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Rising Stars: Meet Rev. YaNi Davis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rev. YaNi Davis.

Hi Rev. YaNi, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started as a hip-hop artist in High School when I was asked to write something about the Ten Commandments and from there, kept making songs about biblical characters. Growing up, my father was a Pastor and I could not get my friends to come to church, but through rapping and making services super relevant and engaging, it helped shift the culture. I was heavily involved in the underground “Holy Hip-Hop” scene in New York as a teen, traveling from church to church rapping and sharing an inspirational message. This was about two decades ago when I first started at the age of 14. Not only was I rapping in the states, I was also afforded the opportunity to share as a teaching-artist in several countries around the world. I knew at an early age what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Inspire the masses with music and a message of Peace, Love, Justice and Community. I got to where I am today by remaining faithful to “leading the people in love.” That is a message my father continues to live by after 45 years in ministry. My maternal grandfather was Bishop in Bermuda, known for his charismatic personality and fiery sermons. My mom is an educator. My roots have me anchored to teaching, healing and leading in a revolutionary way. The village that raised me in New York, Atlanta, Bermuda and around the global village have raised me to be the human(e) being I am today. I have always desired to make faith and spirituality relatable to the people and made a choice to live as a truth-teller, storyteller and spiritual companion everyday of my life.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. I have had to reconcile what it means to be a Black, Queer, GNC, disabled woman in America. Growing through the challenges of being fully authentic within myself and with the world has taken years of prayer, meditation, un-learning/re-learning, sitting with the constructs of society, my work in the world and my desire to see the next generation live more fully into who they are. I am a survivor of Chronic Kidney disease which has deeply impacted my life and ministry. Halfway through my matriculation through seminary, ESPN called on me to be the principle actor in a women’s empowerment PSA. I was flown from LA back to Atlanta, where I was living previously. The third day on set, I collapsed, was rushed to the hospital and told that both of my kidneys were functioning at less than %10. This led me to a long journey of deeper self-discovery, transformation and ascension in my life. Dialysis was 12 hours at night, I was often in and out of ICU and it deeply impacted my strength, courage and hope for the work I was doing in the world. I struggled with what my life would look like from moment to moment. Up until that moment, I lived a life with no health challenges and no drama with my ability to travel the world, learn, live independently and thrive, in the same ways I once did. It has not been easy navigating as a young Black woman in the Church. There have been many challenges, many obstacles and a ton of church hurt. I do my work to make sure people don’t continue to experience this type of harm with no one to turn to.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I use my words wisely! I am a spiritual leader that has a heart for the people. I am a hip-hop artist that moves the masses with lyrics and melodies. I am a Creative FLoW Strategist (Spiritual Life Coach) that assists folx in getting their visions and dreams out into the world. I am a Preacher that makes the Good News relevant. I am a designer for Peace People Apparel, my clothing company. I am a spiritual companion for people seeking a wholly listening ear. I am leading people to deeper places of peace and wholeness via the power of Nommo (The Spoken Word). I am a healer, a visionary, a friend. I am an author, a leader, a teacher. I am a preacher, a prophet, a poet.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love Los Angeles because I get all of the best of other cities wrapped in one. I get the desert, I get the mountains, I get the greenery, l get the beach and I get the city life. I wish I had taken more advantage of all there was to offer and experience prior to the panorama. But alas, nature truly has been a place I have found healing, peace and comfort over the last year and throughout my life. I think we can all agree. Meaning anyone who has ever lived in LA. The worst part is the traffic. There’s traffic in the middle of the night, the middle of the day, when you close your eyes, when you sit down. It is never ending!

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Kelley Rays, Scribbles

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