Dreaming Big With New Author and Youth Advocate Rahkal C.D. Shelton
New author, Rahkal C.D. Shelton has just released her autobiography “Dreams Bigger than Texas: A Story of Purpose, Perseverance and Growth into Womanhood” today, and I am so excited to introduce her to our readers and allow her to spread her Black girl magic among us! Dreams Bigger Than Texas is an intimate look at the life and development of Rahkal as she faces the challenges of growing up in a poverty stricken, substance and domestically abusive, broken home. This autobiography is a modern day, coming of age, rose from concrete story. It’s an amazing young woman’s journey of making it out of the 'hood, discovering her purpose, and defying all odds against her! I was privileged enough to interview the astounding young author as she imparted some strong truth and revelation about her life, her journey to success, and the courage to bear it all on page.
When I asked the author to introduce and describe herself: to paint a picture for the woman behind the book, she confidently replied “Rahkal C. D. Shelton is a mentor, author, sister, trailblazer and lover of all things progressive.” I was born in Chicago and raised in a unique combination of places including Chicago, Nashville and Mississippi. Although I only attended college in Houston, this is where I grew up most”.
That last line certainly strikes a nerve: “...this is where I grew up”, arguably a metaphor for Rahkal’s transformation through maturity, perhaps (or reminder of my own). The author admitted that she is even still, “terrified, at times, with the thought of all my business being in the streets”.
“I truly believe my obligation is greater than any fears and frustrations.” - Rahkal C.D Shelton
There is one thing that author Rahkal C.D Shelton imparted that I truly hope sparks fires of inspiration, especially for our servants of the community & youth: “I have an obligation to be who I needed, growing up”. This is such an essential proclamation. There may have been times in many of our lives where we wanted or needed someone to be on our side--someone to encourage and support us; to love us, in our good and trying moments. I believe we all should take this note from the author, who uses her story to shape better narratives for coming generations.
Rahkal Shelton began writing her book back in 2007 but the progress was slow. It was not until she began working as a tutor that she realized just how her story was meant to be told.
“Meeting the youth and finding my purpose totally altered my career path and desire to be a sports reporter and film director (this is what I wanted to be leaving college). They gave me new direction but also helped to redefine my bigger picture and future goals. My degrees and professional experience is in broadcast, sports and media production. This helped to streamline my experience, passion and purpose.”
Shelton is currently working for CNN in Atlanta but is eager to leverage her business relationships and experiences, so that she may soon start her own media based nonprofit.
“I would like to coach and work with under-served, inner city youth teaching speaking, media production and how to tell their own stories.” From here, the book was officially reborn.
Dreams Bigger than Texas: A Story of Purpose, Perseverance and Growth Into Womanhood is a captivating insight to someone else’s reality, that may not be far from some of our own, or those we may love. It is a tale of victory and an inspirational read.
“I chose this title in my senior year of college at Texas Southern University. I felt it was fitting because I wanted more than where I was. Everything's bigger in Texas. So, my dreams superseded where I was, physically. Hence the title, "Dreams Bigger Than Texas". If you don’t believe in you no one ever will! People say good things come to those who wait but I say everything comes to she who hustles!”
Today, we celebrate one month since the official release of this empowering autobiography! A fortunate few were able to obtain early snippets of the book during the release party, held this past Sunday, in Rahkal’s birthplace, Chicago! For the rest of us, we are able to purchase our copies directly from her website.
Following the release of her book, Rahkal is planning to travel the country, mentoring groups of inner city youth, in addition to planning for the launch of her media based non-profit that will focus on encouraging young people to be unashamed to speak about their experiences by teaching them ways to express themselves, as she has done. Rahkal C.D. Shelton is Black Girl Fly because she is “ a rose that bloomed from the concrete, unapologetically imperfect and committed to serving other fly black girls.”
Hey yawl Tyler Marie, or Ty as she's come to be called is a (West-Side) Chicagoan ‘til Chicago ends. She attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School here in the city and went on to attend the first Private HBCU, Wilberforce University (OH) where she obtained her B.A. Sociology in 2012. It’s probably pretty clear now that writing is kind of ‘her thing’ but she's more than okay with that. Other hobbies include eating, playing basketball, modeling and singing. Basically, Tyler spends all of her time trying to be as fly of a Black Girl as she can be. Connect with her via: Twitter & Instagram at @_Mighty5