We all have that defining moment that ignites our imagination and strengthens our belief in who we could be. For the foster care girls of the Wake County LINKS Program, the Radio Run “Chasing Your Dreams” event was just that. The inaugural Radio Run – “Chasing Your Dreams” event, created by one of North Carolina’s number one midday voices, Autumn Joi Live of K97.5 celebrated influential women in history by women who are currently trailblazing in radio and television, all while bridging the gap in mentorship for the next generation of female history makers. The event was held in Raleigh, North Carolina at the North Hills Renaissance Hotel.
When asked what was the inspiration behind this event, Autumn Joi stated,
“I remember how insecure I was as a preteen, and never really knew how to except me for me and love what God gave me. I would listen to the radio and always wonder what the women behind the mic looked like and how they got into radio. I created Radio Run: “Chasing Your Dreams” to literally show these bright minds how to chase their dreams and to bridge the gap for these foster girls and allow them the opportunity to hear from women in both the radio and television industry.”
This phenomenal event was kicked off by giving the girls a true Hollywood experience as they got to walk the pink carpet and get their pictures taken by the paparazzi pit. They were seated at table settings fit for queens and entertained with musical sounds by the incredible, DJ Wade Banner.
The girls were excited to be mentored first hand by some of the female voices of Urban One that they hear every day on the radio, and faces they see daily delivering the news on television for WRAL. Autumn Joi even took it a step further and provided the girls with the ultimate surprise! The next pop star and hip hop sensation, Jayla Marie! The girls went wild and cameras were flashing as she inspired the girls and gave them words of encouragement.
I got to ask Jayla a few questions on the carpet and here’s what she shared about her influences.
When did you fall in love with hip hop?
From the moment I learned how to walk maybe even smaller (laughs) I grew up listening to Biggie, HoV, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Missy, the list goes on and on. It’s crazy because the first song I remixed was “If I Ruled The World” by Nas and it received such amazing feedback. Nas himself watched the video, reposted it and told me that I did rule world, that was an epic day.
What advice do you have for ladies in the room who are wanting to pursue their dreams like you?
Work hard, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and NEVER GIVE UP!
After a successful event and a room full of girls whose lives were forever changed from this experience, that included words of empowerment and affirmation from each panelist, a decadent desert bar, a fun photo booth, swag bags and a finale dance off, I wanted to learn more about its creator and her journey in radio.
Has radio always been the dream?
Yes! I used to record songs from the radio on my tape recorder and talk over the DJ pretending to be on the radio. I wish I could find those tapes today (laughs)
What inspired you to chase your dreams in media?
I’ve always had the gift of gab; I just never knew how to hone it until college. I got my first internship when I was 20 at WPGC and from the first day I cracked the mic, radio was where I knew I belonged.
Who was your earliest media influence?
Donnie Simpson! He’s old school radio so a lot of millennials won’t know him but he was the first person to give me my “big break” by allowing me to intern for him at WPGC!
What advice do you have for the next generation of women in media?
Research and know your facts! Being well rounded and well versed always makes for a great interview.
How are you feeling after seeing your vision unfold?
Guiding young girls and showing them how to chase their dreams has always been a dream of mine so when the opportunity to help foster care girls came about, I immediately jumped at the chance! Radio Run was just a vision I had and once I shared my vision with like-minded people, it grew wins quickly! I never in a million years thought Radio Run would be as successful as it was! The love and energy in the room was so amazing and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
If nothing else, what do you want these girls to walk away with?
Self-love and the notion that they are beautiful just the way they are!
Featured Image: Ally the Pub – 92.7 The Block, Karen Clark – Foxy 107/104.3, Danni Starr 93.9 WKYS, Autumn Joi – K97.5, Lena Tillet – WRAL/Fox50