Nowadays, being a stripper is glorified by rappers and media outlets. It’s said and portrayed to be a lifesaver and money maker. Especially, for girls and women looking to gain popularity and money to make it out of the hood. Don’t get me wrong this industry has evolved. We have seen many women who was once strippers now celebs make a name for themselves NeNe Leakes, Blac Chyna, Amber Rose, Lira Galore, and Draya Michele to name a few.
But I ask, “Is this all we have to offer and show our young girls?”
Mrs. Sayuri Smith, author of Scriptures for Strippers and speaker was a stripper back in the early 90’s. All she knew was that she wanted to dance. These were the days of Freak Nik, Luke Dancers, and Do Do Brown. Straight out of high school she went into the night life of being a stripper or booty shaker girl..Down south slang. But knew deep down inside that wasn’t her purpose. Mrs. Smith shares with us how she made it out and found her new profound purpose…
So to start off tell us a little bit about yourself and background.
I’m an Atlanta native and mother to a son and a daughter. I have a background in sales and promotions with licenses in real estate and insurance. I am a novice at American Sign Language I love to crochet, cook and craft. But my passion has always been dancing. When I was a kid, I took ballet, tap and African dance classes. I grew up in church and was even in the children’s choir. I was baptized at 7 years old and my mom told me when I was 12 that I was responsible for my own sins to God. So I learned to fear God as a child, not only my parents. When I turned 18, I followed my dream to become a “professional” dancer… All the way to the strip club.
Who INSPIRED you to become a entrepreneur and author?
I have always loved writing and was pretty good at it in school. I contributed to an anthology in high school with poetry and won a writing award in the 8th grade. I have always had some kind of hustle, even as a child. I started my first business I painted and designed fingernails and toe nails for $5 when I was in the 4th grade. Next, I began a babysitting service when I was a bit older. I eventually learned how to do acrylic nails and I got a pedicure foot soaked and did manicures and pedicures. I also braided people’s hair. When I became an exotic dancer, my entrepreneurial spirit shined brightly. As I danced, I felt liberated and I just couldn’t believe God was allowing me to live my dream: to get paid to dance!
So I guess to answer the question of what inspired me to become an author would be a mix of the depth of my experiences in the adult entertainment industry and my love for God. My mom was the one who always told me to write since I was a child. I kept a journal and she told me to write my feelings, thoughts and goals there. She taught me to be a writer, a kind of journalist to help me document and chronicle my life.
When God is added to anything, it has no choice but to improve.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Scriptures for Strippers actually started as a blog to encourage women who were still dancing. I had left the club (temporarily) and wanted to help others who were still there. I had a notebook full of Scriptures from the assignment pastor had issues so many years ago. I decided to share it online because I knew it would help someone because some days it was the only thing I had.
I wanted the women to know that although she got naked and danced for a living, she could still be loved by God. The Bible could even help a stripper be a better person, reach her goals in life and be a light to others. So it was only natural for me to name the book Scriptures for Strippers.
What made you sit down and decide to write your book?
After a year or so of dancing, I could feel the spiritual toll of the club environment pulling on me. I went to church one Sunday and the pastor said that we should have a scripture that speaks over every negative situation in our lives. I went home and made a list of scriptures that would help me fight the devil off my life. I had scriptures that helped me be a better mother, that covered health but the scriptures I used the most were the ones that helped me as a stripper. Many of my issues steamed from working in the club as I was under attack from every angle. The predatory customers, some of the other dancers were hateful and mean and some members of the club management were pure evil. I knew a woman who committed suicide when she was fired because she didn’t feel she had any other viable options to support herself and her son.
There was no spiritual support for dancers back then so God showed me a diary and a Bible. I took journaling from my childhood and combined it with studying the Bible as an adult and made the blog into a devotional where women could write in their own scriptures, thoughts and goals. Scriptures for Strippers was born!
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
When someone reads Scriptures for Strippers, I want them to understand how essential it is to have their own personal relationship with God, the Creator. When God is added to anything, it has no choice but to improve. I want readers to see strippers as human beings with a soul, heart and mind. Even if the reader isn’t a stripper, I want them to see how to offer encouragement and spiritual empowerment to these women instead of judge, shun and ostracize them especially if they call themselves Christians. Children of God or Believers. I want readers to believe in redemption for these women. I want the dancers to value themselves as more than a pretty face or sexual objects but children of God created with other natural talents and gifts that can be used to bless the lives of others and can also financially bless their own life without the spiritual strain strippers sustain. Learning about how to fight and be victorious in spiritual warfare is essential as well.
Even if a dancer is making money and doesn’t think about life after the club, she should. It is better to be prepared to leave when the time comes. Having a close relationship with God is essential to a graceful (but still sometimes stressful) transition into the next thing.
How did you overcome the challenges and/or obstacles you mention in your book?
All I can say is to God be the glory! It was difficult to adhere to some of the scriptures especially when it came to dealing with haters and transitioning out.
The enemy was attacking me on many fronts so I sought a relationship with God through prayer, studying the Word and fasting.
I learned how to do these things on my journey of becoming closer to God and allowing Him to lead my life. I was very used to making things happen as opposed to letting them happen. The only way I overcame was to go through a brutal humbling process and stay on the course of moving forward by forgiving myself and others, unlearning bad habits and relearning some things in order to conform myself to the plan and will God has for my life. I am still learning how to allow God to fight certain battles while praying for spiritual strength to fight the ones that are mine.
Where can our readers purchase your book?
The is available on the website www.scripturesforstrippers.com, on Amazon and also through Barnes and Nobles. Scriptures for strippers is also carried in The Nubian Bookstore located in Morrow, Georgia.
Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
OMG! My laptop crashed twice and I lost the jump drive with the book on it! I had gotten the book printed before it was completed and I had to contact the printer to send the book back to me in order for me to have a copy of my own book. I’m began to back up every chapter to my email after that to avoid this recurring obstacle. Writing the book itself was not that difficult but I will say the editing was very time consuming but well worth it. My advice to aspiring writers would be to backup your work and understand that this is a part of your legacy. Take time to examine and edit your book yourself before sending it out to someone else. If book sales are important, it is essential to begin marketing the book as soon as you get your book cover done.
Are you working on any upcoming projects? And what can we expect from you in the future?
Yes! I’m working on some new projects but my main focus right now is my memoir entitled Danceability, which chronicles my journey through childhood into the adult entertainment industry while coping with constant debilitating back pain stemming from a childhood diagnosis of idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. This book will speak on the importance of skill and ability versus charm and beauty. I’m excited about this project as I bring awareness to people who suffer from chronic pain and depression.
Facebook: Sayuri Smith
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