Spiritually-grounded Youtuber and podcast host encourage black female students to seek creativity from within


Vanessa Michelle (left) and Assata Cheers (right) share what it means to find creativity at “Where Do Black Women Go to Create?” Nov. 7 2018.

Sierra Campbell

Spirituality is the way to discovery and discovery is the way to creativity according to content creators, Vanessa Michelle and Assata Cheers.

The two black women found their creative pathways and shared their advice as panelists, with an intimate group of students for the Women’s Center “Where Do Black Women Go?” series Wednesday evening.

The theme of the discussion was creativity and how black women develop a mental and physical space to create. Michelle and Cheers have searched within themselves to nurture their legacy and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Vanessa Michelle is a freelance marketing strategist and has a Youtube channel, Coffee Talk with Vanessa Michelle. For 6 years she has explored a wide range of topics that allow her viewers to help “serve their higher purpose.”

“I’m not too politically driven. I feel that isn’t my audiences’ vibe and I don’t want to deter my audience with that. As a woman, I feel that I [vlog] always in a social context,” Michelle said.

Cheers’ creative platform, a podcast called Truth, is a year old and focuses on turning “pain into passion” through one’s struggles and triumphs. She is a senior communications major, who says her podcast is multidimensional but doesn’t bring the energy of news and politics to her show often.

“I’ve always hated the news. I don’t watch it, it makes me sad. Some people come on and bring up issues that are relevant to their interview but I’ve never had a show for a particular political issue or leader,” she says. Cheers wants her podcast be about things like; love, life and finance.

The women tell the audience that the work ethic of millennials in creativity is different from their parents. Unlike before, today’s creatives are able to post their work on social media and build a brand up from there. They assure the crowd that this kind of work ethic is not a bad thing.

“We have more resources, so our work ethic does not look the same. We don’t have to drive a car [around] selling something, because we don’t have to. Millennials can be strategic,” Cheers said. “It’s a mental grind, not so much physical.”

“Depending on where you are in your creative journey, you can monetize likes. You can get paid $10,000 for having at least 100,000 people viewing a video. I can pay your car off mom, chill out, let me own my likes,” Michelle joked.

The ladies wrapped up the discussion telling students to find inspiration in their potential legacy and let your creative work speak for itself. They engaged the audience in a discussion on how to use their life experiences to create.

Naketta Myles, a college of communication and information advisor shared her own inspiration for creativity based on her life experiences.

“Poverty! Poverty is a great motivator for creativity,” she yelled from the crowd.

Sierra Campbell is the Women’s and Gender Issues reporter. Contact her at [email protected].