SPOKEN WORD ARTIST AND ARTIST-PRENEUR JAIYE EMPRESS DISCUSSES HER BUSINESS EMPRESSIVE EXPRESSIONS, AN ODE TO HER ARTISTRY.
Credit: Patrick Wilcox | IG: @patwilcox45 Jaiye Empress reading an erotic piece from her new book Wild Yoni Flower: A Self Love Journey at an
Eargasm Poetry & Chill Event
Affirm Noire| April 30, 2021
In this feature, we interview Jaiye Empress of Empressive Expressions. Jaiye Empress is a Spoken Word Artist and Artist-preneur who launched her brand Empressive Expressions in 2018. Empressive Expressions is a premium art, beauty, and edutainment brand that celebrates Black femininity and creative self-expression that's based online and physically in Florida.
"As an artist, I use my art to express my unique truths and experiences as a Black womxn. Creating makes me feel more empowered and beautiful. Over time I began to notice that when I shared my creations, my fellow sister-friends expressed feeling similarly."
So, who exactly is Jaiye Empress?
JE: I am a true renaissance womxn with many titles and talents! In fact, my newest self-ascribed moniker is G.R.I.O.T-Soul Seer - which stands for Goddess Rebel Inspiring Original Thought! I have a variety of gifts and passions but ultimately I use art and the art of creative self-expression to craft products, hold space, and share stories that affirm, uplift and celebrate self-love. Under the platform of my creative company, Empressive Expressions, I use the power of my words and my poetic performance to inspire and empower Black girls and womxn into holistically loving and healing themselves better. I’ve been -- what I like to self-identify as -- an artist-preneur for over three years (my business officially began in 2018) though I have always been a poet, writer, and artistic performer since my childhood. I would like to also mention that I recently adopted the word, "womxn," rather than woman or women, to provide greater visibility and inclusiveness for non cis-identified individuals. My company caters to and advocates for any person that identifies with Black womxnhood, girlhood and femininity, whether cis-, trans-, non-binary or gender nonconforming
We love the moniker! All of this is so inspiring. What is your typical day like doing your work?
JE: For me, as a professional artist, there is no such thing really as a “typical day.” Especially since I am so multipassionate. But I usually alternate between occupying a creative, performing or community mode in my business. The create mode is me writing content, books, blogs, creative workshops, future courses etc., that intentionally honor and uplift Black feminine power. In my performing mode, I am sharing my creations publicly usually through live interactions. And in the community mode, I’m holding space for more intimate conversations to occur regarding the creations I create and share! Often these modes overlap and intersect so a “typical day” will combine different elements of the three.
Sounds like you've come up with your own individual process for your creative practices that feed your creative energy. How did this all come to be? What is the inspiration behind Empressive Expressions?
JE: As an artist, I use my art to express my unique truths and experiences as a Black womxn. Creating makes me feel more empowered and beautiful. Over time I began to notice that when I shared my creations, my fellow sister-friends expressed feeling similarly. That inspired me to create my company. I wanted a larger platform from which I could inspire other Black girls and womxn to connect with the stories I personally share, and then use that connection to create and share their own stories. So that they too, may feel empowered and beautiful! I also wanted Black girls and womxn to realize that their (our) stories matter, they have merit and they are impressive! Only I chose to spell the word, "Empressive," to uplift the regality of Black girl/womxnhood as we are all royal within our own right.
Yesssss, Queen! Making room for women to take ownership of their power is amazing. What are your future visions and plans for your business?
JE: My future plans are to write and release more poetic books on self-love . I just released my FIRST book, a poetic memoir titled Wild Yoni Flower: A Self-Love Journeyin March 2021. I am also designing a series of courses devoted to increasing Black girl self-confidence. And one day, I intend to create a luxury travel retreat dedicated to Black self-love.
Congratulations on such an amazing feat! So, what has been some of your proudest accomplishments as a result of running Empressive Expressions or in your career thus far?
JE: An accomplishment I am proud to share is being recently featured in Brickell Magazine for my philanthropic efforts through my business as well as my employment with the nonprofit organization: S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective, where I work as a Teaching Artist. I was also featured online in the Voyage Miami and Shoutout Miami magazines for my creative entrepreneurial pursuits. I am most proud of releasing Wild Yoni Flower: A Self-Love Journey this year, as mentioned previously. It is available for purchase directly on my website, as well through Amazon.
Since you write poetry, would you like to share a piece with us?
“I Am My Favorite Poem”
I love the depth of me.
The more I create,
the more I create myself.
into every verse,
and every line I spit.
And I --
fall in love
a bit more each time
with every rhyme --
I am my favorite poem.
JE: I love this piece because it originally began as a social media post, and then the impact of the meaning behind this budding piece really hit me and I decided to turn the thought into an actual poem. It’s an affirmation for me, and it succinctly captures the essence of why I create art. Creating helps me to become the best version of myself. The art I create is both an extension and reflection of the person I am as well as becoming.
The relevance of that is 100% accurate. In terms of products, you sell a collection of items- accessories, apparel, skincare, and poetic affirmations. What are some of your fave products or favorite things about the products that you are selling?
JE: Every product is a poem! Literally and figuratively. My Majestic Melanin Magic body butter was one of the first products I offered. Its title and color comes from a poem I wrote called “Diaspora” in which I celebrate the global beauty of Blackness. I describe the “disparate accents” and different geographic and cultural backgrounds that provide diversity to our Blackness, while simultaneously honoring the special kinship we share as “majestic melanin beings.” So when I began making these butters, I made sure to use all natural ingredients to pay tribute to our natural “magic.” Plus, those elements -- coconut butter, shea butter, beeswax -- are all items Black people are familiar and comfortable with using. I also included cacao (chocolate powder) to provide the melanin texture and color. I wanted butter wearers to see themselves in the product as well as to be curious about its shade. And since these butters are handcrafted, I usually advise customers that the product color may vary in shade just like our beloved skintones.
My beta butter, "Indigo Magic," is a body butter inspired by a poem of the same name, that pays tribute to Ntozake Shange's novel, "Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo." When prospective clients use this butter, I want them to feel seen. I want Black girls and womxn in particular to connect with the art and herstory that inspired it because it is intended to reflect and relate to the struggles they face, while also mirroring and affirming their inherent beauty. I wanted “Indigo Magic” to be a softer, lighter contrast to the earthy Majestic Melanin Magic. So I combined shea and mango butters, with coconut, apricot and sage essential oils to create a cream that’s more feminine in nature.
This sounds amazing! What is your process for making these butters?
JE: The process for making my butters involves measuring, melting, then mixing all of the separate ingredients together. Then, I allow the heated mix to cool completely, checking at hour intervals to make sure the ingredients have congealed at a desirable consistency, which feels like a lot like alchemy! Finally, I spoon portions of the completed batches into recyclable glass jars, to be sealed and labeled. Each batch is handcrafted with love in my kitchen. In fact, I usually have incense, music and other Black Girl Magic vibes permeating the atmosphere as I create!
For more information about Jaiye Empress, contact her at:
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