Today we’d like to introduce you to Janaye Coleman.
Janaye, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
It all started on a sunny summer day in June — around this time two years ago, my cousin invited me to visit LA for the summer. I had just finished my first year in grad school at Michigan State and like any other grad student, I was on the verge of losing my mind. Everyone was proud of me—full ride to a big ten school, “the dream” — except for me. I was miserable. All I could think about was how I opted for security over actually pursuing what I wanted to do with my life (now at the time, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew grad school for Student Affairs was not it). So when my cousin extended the invitation to visit the Land of Dreams, I cheerfully accepted. Little did I know that summer would change my life forever.
To give hindsight, I graduated Florida A&M University in 2015 with my Bachelor’s in Health Science degree. During my time at FAMU, I was heavily involved with extracurricular activities and student organizations that quenched my creative thirst and fed my desire to inspire others through speech, humor, grace & style. I hosted campus-wide events, served on the royal court and recruited for the university by sharing my story of trial and triumph to prospective and new students bold enough to take on all that comes with attending the number 1 HBCU (yes, I’m talking about financial aid). This is when I first noticed my light from within.
As graduation neared, I panicked. I did not want to continue with Health Science and my options seemed few. An advisor suggested Michigan State’s Master of Student Affairs Program and with fear choking me, I decided to apply. I got in but because I wasn’t true to my heart, I suffered through my first year — forcing myself to believe this is what I needed to do with my life. So when summer came and it was time to board my flight to LAX, I promised myself one thing—that I was going to make this the best summer of my life and risk everything if I had too. Within the first two weeks of my stay in Los Angeles, I was hungry for adventure. I would catch a bus and a train to go visit different places in the cities. I would ask questions on how to get casted for various projects, headshots and what modeling agencies to seek out. I was so curious and bold that one day I found myself staking out of the set of Insecure by Issa Rae. Don’t ask me how, but I ended up being an extra on the show that day. At this point, there was nothing that could convince me otherwise that LA wasn’t the place for me. My heart was made up, I was not returning to grad school.
Courageously, I continued on with my summer, I got casted for BET shows, I worked for Snapchat, I became a production assistant then later casted for a role in an Emmy Award-winning digital series, GIANTS. There was a fire growing inside of me. My light. My motto was, if I was going to do it, then I must do it with fear but I could not let it hold me back. When I finally told the world & my parents of my decision to stay, let’s just say it took them some time to see it my way. Even still, this journey has been far from easy it has taking its toll mentally, financially, and emotionally. Everyday is a fight. Every day I must dig deep and remind myself why.
Fast forward to now, and my two year LA anniversary just passed and it amazes me to this day that I made the leap and warms my heart to see how far I’ve come, the connections I’ve made and the wonderful people that I’ve met along the way. More importantly, the journey that lies ahead. My life mantra is to “B.Lyte-J” not only for others but for myself. My motto remains: if you’re scared, jump anyway! That’s the only way to see that you can fly. B. Lyte – J
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Since living in Los Angeles, I have worked with various brands including, Snapchat, BET, Sprite, Refinery 29 and more. I have modeled for The Lip Bar, a worldwide vegan lipstick company and KIMTH Brand, active gear company whose mission is to raise awareness about Women’s Cardiovascular Health. I’ve organized and hosted events ranging from FAMU Alumni “Be Out Brunch”, Press Play LA day party, BLAKKANVAS art instillation shows and more. I am a youth-improv teacher at Dustin-Fields Acting Studios. I am co-host of Cheers The Podcast. I create content including shorts, docu-series, and tutorials on my growing YouTube channel.
Before I do anything, whether its host/emcee a show, audition for a role, model, or create videos for my YouTube, I recite out loud “Our Deepest Fear” – Marianne Williamson. In the piece, she states “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” This is what I want others to take away from my art. We are our own light and by being so, we allow and inspire others to be theirs. When I host/emcee an event, I always wear yellow. Yellow is bold, it’s courageous, daring yet soft and beautiful. In a way, it helps me bring out what already is inside of me (and it’s my favorite color). After every work of art, I leave my signature ‘B.Lyte-J’ to remind myself and others that we are light like the sun and as a feather. We must be guides to ourselves and others and through it all, we must remain true to ourselves.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
“It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us… we ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, talented, fabulous, actually who are you NOT to be? You are a Child Of God.” – Marianne Williamson
Fear and doubt happens to the best of us but don’t let it get the best of you! One thing I wished I learned earlier everything that we want out of life, all we must do is go within.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can support me by subscribing to my YouTube channel, sharing this article and being true to yourself! You can find my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/NAYECOLE, my website wixsite.com/nayecole.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for booking hosting/emcee, Instagram @NAYECOLE and @Cheersthepodcast. For more information about events @famubola @everythingsocial. To donate cash app: $nayecole11.
- Website: https://nayecolejc.wixsite.com/nayecole
- Phone: 918-944-1103
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/nayecole
- Twitter: twitter.com/nayeocle
The Lip Bar- Sara