PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER “GOODKNEWS” CARDWELL
Rochester Woman Online introduced you to new writer, Yolanda Smilez in January with the Launch of “Something for the Sistas”. Yolanda hopes through reading her column, you too, can find your smile as she has after facing so many trials and tribulations in life. Yolanda is a local comedian, the co-founder of Ms. Kurvie Pageant system, CEO of the Roc Awards, CEO of Smilez Entertainment and an up-and-coming author.
She does it all. What is most amazing about Yolanda is her resiliency. The ability to get back up after life knocks you down. In addition to all of the awesome things Yolanda accomplished, she is a high-school dropout. She failed her GED test the first time she attempted it. She was a teen-aged mom. She lost one of her children to SIDS and lost her home in a fire. She somehow managed to keep going and became a woman of success and she wants you to know that you can too. Yolanda hopes by sharing her story she can give women the strength to overcome their difficulties and misfortune. Most importantly, that “You can find your smile again”.
Yolanda’s child died of SIDS at 9 months old. Yolanda indicates her faith in God and that she was still a mother got her through this tragedy. Yolanda knew she could not throw in the towel because she still had to care for her oldest child, Tahlia. It’s easy to give up, but you have eyes watching you. You are still responsible for your remaining children. Life can’t end there.
Yolanda offers the following piece of advice for any mothers experiencing the loss of a child by saying, “I know, it’s a pain that never goes away. It’s a hole that will never be refilled. You must continue to live the life God gave you. Most of all, you will smile again, no matter what you’ve been through. You will smile again”.
Yolanda loves entertainment. She loves attending live music shows, movies and hanging with her family. You can stay in the house or you can live. The choice is yours. Living exposes you to interesting events, meeting new people and enjoying your life. The choice is always yours.
One of Yolanda’s most prized accomplishments is founding the ROC Awards. The ROC Awards is a local platform to celebrate Rochester accomplishments. The annual event seeks nominations and then the voting begins. Categories include “best barber, best model, best DJ, best designer, etc.” There was some controversary surrounding the event, but when isn’t there? You can’t make all people happy all of the time.
Yolanda says, “I keep doing the ROC Awards because there is a community of people who believe and appreciate this platform. The heartfelt testimony, the comments of how people say they will do better, the tears on the faces, the cheers from the audience, and I can go on-and-on. We also create jobs for the youth. I love the flow of the production. The speeches were amazing. Let’s not forget the amazing performances. It is definitely a diverse production. Our host Racqui B was awesome. She brought entertainment, fun, and sexy but remained professional. I believe in pouring back into the community because it gives others hope to be great and to pursue their dreams. It also lets them know there is someone who cares”.
Yolanda is also an author. Her first novel is entitled “Big Momma Is the True Trap Queen”. The novel details the life of a church woman who also sells drugs. The drug business is a family business. The Black Mafia. Yolanda is currently working on part two of her novel series. Be on the look out for that!
Yolanda is also a professional local comedian. She does several shows monthly in Rochester. Make sure you catch one of her upcoming gigs. Never forget, you can always find your smile again!