Akoshia Yoba is an extremely busy woman- writing, hosting, blogging, speaking, mothering, and maintaining relationships that matter. Even with her busy schedule—one that can tire the best of them out—she maintains a cool demeanor and is able to focus on the tasks at hand.
As a host of So She Says on podomatic.com, a radio show that gives relational and life advice, she leads the way by practicing what she preaches.
Akoshia’s story is encouraging. Our Womanhood had the pleasure of interviewing her on how she maintains it all, the journey into womanhood, and her experience in co-authoring two books—one with her mother Mahmoudah Young, and the other with her brother Malik Yoba—and making the relational dynamics work.
Interview: Author and Radio Host, Akoshia Yoba
Jasmine: I took the time out to listen to one of the interviews you and your mother, Mahmoudah Young, did with Betty from coachbettylive.com. It seems that you were thrown into womanhood at the age of fourteen when your mother left the family to escape an abusive relationship. Thankfully, you and your siblings have successfully reconnected with your mother, which is always a positive thing. How did you balance being a woman and a child at 14 years of age? Who was your support system during this time?
Akoshia: I had women in the community who supported me in various ways; providing guidance, mentoring me and assuring me that all would be well.
Jasmine: Did you always know that you would make positive impacts in other people’s lives and be successful at the same time?
Akoshia: Honestly, I never thought about it. I just always knew I wanted to be happy and to live with inner peace.
Jasmine: Okay, so let’s fast forward to your adult self. You have been through your fair share of heartache and disappointment. How did you use your hardship to propel you into your success?
Akoshia: I have always been an optimist.
For me the glass is always at least half full. I also believed in having a cup that "runneth over" too! So began a journey of self-discovery and healing when I was 17.
I became a Buddhist and began chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This was the beginning of my spiritual journey and my life transforming.
Tina Turner was my shero.
I always knew if she could pull herself up from the depths of despair, I could too.
Also sharing what I have learned with those who are seeking a pathway to peace and well-being -- especially girls and women -- allows me to shine the light for others. To demonstrate with my own life and let them know that they too can rise and succeed and be happy and fulfilled -- this gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is beyond description.
Jasmine: You have played a major role in the creation of two powerful books. The first, co-authored with your brother, actor and activist, Malik Yoba, is titled "Please Return My Phone Call: Preventing the Demise of Personal and Professional Relationships." The second book, "The Screw Factory: Secret Rites of Passages" was written with your mother, Mahmoudah Young. What was it like working with family members on both projects?
Akoshia: It is an interesting dynamic working with family. Each person has a different rhythm and way of doing things. I've found that working with my mother and brother has been a way to enhance and deepen our understanding of each other. Also we have a saying "let the task be the boss." Meaning the job at hand takes precedence over any disagreements and personality differences. We are quite close knit so at the end of the day it’s always a pleasure.
Jasmine: Each book is different but forces a person to examine some part of their inner self. Was it hard to be honest in each of your books?
Akoshia: I LOVE honesty.
I live by the saying "the truth shall set you free..."
It does take courage to be honest, however I believe that being honest with oneself is the fastest path to happiness, peace and well-being.
Once I am honest with myself, it is a natural next step to be honest with others.
Jasmine: Akoshia, you are one of the busiest women out there! You are a writer, blogger, consultant, author, speaker, radio host, sister, daughter and friend. How do you do it all?
Akoshia: I had a mentor who used to say "the time to rest is in the graveyard!" So while I do advocate balance in all things and honor my body with rest when I need it, this saying ignites a fire in me to live to the fullest! Most importantly, I have wonderful children and we enjoy a mutually supportive relationship -- I've always encouraged them to go for their dreams and they do the same for me.
Jasmine: What advice would you give to women who have had a rough beginning in life and are still struggling to overcome it? What can they do?
Akoshia: I can only share what has worked for me.
The most important thing for me was to release any idea of being a victim or a martyr.
Such self-labeling is like an albatross around the neck making it virtually impossible to move into a better place. Practicing Buddhism from an early age, acquainted me with the idea of cause and effect and empowered me through the understanding that my thoughts, words and deeds had a direct impact on my life. I used this information to begin a journey into myself through meditation, prayer, self-help books, self-discovery retreats and seminars etc.
Jasmine: What one word would you use to describe your journey thus far?
Jasmine: Where can we find you on the web?
Akoshia: You can Google me. Because of the spelling of my name, there is only one me as far as Google is concerned LOL! I'm on the Huffington Post, Twitter, Facebook and will soon be on instagram and am redesigning my website Akoshiayoba.com.
Jasmine: Are there any projects you would like us to know about?
Akoshia: Yes I am in the process of publishing a new book entitled So She Says. I call it the little book of wonder for the heart, mind and soul. It will be available in late 2013.
She has already launched! (Also I am launching a podcast called So She Says on podomatic.com which is a combination of giving advice to people who call and write in and me sharing everyday wisdom on relationships and life. It will be out by Memorial Day this year.)
Jasmine: Thank you, Akoshia!
(Interview originally published September 4 ,2013)