F. A. Q.  for Scriptures for Strippers addressed in Radio Interview 

Many of you have seen the video of the radio interview shot earlier this year of Sayuri Smith on the G. Wade Radio Show. 

This show has garnered lots of feedback and explained lots of what this book is, why it was written and how Scriptures For Strippers came to be. This labor of love is the first and only devotional to the Holy Bible for women who work as exotic dancers. 

Get your copy of Scriptures For Strippers on http://www.Amazon.com or http://www.ScripturesForStrippers.com. Please don’t be confused by the dual cover.  There are two different covers.  One is for the bookstores and the other cover is more discreet, featuring the Scriptures for Strippers logo. 

Check out the live radio show recorded April 2017 on YouTube. Please like and share! 

https://youtu.be/6ReO9E77qms

The Bridge KickBack: An Organic Authentic Worship Experience Outside the Four Walls of Traditional Church

On my journey to experiencing God through fellowship with His people, I have come to learn about different Bible studies, church services and events with the purpose of drawing people nearer to our Creator. My calendar is full of prayer calls that happen over the phone, evening Bible studies and the different times church services start for Sunday morning service.

There are recurring events that happen every other week or monthly that I plan to go to but I sometimes lose track of time or get the event days mixed up. This was certainly the case with the catching up with The Bridge KickBack, a millenial-led church service that takes place at Nancy’s Pizza in Atlanta, Georgia every other Monday at 7 pm.

I discovered this service after first falling in love with the gospel trap music artist named Glo and his album, “Trapping Out the Church”. I absolutely loved every song I heard (and added to my Lit for the Lord playlist on YouTube) but my favorites are “On the Water” and “By the Twos”. I had to post part of a song on my instagram page and found GLO to tag him. I was excited to learn that he lived in metro Atlanta and actually did a song, “Worship for The Hood”, that shouted out my old neighbor in Riverdale, GA. After doing a little bit more investigating, I saw that he was a part of a movement called The Bridge KickBack where young people gathered together to have praise and worship and uplifting words about Jesus Christ after playing some fun games and having some gut busting laughs.

Last week, they also had a very unique online event called the Unapologetically Me Conference that included panel discussions, testimonies and inspiration from different people from various races, backgrounds and lifestyles. They discussed your identity in Christ and image versus reality among other things starting on Instagram and leading to Youtube for the full video. I was blessed by this insight and appreciated the testimonies shared! This made me vigilant about keeping up with and catching the date for the next bi-weekly event so I can finally experience this event in person.

My youngest sister is a bonafide millenial and I immediately thought of her when I saw the clips of people talking about their experiences with the Holy Spirit during this unadulterated, unique encounter with God. I was excited to plan to go to this event with her. My children came as well. My daughter enjoyed dancing to the familiar gospel trap music and my son dominated the Connect 4 table. We also enjoyed some authentic, delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizza that didn’t break the bank!

I was beyond excited to experience the spirit-filled altar call where the ladies gathered and were encouraged to embrace, pray with or intercede for each other. There was a real sense of sisterhood and family in the room as we all lifted up the name of our Lord together. I was on mommy duty with my baby girl but God still afforded me an opportunity to pray with a lady in the back of the room. She was eventually encouraged enough to go to the front of the room and join the altar call.

There was a round table discussion and a panel discussion on different spiritual topics like insecurity and identity in God. I was amazed at how the Holy Spirit came in as we Milly Wopped and did the Running Man for the Lord. I am not easily impressed but my expectations were definitely exceeded as I didn’t expect the move of God to be so strong. I listen to gospel rap a lot but I now know that the Holy Spirit will visit any place where it is welcome. I love praising, worshipping, glorifying and loving on the Lord and it felt good to be in the company of so many people who were on the same accord. There was no judgment, negative vibes or quenched spirit in this place…Praise God! I totally recommend this event to anyone who wants to invite someone to church but know they won’t show up to an actual church building. It is clearly an awesome alternative to Bible study that will keep you engaged, entertained and energized! I am grateful that the folks at The Bridge KickBack for allow themselves to be a great representative of what the church should be, people who bring God WHEREVER they go and are unapologetic as they do it!

This is a blurry picture but I was excited to take this selfie with my favorite local gospel trap artist, GLO! I had an absolute blast at The Bridge Kickback! I look forward to the next event and invite anyone in Atlanta who would love to experience the spirit of God OUTSIDE the 4 walls of church. Be sure sure to check out my homeboy and brother in Christ, GLO. Follow him on Instagram @Gloman1. Make sure you stay tuned to find out about the next event by following @TheBridgeKickback at Nancy’s Chicago Pizza located at 265 Ponce De Leon Ave NE A, Atlanta, GA 30308. Hope to see you soon! Follow me on @SayuriSmith to learn about unique positive events in Atlanta and beyond! Be Blessed!

All Rights Reserved ©Sayuri Smith LLC.

