If there is any life to be lived, Shaunna Barbee has and will live it, and to the fullest, crafting the stories of her life and the lives of others with unbridled passion and relentless pursuit of the core motivations that make this world and the players thereof in it, so intricate and divine.
The preacher, poet, businesswoman, ghostwriter, and author is proud of her roots in Nashville, TN. Now settled in Cary, North Carolina with her fiance, scientist and muse, James Tyus, her mother Mable and two sons, Antonio and James Luke, she enjoys a life of family, writing, adventure, cooking and ministry. She enjoys reading just as much as writing, with Baldwin, Angelou, Brown, Ta' nehisi Coates and Michelle Williams being some of her favorite writers.
Shaunna has written numerous books and is just beginning her career as a writer. Maya Angelou is her greatest literary inspiration but only later in life... Shaunna's childhood interests were not towards the craft of book writing or poetry but oscillated between journalism, law and music.
As a three-year-old, she illustrated, wrote and bounded a book with a title she cannot recall. Instantly her mother, Barbara, knew she had "something special." She often told stories to her stuffed animals, making up elaborate characters and using inflections in her voice. Shaunna's fondest memories include rummaging through her sisters clothes, entertaining the family by telling jokes and doing silly dances and sitting at the piano with her father, singing Tea for Two.
Trouble un-unique to the average girl had befallen Shaunna. She was sexually abused at the hand of a family member at a young age. She became a teen mother and made several turns down uncertain paths intersecting depression, arrests, economic setbacks and heartbreak. Sharing this journey reveals a humanity in the author that many cling to as their own and her faith in God is the greatest treasure she could share. Shaunna firmly believes that writing, putting thought and idea to paper, can be the key to healing for many people, especially for women and women of color who particularly do not seek help for issues from professionals. She believes that "writing is a portal that lets stuff out, potentially the stuff that is killing you..at the same time, it lets the good stuff in - showing both reader and writer that we're dealing with the same hell and seeking the same heaven."
Her talents have taken her all over the world. She performed as a singer for the Department of Defense in an Asia tour, singing for troops in South Korea, Guam, Japan and Singapore. She has studied in Spain and is forever enamored with Vancouver and Washington's Mt. Rainier park.
A former pastor and current ordained minister of the gospel, Shaunna hosts an annual Fearless Women's conference meshing Faith, Business and Relationship solutions into a power-pack day event of prayer, strategy and networking. Her greatest influences in the ministry and in business are Mike Murdock, TD Jakes, Tim Ferris, Debra Lee and Oprah. "There's not too much difference between business and ministry," she told one conference attendee. "Both involve a lot of politics, soothing and caressing of egos and ultimately remembering to work and serve pass all the bull and never forget Who you're really serving/working for."
Barbee a gifted businesswoman with a vibrant consulting firm, IntelAgencia, LLC, has always had an entrepreneurial mindset almost as early as she began writing. In elementary school she would sell Blow Pops and school supplies to fellow classmates, often finding herself in trouble for her efforts and comedic exploits. As an adult, she's worked in media, language services, the restaurant industry, healthcare and high learning. She enjoyed a memorable and rather short stint as a Director at Howard University. This experience gave her a an depth view of HBCU life and operations and it fostered an urging inside her to crusade for institution as a necessary unifying agent for African Americans. She has toured many HBCU's sharing her pieces. Shaunna is drawn to people of all cultures and especially is fond of Latina culture.
Trained in Spain and bilingual, she has instilled this love for diversity and languages to her children who both speak a respectable amount of Spanish and Mandarin, her eldest son having traveled to China twice. Living in Mexico for nearly a year as a consultant helped to facilitate a journey of self care and healing from depression and anxiety. She continues to draw inspiration from the people and landscape of Baja California and Murcia, Spain.
"Some people may not consider me a poet, or anything for that matter...sometimes I don't consider myself to be fully anything. Some days I feel like a spoken word artist, a poet, a selfish lover, a horrible friend, a lazy mother, and a distant daughter. I feel as infinitesimal as the ant sometimes...Other days I feel like I've been given the charge to say or do something that is going to pull a person off a ledge and speak directly to their soul. Then I remember how powerful and determined the ant is, with a strength seemingly greater than his appearance. Somebody spoke to my soul once...least I can do is return the favor. This is all of us - gods living in small appearances - This is me and God.
I am the ant...He is the God. "
I need a break
Like edges accustomed to the tension and pull
Hardened heels of these feet seek
a softer designer
PayLess shoes might as well be concrete
To a journey like this of biblical proportions
A real, commercial break Like Kit Kat bars
Like Felons behind bars need a break
Caged chocolate treats, our finest, strongest are captured
Hungry for a chance to scrap a laughable wage
I been running for a while, for decades from decades
Sweat on my pelvic bone slithers down the home stretch mark
In a race to gather and evaporate
In a place, dilapidated and dark as an old outhouse
In LaGrange, cantankerous and random in its soundings - this old girl has seen some thangs
a bitter and dispassionate womb
But still softer,
Supple in some corners
Hinting at the woman I wanted to be
The woman I dreamt of being when I was nine and dreaming of showing myself to Love
She would be a free woman who answered to no judge
And sailed to places where Black women are gods
where you wash dishes when you felt like it, not when told…and your hair grew for miles because my hair was the distance between me and Acceptance, further than the drive to Chattanooga from Nashville with meaner hills than Mt. Eagle
1987, scratching momma’s scalp with the rat-toothed comb, watching Young & the Restless recordings on VHS
Dabbing the BB Hair oil in finely segregated lines
Conservatively, if her itch was moderate, gobbing it on there if it had been a while since last wash,
thinking "Is this slavery?"