As the president and CEO of Black-Smith Enterprises, Janaya Black is a woman of many talents. A passionate writer at heart, Janaya self-published her first fiction novel, The Breaking Point, in 2004, followed by As Told By the Other Woman in 2006. The third and final installment of the “Prison Chronicles” series Beautiful Rage: The Break of Dawn was published later in 2010.
It was actually the release of her first book that sparked Janaya’s love for film making. After teaming up with her husband to create a trailer for The Breaking Point, she then went on to write, direct and produce four more short films as well as her first full-length picture, Till Death. . . , which was released at the end of 2008. You also might remember her as one of the producers from the independent movie, Why Do Men Cheat?
In this edition of 16dreams find out which book has influenced Janaya the most throughout her career, as well as what she loves most about turning her ideas into films.
16dreams: What year did you turn 16?
16dreams: What high school did you go to?
Janaya: John Glenn (Westland, MI).
16dreams: Describe “16-year-old you” in 6 words or less.
Janaya: Outgoing, curious, smart, independent and square.
16dreams: How did you celebrate your Sweet 16?
Janaya: My parents threw me a surprise sweet 16 party.
16dreams: Do you ever miss being 16?
Janaya: Sometimes. I remember 16 as being a very happy time in my life but I’ve always been a person who loved having freedom so I enjoy that about adulthood.
16dreams: Your daughter also wrote a book about being bullied called The Lonely Kid. Were you ever bullied? How did you get through it?
Janaya: I remember being bullied in 7th grade and then encountering that same bully again in high school. What helped me through that situation was a friend who stood by me and encouraged me to tell and the situation was immediately addressed.
16dreams: Has anyone ever tried to talk you out of doing what you love? What made you stay on course?
Janaya: I can honestly say that I’ve never had anyone try to talk me out of doing what I love. I have been blessed with a husband and family who has always been very supportive of the things I’ve wanted to pursue.
The thing that has made me stay the course in the midst of different hardships that have come up is understanding that nothing worth having is ever going to be easy to obtain. My mother raised me to always believe that I could do anything that I put my mind to.
16dreams: What book or author has influenced you the most?
Janaya: The Bible is the book that has influenced me the most. Over the past few years, I have developed a greater desire for studying God’s word and learning more about His purpose for my life and learning to live by those principals.
16dreams: In addition to being an author, you’re also a producer. What is your favorite part of the film making process?
Janaya: I love the whole creative process that goes into making a movie. As a writer the whole process of watching my thoughts on paper come to life on screen is an amazing process.
16dreams: What advice would you give to readers who are approaching 16? Do you have any advice you would like to give to their parents?
Janaya: The advice I would give to readers approaching 16 would be: Never fear your greatness and embrace your potential. All too often young people stifle their potential because they’re too busy trying to “fit in” with their peers, or they avoid trying new things because they fear failure. Or even worse – they fear they will succeed and more will be expected of them.
For parents, my advice would be to learn how to communicate with your kids. That means taking an interest in what’s going on in their lives and learning how to listen to what they say . . . And what they don’t say. And above all, don’t be afraid to be the parent.
When Janaya isn’t busy writing books or making movies, you can find her with her husband and two children, playing sports and reading, of course. Aside from running her own media enterprise, Janaya is also a managing partner and founder of the Trinity Film Coalition, a Michigan-based film organization dedicated to the advancement of independent film. Every year, Trinity Film Coalition gives independent filmmakers from around the world an opportunity to showcase independent films through their annual Film Festival.
All my movie-lovers be sure to check out the trailer for her newest project, My Sister’s Keeper. And For all my aspiring directors, actors, authors, and screenwriters, I encourage you connect with Janaya on Facebook or Twitter @janayablack. You can also visit her official website, www.black-smithenterprises.com.