What Every Dancer can Learn from Micheal Jackson: Searching for Neverland

As a woman who has transitioned out of adult entertainment, I understood why Michael walked around with his face covered and was so soft spoken while of the stage. I like Michael Jackson’s music but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan because I wouldn’t scream, cry or attempt to touch him if I ever saw him. We have so much in common as entertainers, it was mandatory for me to write a review of Searching for Neverland, as this film confirmed my initial comparison. At one of my lowest points, I would wear a ski mask (even in the summer) when I left the house. I always thought of Michael Jackson when I got the curious stares and even the comments. 

The movie is told from the point of view of the man in charge of keeping Michael Jackson and his children safe as his bodyguard. He was being questioned about how the King of Pop died. As he sat in the hot seat answering questions, I began to think of my own experiences as an entertainer. As a transition coach to women who are attempting to transition out of adult entertainment lifestyle, I saw this movie with empathetic eyes. I understand there are very few people who are close to you and your ability to trust people becomes more and more tainted with each disappointment in friendship or even business relationship. Michael was a single parent to 3 children whom he seemed to love very much. He would go on lavish shopping sprees and shut stores down. He was protective of his children and loved to see them smile. 

He had not done a show in a few years and his agent and others were attempting to apply pressure to him to sign papers that would require him to do another show. He dreaded going back up on stage because of what it costed him. Michael definately gave his all during his performances and he was well aware that his age and stamina is not what it used to be. But with the bills piling up, the pressure for him to perform again sent him into a downward spiral of depression and feeling trapped. His reputation had suffered tremendously from the scandal at his old home, Neverland, which accused him of molesting a young boy.

As I watched Neverland, I began to reflect on how my relationship with my love of dance and newly discovered outlet (the strip club) began to deteriorate. Michael had a heart for people; especially children. I believe this was his way of mourning the loss of his own childhood, the one irreplaceable thing that the music industry took from him. As a dancer, turned stripper, I felt Michael’s pain. To turn someone’s absolute love for something against them is cruel, confusing, depressing and degrading. My reputation as an exotic dancer made me feel like a laughing stock and an outcast. I was stereotyped when people did learn of what I did for a living but I was nothing like how they thought. I began to hate people. All people. Because of the disdain people felt about my occupation, I began to be uncomfortable with myself and hated to socialize. I became a recluse and only left the house to work, under the cover of darkness.

The loneliness Michael Jackson lived through was like a loud ringing silence. Through the shopping sprees and grand homes were not enough for people to come around. The hate mail kept rolling in and made him even more isolated. He wasn’t getting any sleep and drank lots of wine. His phone never rang with someone calling to chat or check on him and the kids. I remembered sitting in the house like a hermit, hoping someone would call me. Then I thought of how I didn’t really want to talk. I just wanted someone to care. My mom and sisters would call me some time but I was never free to talk to them about my nights at the club. I was trapped in my own life. I didn’t fit anywhere. I loved dancing but hated interacting with people who assumed they could say certain things to me (without me being offended). I hated how people always wanted more and more of me. I hated how I felt when I had to find a nice way to turn down a disrespectful proposal. I worked very hard a few times a month so I wouldn’t have to keep going to that dreadful place.

My love for dance never died but my anxiety over the stress of working in this environment where I was constantly propositioned for prostitution and I could feel my innocence being stripped away became too much for a 20-yr-old young woman to handle. The irony to the way I was feeling about my newfound life was, financially speaking, the lifestyle was very easy to live. I did not worry about bills or money. One of the hardest things about transitioning for me was to adjust my spending habits and getting on a good sleep schedule. Michael triggered me a few times in the film but nothing got to me as much as when he became upset about being presented with the paperwork that would lock him in a contract to put on another show. He agreed but name it the “This Is It!” tour. In the movie, there came a time when months went by without him paying the security men because Michael could not afford to pay. But they still came to work each day because they realized that Michael had NO ONE but his children and the nanny.

Everytime I had to go back inside the club to earn a living, I would declare the same thing. “This is IT! I’m not getting another permit for another club after this!” (Dancers have to purchase permits to work as strippers that last for 1 year) But the anxiety and depression I endured hurt me so bad when I had to go to work due to lack of funds. The mental strain was unbearable; not to mention the pain I knew I would suffer after dancing my heart out each night. At 12 years old, I was diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. I had to live with this debilitating pain 24/7. Compounding this with the sore muscles I knew were coming from the 8-hour aerobics in 6 inch stillettos was like a death sentence. Dread does not even begin to describe how I felt about going back into the club.

When it was announced that Michael was in the hospital in the movie, I totally broke down. I remember the feeling of being trapped between the strip club and mainstream society. Micheal had a total meltdown once he understood that it was necessary and mandatory for him to perform. He was planning to purchase a new home and be free from the contracts that owned him. When he died, I cried like I was at a funeral. His decision to die instead of performing was the most triggering thing for me. I’m not sure I believe a doctor killed him but I am sure that the entertainment industry will consume you. Making a transition out of the lifestyle is hard enough but I could not imagine it being compounded with the flashing lights of the cameras brought on by worldwide fame and the inability to be a human being. I hope people can learn that even famous people are actual people with hearts, minds and feelings too. Rest In Heaven, Michael Jackson. We love and miss you.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED SAYURI SMITH