I have always surrounded myself with people that motivate and inspire me. When I met Jelisa Jay Robinson, I was in my fourth year of college. She was rushing o be a part of my sorority. Just from the few words I shared with her at that point, I knew that she has big dreams and that she was going to be able to accomplish them.
Within a few years, Jelisa has broken down barriers and persevered. Jelisa is more than my sorority sister; she really is one of my greatest writing inspirations. I wanted my readers to connect with and learn a little more about this amazing woman who will be taking the writing world by storm!! She also has a blog called Black Girl, Latin World, which is where a lot of my inspiration came from when i started my blog a year ago.
“Jelisa Jay Robinson is a passionate self-proclaimed “Morena American” playwright and writer from Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Theatre and Dance and Latin American Studies. During her time on campus, Jelisa wrote, performed and directed several plays including her first play Ice Cold Milk and an Oreo Cookie. Her play The Stories of Us, that tackles Afrolatinidad in Texas, was one of three plays chosen for the Austin Latino New Play Festival in 2015. It is currently slated for a full production with Teatro Vivo in April of 2016. Through her writing, Jelisa uplifts Black women and shines a light on Afrolatin@ narratives. She is a member of the LatiNegrxs Project, a multimedia space dedicated to highlighting Afrolatin@ media. Her writing has been featured on Ain’t I Latina?, Cafe Onda/HowlRound, and her award-winning blog Black Girl, Latin World. Jelisa is motivated by the desire to help the next generation of Black and Brown (and Black-Brown) artists feel empowered. That’s why she is a theatre teacher! When she is not writing, she can be found traveling, gushing over Bluey Robinson and Laz Alonzo, jamming to Los Rakas, and spending time with her family.”
Jelisa sat down with The Nueva Latina to discuss her love for writing and share more about her play “The Stories of Us.
TNL: How did you become a writer?
JJR: I became a writer by making a decision to become one. After I made the decision, I looked for opportunities to write. I sought out people who were successful writers and made them a part of my tribe. I stopped calling myself aspiring” and started identifying as a playwright.
TNL: Whose work would you recommend for emerging writers to study?
JJR: Study what interests you. Study what is boring to you. Study what makes your heart skip a beat. I recommend Junot Diaz, James Baldwin, and Jacqueline Lawton to name a few. Study more than writing. Be a student of life. Go to coffee shops and watch people. Substitute teach for a day. Walk along the beach. When you study life, you will be able to write more truthfully.
TNL: What play, musical, screenplay, etc. do you wish you had written and why?
JJR: Hamilton because well, it’s Hamilton.
TNL: If for some reason you were suddenly forbidden to write, what would you end up doing?
JJR: I’d get my phone and record the stories!!! Nothing will stop me. When you want to so something, you figure out a way to make it happen.
TNL: What is most helpful to you as you sit down to write a first draft?
JJR: Music. I sit down with music in my ear and gain inspiration. Usually music colors the world of my plays. I also use Youtube 15 minute count down videos to make sure that I stay on task. Writing in a journal helps me to get my thoughts down and step away from the computer.
TNL: Who are some current playwrights you follow and think should get more attention?
JJR: I follow my colleagues like Brian Osglesby, Krysta Gonzales, Easy Way Says and Isaac Gomez. I think they are already slaying in the playwriting filed and the fact that they keep putting out work pushes me to do the same. I think you have to surround yourself with others who are utterly brilliant so that you can grow.
TNL: What is your least favorite question about your work?
JJR: I haven’t been asked a “least favorite question” yet.
TNL: What do you want my readers to know about your play, The Stories of Us?
JJR: The Stories of Us is a collage of experiences within Afrolatinidad. What I have learned is that within any identity there are multiple identities. The Stories of Us displays that in a real, honest and sometimes comical sense. You have the story of the African American Spanish speaker, the Afromexican, the Blaxican and the AfroBrazilian.
What’s great about this piece is that it’s going on in Texas a place where afrolatinidad is not widely talked about. However, there are people out there doing the work!
TNL: Where and when did the play run?
JJR: The Stories of Us ran from April 28, 2016-May 8, 2016 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.
TNL: Do you plan on taking your play on tour in the future?
JJR: That is diffidently something that I want to do! I’d love for Stories to travel all over the word and reach people I don’t even know.
Thanks Jelisa for the amazing interview and I CANNOT wait to see all the places you’ll go!!
Another subscription box review for you all here!!
I am SUPER excited to share my FabFitFun Review with you all! I am sure you have seen the ads for this box on Facebook or on Instagram by now.
What caught my eye about this box in particular was that it is called “FabFitFun” and every box promises something Fab, something Fit, and something Fun. All those things are right up my alley and I swear that I have found the perfect box for me.
I am verrrrrry hesitant of subscription boxes. The first subscription box I received was total bust and I immediately regretted buying into it when I opened it.
I decided to give Rocksbox a try after I realized that I would wear the same three pieces of jewelry all the time. I admire women that can rock an outfit and have accessories that just COMPLETE the outfit. I wanted to be one of those women. That, and I have been truly recognizing that, for me, diamonds are starting to become one of my best friends.
As soon as I opened the cute little Rocksbox I was blown away. There was a personalized note from my Rocksbox stylist. I had told my stylist that I had a pageant coming up and she wished me luck as well as hoped that the jewelry she sent would be used during the pageant. Continue reading
After speaking with a few of my friends, I decided to finally take the plunge and try out Stitch Fix.
