We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanique Yates and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanique, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose a creative career because when I was a child I found that creating was one of my only forms of escapism. Reading books became my favorite past-time and ultimately, I hoped that someday I could grow up and impact the lives of other Black women just as writers like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison did for me!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Whew. The road to where I am today has not been an easy feat, nor is it anywhere near over, I feel as if I’m just getting started. In August 2019, I packed up my Nissan and left my birthplace, Virginia (shoutout to the 804, two up, two down), and headed to Atlanta to take a position as a temporary Social Media Coordinator for aspireTV. In December 2019, the role transitioned into full-time, and ever honestly ever since I made the decision to bet on myself, leaving a place and a job that was comfortable for me, it’s truly been UP (and it’s stuck)!
In December of 2019, I also decided to launch my own brand, “As Told By SLY” as a means for me to share my talents and love for storytelling with the world whether it’s through freelancing for brands like AfroTech and BAUCE magazine, or putting together projects that allow me to share meaningful stories of people who look like me!
Honestly, I say it’s just getting started because for years I’ve been told what works and doesn’t work in the world of journalism. I’ve been told that I don’t have the “look” to be in front of the camera, or that I’d have to always straighten my hair to land an on-air gig, but shoutout to God for not allowing me to let that negativity stand in the way of something that’s always been a dream of mine — being paid to do what I love to do and in this case, that passion is sharing stories. The fact that I’ve been blessed to live a life doing something that I love to do is not something that I take lightly.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is such a hard question (lol) because I moved here just 6 months before COVID came through and completely shook up life as we know it!
What I would say is that I’d definitely take my bestie to the beltline one of those days because I love being outside and exploring and that’s the perfect place to do it! I’d also take her to Ponce City Market, which is perfect because you can access the beltline from there and the shops and food there are SO dope.
For food, I’d take her to some of my favorite spots thus far like Kelz Kitchen (highly recommending the crab-stuffed Salmon), Mojave, and one of my all-time favorites, Birria El Gordo ( I LOVE tacos)!
If we were to have a night out on the town I’d have to say we’d hit Peters street because I just love Escobar, not only are the vibes good, but the food is amazing too or we could hit The Battery, they just opened a Fat Tuesdays over there that I can’t wait to hit up now that the weather is about to break! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my family for always believing in me, even when they don’t quite understand the vision that I have. I don’t want to single anyone out because they are all so supportive of me and always have been. I’d also like to dedicate this to my late grandmother, who I named “GaGa”. We lost her in 2018, but for some reason, I feel like her spirit is always with me, guiding and protecting me — I’m grateful for that.
Other: Please follow my current documentary series: Voices Unheard at the following: Facebook: Voices Unheard VA Instagram: voicesunheardva
For the Feature Photo Please credit to : Miguel Atkins (MDA Photos)