A Broken Wing Can Still Fly

Black Authors Matter
7 min readAug 29, 2020

Interviewed By Lissha Sadler

Author/Motivational Speaker Yassin Hall

Yassin Hall has fearlessly advocated for change in the Virgin Islands. With passion, persistence, and power she turned her traumatic childhood into a story of survival and inspiration for so many.

LS: Tell me about your literary journey?

YH: My stories are inspired by my childhood. My mother suffered from depression that was undiagnosed, which later escalated to undiagnosed schizophrenia, until the day she threatened my young life at the age of 12. Growing up on an island, you don’t really have many outside resources for health, let alone mental health. For me to overcome all that I had been through, I had to self medicate in order to cope. I started modeling, on the outside I knew I had something, but inside I felt ugly and broken. I was truly in a very dark place. I was dealing with a lot of complexity at home with my mother and I was dying on the inside. There were no other positive outlets on the island besides beaches and clubs. I was not allowed to be at the clubs because of my mother’s diagnosis. Nobody really understood it, so I didn’t have many friends. Everyone saw me as the crazy lady’s daughter. When my grandmother taught me how to sew that is when things changed. I began making school skirts for the girls in school. Once I did that, I started getting noticed for my talents.

LS: Tell me about the moment you decided to sit down and write about your life?

YH: That moment was actually pushed upon me. I was featured in my local newspaper for an event for a syndicated reality TV Show that was being showcased on my island. The editor who wrote that article reached out to me and said, “You know what, I think you should write your book.” I was adamant that was not going to happen. At the time I didn’t think my story was something that would help other people, I thought that my life sucked. She reached out to me for five months straight. Every month, she would say, “I think you should do it.” And I would say, “No.” Then in the fifth month, she reached out and she said, “You know what, I’m gonna just tell you what I think your first book should be about. You should write a book about your mother.” I was like, “Oh, hell no. Out of everything that I’ve done in my life, you picked that. We don’t talk about that.” I was upset that she had the nerve to tell me that I should write a book about my mother. When you’re wrapped up in a situation, you don’t see the benefits while your going through it. In 2014, I was going back and forth to court because my family members were suing me. I was under a lot of stress, my grandmother had passed away and they were showing videos of her on her deathbed. That was a hard time for me. In my frustration I decided, you know what, I’m going to push through this thing and write. So, I pushed and wrote the first two pages. After seven days in court, I finally wrote a story about my mother.

LS: A black woman that can write is a powerful woman. What was that process like for you, sitting down to write?

YH: It was really an eye-opener to realize that I needed more help; I had made it this far in life and I had to learn that unless I admitted my truth, walked in my truth, and owned my truth, I would never heal. I realized that because my truth was already out there, nobody could criticize me any further. Nobody could look at me as a crazy lady’s daughter. I now have an identity, I am Yassin Hall. I own my power. There’s nothing to hide. And once you’ve written your truth, and especially your WHY, nobody can diminish you. I wrote my truth so I could help another child, another woman, to heal and grow.

LS: You’re such an inspiration to so many others. Who inspired you throughout your career, and what was the best piece of advice that you’ve received?

YA: My grandmother is the pinnacle of who I am today. She inherited me at the age of 12, all of us lived under the same roof. She pretty much raised me all over again. She only had a sixth-grade education, her husband passed away three months after this. So here is this woman in her 50’s now having to go back to work, get her GED, get a college degree, learn how to drive on her own, take care of her mentally ill daughter, and now this grandchild that’s going through her own stuff. She went from being a grandmother to now becoming a mom again. And the best advice that she gave me is, “You be as independent as you can, don’t depend on anybody else for your own success. And don’t let anybody define who you are. You let people know who you are and always believe in God.”

LS: How is it being in business with your daughter and being able to be the mother you did not have?

YH: The journey has brought us closer, being she is a child with autism. So I had to find what her strengths are in the business and I realized that it is my duty as a parent to make sure that she has a solid foundation despite her disability, and teach her how to zone in on her own strengths with autism and become a success. I’m so proud of the journey that she’s been on. I’m so proud of her just growth and I strongly believe that because we work so close together, she became an entrepreneur so young. It defines who she is now and it helped her to grow past her autism. She’s overcome so much in such a short span of time.

LS: What are some of the jewels you would drop on people that may be struggling with mental health during this time?

YH: Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are people available via zoom. Reach out to someone and make sure that you take the time for you. Go to the grocery store and then come back home. Go for a walk. Pick up your phone and call someone. You have features on the phone to have a video chat. We found that face-to-face conversation, even though it’s not a direct face-to-face conversation, is very important. It has been found that video chat is giving you a better outlet than texting and talking on the phone since we are living a different life now. Look at yourself, look at your behaviors, write down your behaviors, know your signs and your symptoms. Of course, at this time we can’t hang out with our friends. One of the major symptoms of depression and anxiety is withdrawal, depression forces you to become withdrawn. Take time out and start evaluating your life.

LS: What have you learned through your journey?

YH: I learned that as black women, we have so much power that we don’t really, truly dive into it. Forbes said this in a tweet that black women entrepreneurs are taking off. We need to realize that we are independent and powerful enough to conquer anything. We are warriors, we are survivors. We have been through so much emotionally for a reason. We have to sit down and hone in on the root of what we’ve gone through to learn different strategies in life. I don’t know any woman that has been through something that didn’t come out stronger on the other side.

LS: What is next for Yassin Hall?

YH: I have a second book called Beyond the Love Curse. The journey continues. It is a book of my journey in therapy sessions finding self-love and self-worth. So I’m taking you into my sessions, in order for women to get the help that they need and see that therapy’s not bad. I didn’t have that example of knowing a woman’s worth, I had to learn my worth, through mistakes, toxic relationships, as well as toxic family members. I had to learn to let go or rewrite the script in a more positive way.

Instagram: Yassin Hall

Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y4vvknv4

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Black Authors Matter

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