There are those that crumble under pressure, and then there are people like Jayaira Grhim that turn tragedies into triumphs.
In just a little more than a decade, the 23-year author, poet and visual artist has overcome more obstacles than many of her peers, and found her own unique way to utilize her story to catapult others going through their own challenges in life, releasing two poetry books, entitled Painfully Beautiful in 2014 and Dirty Diamonds in 2015.
“It feels kind of surreal because I never saw myself here with two books and everything. I can’t believe that I am where I am today. And to have people say that I’m inspiring is a great feeling, but it’s also humbling,” she said.
The Youngstown-native says she began writing as a means to escape the harsh realities of drug addiction and violence growing up in the projects of Campbell, Ohio, She developed and honed her skills 4 years ago, but never considered herself a spoken word artist.
“I [was] always a writer but it wasn’t really poetry. I started writing from pain,” she said.
In her books, she combines the same vulnerable grit that she uses to captivate her audiences while on stage. Her words are unapologetic, yet honest—something she asserts surprised some of her readers.
“A lot of people were kind of shocked when they sat down and read my books,” she explains.
The outspoken artist has continued to blossom since the early days of her writing, releasing a mix tape, “Raw but Real” and performing across the country such as, but not limited to the Apache Café in Atlanta and True Voices in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been featured as a RAW artist in Cleveland, Ohio, won first place in Warren Ohio’s African Festival, second place in Youngstown Ohio’s All City Variety Show and performed alongside Christian Poet, Karness Turner in Kentucky’s Amplified event.
In addition to spoken word, Ghrim recently launched Artistic Genius Arts—an artistry business, where she sells her own original hand-made acrylic and oil artwork, which has received national attention and support, including singer/songwriter and actress Fantasia Barrino.
For more information, visit jayairagrhim.com, follow her on Instagram at @_agarts, and facebook.com/jayaira.grhim.