We had the good fortune of connecting with Nyah Terrilyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nyah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I started S and M (or sex and music) Magazine, I had one thought on my mind: Why can’t I find the perfect coffee table book? My roommate and I had just come back from one of our favorite bookstore cafes in Washington D.C. where we spent hours scourging the shelves for something to decorate our living room coffee table with. When we finally decided our answer wasn’t on those shelves, we were also hit with the revelation that our answer did not even exist yet. So we decided to make our own answer. The next steps came way too easily.
I put together an editorial board, a mission statement and a contributors list of people whom I not only knew and loved but respected as artists. My team and I envision S and M to be a resource for creatives craving community just like we are. Yes it’s about sex, and music, and all the beautiful intersections that come with that hodgepodge of emotion like femininity, Blackness, culture, liberation, youth, etc. But, more importantly, it is about building our own seat at the table. Building our own space to belong and create, and above all else – feel safe. S and M Magazine is made by a coalition of artists from across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Oakland to Detroit to D.C. There is a whole lot of work, love, joy, and even more work going into this compilation of poetry, prose, music play-listing, graphics and photography. While writing is very much so within my comfort zone as a spoken word poet, I wanted to test my budding graphic design capabilities by making visuals a forefront of this project. Thus, the print version of the magazine will be accompanied by exclusive digital content like social media graphics and YouTube videos. Although every step along this road has not been fun, it has been so worthwhile. When you’re walking by faith, you must expect to step on a few pebbles along the way. But that makes the soft sand at the finish line so much more satisfying. Learning and growing with my team has been one of the hardest yet fulfilling parts of my creative career thus far. As easy as it is to sit here and complain, this is exactly what I asked for – what I prayed for. I started this business to show others that yes it is very possible for a young Black Florida girl to shoot for the stars. I started this incredible mission not only to show the world the power of a Broward County brain but also force others to stop watching, lace up their moon shoes, and aim for Venus with me.
Alright, what are the lessons you learned throughout your journey?
I have been talking since the day I was born. It took a few years for me to realize that maybe this talkative trait of mine was just another word for journalism.
Throughout elementary, middle and high school I pursued this passion of mine through hosting my school morning announcements and working for my school newspaper publication. However, somewhere along the way I craved more. More creativity, more expression, more life. This brought me to auditioning for my high school’s spoken word slam team in the tenth grade, where I nervously spit a poem I had just handwritten in my biology journal. From there, the doors of South Florida’s art scene were burst open, and I have yet to look back – at least not for long, anyways. Learning how to hone my written poetry skills into a spoken word performer’s skills was the easiest part of my journey thus far. The hard part came in believing in myself, and believing in the power of my own voice. This is something I still struggle with to this day. Even with my journalistic writing, I struggle with expressing my truth without regrets. I am sensitive about my art and so it has taken me years to tune out others’ opinion of my creation. My story. My truth. Overcoming this problem was no easy feat. It took a lot of praying, a lot of guidance from my mentors and a lot of telling myself nothing even matters, except the stuff that matters. Along the way I have learned that people may be acting like they are laughing with you when they are actually laughing at you. I have learned the biggest betrayals will come from those you keep closest to you. I have learned that sometimes as much as you would like to muscle through the pain, rest is a necessity. I have learned to choose happiness, always. I have learned not to make mountains out of molehills. I have learned to keep going, especially when the world is telling you to stop. I have learned that I am still learning. Every single day. I want the world to know that my story is no where near over. If I come across like I have “made it” or that I have all the answers allow me to be the first to say that is not true. I am, however, willing to work and willing to learn and willing to smile along the way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Welcome to South Florida!
First up we’re hitting my favorite beach Full Moon Beach in North Miami where all the tourists drive right by.
Then we’re getting ice cream at Mr. Kream in Wynwood.
Next, we’re stopping at Lorna’s Caribbean Grill in the Gardens.
While we’re there we’ll stop by my favorite community Starbucks.
Next we might as well hit up Sawgrass Mall to get a quick fit for tonight.
Finally, we’ll be ending our night at the coolest Broward artist showcase to ever do it called SeshwGr8ness.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my Lord for paving the path. I cannot thank anyone in this world without first beginning with my beautiful family. Shoutout to Terry Hardmon and Anika Royster Hardmon, my loving parents who taught me that with discipline and dedication no dream was too big. Shoutout to Naja Hardmon who has been my support system since I came out the womb. Shout out to the honorable Callie Mays Royster who is both my rock and my butterfly. Shoutout to my papa, and my uncles and my aunts and my cousins and my friends and the village that hand-build the stage on which I stand on. Shoutout to my surrogate family who loves me like blood. Shoutout to Live Poets’ Society, Art Prevails Project, SeshwGr8ness and the Omari Hardwick Bluapple Poetry Organization for showing me what an artistic community looks and feels like. Shoutout to the Viking Florida Freedom Writers and the National YoungArts Foundation for believing in me before I believed in myself.