born in Alabama, and moved to Nashville when I was 2 or 3. I grew up in housing projects in North Nashville.
What was that like?
There were all kinds of people that were out there, the pimps, the drug dealers, the prostitutes, the people selling drugs and the people doing drugs. But I had people that took me under their wings out there who taught me the best things. They taught me what they knew to get by. Not hurting nobody or killing nobody. They put $10 in my hand and taught me how to shoot craps. And I’m 12 years old, and my mother’s got six kids and we don’t have a lot. We eat, but we don’t have a lot. And for me to come home with $140-$150 every Saturday morning that they take me out of there...Even the bad things that were going on, they didn’t put me in those. They did some things to educate me in every realm that there was. My mom was sophisticated. My friend Ms. Hazel, she would sit on the porch and drink her gin, but she never tried to give me any gin. I’d sit out there with her and drink an R.C. Cola. They would educate me with so much knowledge.
I have this great fear, not that I can’t be successful, not that I can’t be successful, not that I can’t be huge. I’ve had this big fear that I’ve self-sabotaged just about all my life. When it comes down to it I walk away or throw it away. I’m not willing to do that today.
What would you like to say to your customers?
My customers, my customers that talk about that light they see in me. I want to say thank you. God bless you. I want to tell them about the song that God has put in my heart, the gifts and talents he has blessed me with. I want to tell them about how good God is to put them in my life. I was at a point where things were so hard, and I thought to myself I’m done with it. Not that I didn’t care, but I was tired and my spirit was heavy down to my soul. I want to tell them thank you so much.
People talk about civil rights movement and racism and prejudice, and if we’re not going to get past stuff, my sister, we’re never gonna grow. I don’t care who the president is. What are we doing as a people to help people we see walking down the street?