Stitch Fix is an online clothing shop designed to provide personal styling services for women at an affordable cost. It was specifically created for women who need to wear nicer clothes for events/work but who don’t want to spend hours and hours combing through clothing stores to put together outfits.
I was a little skeptical when it came to this specific subscription box, but after so many of my friends tried it our and loved it, I started to think that maybe it would be perfect for me.
Feliz Día de la Batalla de Puebla!
Before you all go out to your Cinco de Mayo fiestas, I wanted to get real real with y’all for a quick minute.
First, if you have no idea what Cinco de Mayo is or why we even began celebrating it here in the United States, then…
And read. Continue reading
[Keep reading to see how you can enter my GIVEAWAY and win a present for the most special lady in your life!!]
I call my mom everyday. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes we bond. Sometimes we cry.
My mom is my best friend. I know that it seems so cliché, but it’s true. When I turned 21, my mom and I traveled to Miami to celebrate. When I turned 25, she took me to Vegas for my first time there. And, if you know my mom in person, you know she KNOWS how to party.
I was 5 years old. My mom’s aunt, who practically raised her as soon as she moved to the States, had cancer.
At the time, we had just moved from San Antonio, TX to my hometown of Del Rio, TX. My mom had serious separation anxiety and we would visit San Antonio at least twice a month. These trips included time to spend with my Tia Taba and my Tio Raul. My Tia Taba had already lost most of her hair and would wear these super hip head wraps.
She had stopped speaking and would communicate with her eyes and her face expressions. She used to make a really cute mad face when my mom and her siblings would tell stories of growing up with her. I would try and mimic her faces because everyone would tell me that I looked a lot like she did when she was younger.
I felt so close to her, despite not really knowing her, because they said I looked like her. That and the fact that, to my cousins and I, she was always the voice of reason. Her and my Tio lived with my other Tia, Tia Celia. Tia Celia did not like to take care of us. We would get so bored just sitting around at their house when we would visit. We would beg and beg and beg for them to take us to Chuck E Cheese. My Tio Raul would firmly say no. My Tia Celia would just plain ignore us. But, my Tia Taba would always find a way. She loved taking us. I don’t think I remember her telling me she loved us, but I know she did. Continue reading
Happy Monday y’all!
This past weekend was crazy busy! I spent most of Saturday at the Relay for Life of Central Austin (look out for a post about my experience with Relay later this week!). I felt horrible because I was not able to take my puppy, El Chapo, with me.
We now give most of our time on weekends to spent with the pup, so when we don’t get to he definitely notices.
So, I looked for something we could do with him on Sunday. One of the reasons I like the Austin area, more specifically Round Rock, is that they are SUPER dog friendly. I knew that I would find something to do by doing a simple Google search.
I have been itching to go to an Express game since I moved to Austin and, more so now, since I just moved to Round Rock and became an official resident of the quaint little town just minutes from Austin. I mean you got to root, root, root for the home team! Continue reading
I am not a fashion blogger.
I have also not always been the most fashionable person.
When I saw the opportunity to cover Austin Fashion Week, though, I was super excited! Although I am into fashion right now, I would like to be.
The fashion world is crazy and amazing. I knew that by me covering it I would be taken out of my comfort zone.
Well, you can say I REALLY enjoyed the experience.
I had so much fun! I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with so many up-and-coming designers. I interviewed Lauren Nicole about her Fall/Winter 2016 line. I was able to meet and hangout with beauty vlogger Natalie from Ginger Me Glam. I was able to take in the amazingness that is Hues of Man!! This menswear, lifestyle, and culture blogger has IMPECCABLE style. I am happy I was able to meet and hang out with him for a bit. I also was able to invite the newly crowned Miss Austin Texas Latina, Katelyn Anzaldua, to join me on my second day at AFW 2016. Continue reading
[It is highly recommended that you listen to Beyoncé’s new album, LEMONADE, while you read this. Start with track 3. Trust me. Ha.]
I’m still mad.
I guess, I have been for some time now.
I don’t care about you anymore in the way I used to, but I am still mad at the way you treated ME.
There was you my junior year of high school. We started dating early in the spring semester and I was soooo excited. I couldn’t believe you finally asked me out. But…there was a catch. You told me I couldn’t tell anyone yet. You wanted me to wait until the right time. I didn’t understand why, but I agreed because I just wanted you to like me and to stay with me. Two weeks later you started to date another girl of your “status” officially and in public. You didn’t break up with me or even talk to me about it. You just did it. It just happened. The worst part was that, no matter what I said, no one believed me because you denied it.
Then my freshman year in college there was you. You took the one thing from me that I swore I wouldn’t give away until I was ready. I wasn’t ready. I did it because I actually let myself believe that, if I did, you would fall in love with me. At the time, I LOVED to wear heels. I would wear heels all around the University of Texas campus. I felt good. I felt beautiful. I felt powerful. You told me that it made me look a little stuck up. And, to you, it made me look a little more insecure than anything else. I believed you. I changed. You told me I was immature and that if I matured a little I could be your actual girlfriend. A week later, I came to find out, you started to date a cute Asian girl who, it turns out, was just as immature as me. Again, with no warning. You just did it. Continue reading