Intimate Conversation with Jamila T. Davis

Jamila T. Davis, author of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series is a self-help expert, motivational speaker and a women's prison reform activist, who is currently a federal inmate. At age 25, she was a multimillionaire, high-flying real estate investor with ties to the hip-hop world. At age 31, she was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for her role in a multimillion-dollar bank fraud scheme. While imprisoned, Davis has helped to change the lives of many through her inspirational books and cautionary tales based on her real-life experiences. For more information on Jamila T. Davis and to check out her latest memoir The High Price I Had To Pay visit or
BPM:   Introduce us to your book, She's All Caught Up and tell us what makes it unique. 
Hello, my name is Jamila T. Davis. I am the author of She's All Caught Up, which is a memoir about my childhood. My book is a cautionary tale that exemplifies the early influences in my life, which ultimately swayed my thinking and turned me into a die-hard "money-chaser." Unlike typical urban books that glorify street life through a fictional character, my story is told from a true perspective. And, most importantly, it reveals the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane.

Here is the official introduction we are using to promote the book:  She's All Caught Up is a real-life cautionary tale that exemplifies the powerful negative influences that affect today's youth and the consequences that arise from poor choices. Young Jamila grew up in a loving middle class home, raised by two hardworking parents, the Davises, in the suburbs of Jamaica Queens, New York. Determined to afford their children with the luxuries that they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children's success.

At first it seemed as though their formula worked. Young Jamila maintained straight As and became her parents ideal "star child," as she graced the stage of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in dance recitals and toured the country in a leading role in an off-Broadway play. All was copacetic in the Davis household until high school years when Jamila met her first love Craig- a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside housing projects of Jamaica Queens.

As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents' tight reins, the Davises wage an "all-out" battle to save their only daughter whom they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by the thorn of materialism, she lusts after independence, power and notoriety, and she chooses life in the fast last to claim them.  When this good girl goes bad, it seems there is no turning back!   Follow author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series in her blazing memoir, She's All Caught Up!

BPM:   If you had to describe your book in one word, what would you call it? Why?
I would call my book a mirror, because it was written to cause readers to go within and reflect. At least one experience of Young Jamila will cause readers to relate to her struggles, regardless of their background, color or creed. I didn't hold back any of the truth of the events that occurred. I shared my strengths with my audience, as well as my weaknesses. I exposed the inner turmoil that kept me chasing inner fulfillment. My book reveals my dark secrets and my insecurities. I believe the pureness of my story, and its common similarities to the experiences of other females, will cause readers to reflect and explore their own characteristics, past influences and choices.

BPM:   Tell us a little about your life and your upbringing. 
I grew up in Jamaica, Queens- New York, in a middle class home. I was raised by both my parents, who were hard workers that migrated from the South. They overcame the barriers of poverty and racism and made a good life for themselves. Because they lacked certain opportunities growing up, they were determined to provide my brother and myself with the opportunities that they didn't have. I guess you could say my mother was like a stage mom. She had me enrolled in every activity you could think of from singing, dancing, and acting, to swimming, judo and tennis. She was determined that her kids would be well-rounded and successful. She raised me to have a ton of drive and ambition, because every day she had something different planned for us to do.

All was well in my household until high school years when I rebelled. I was introduced to the hood by my first boyfriend, a well known drug dealer, and that was all she wrote! I was hooked into life in the fast lane. I guess you could say, overnight I turned into the ultimate hustler. Instead of pursuing the plans that my parents had established for me, I choose to live a ghetto fabulous lifestyle. That's how I got caught up.

BPM:    Tell us why many people refer to you as a "get-money" chick? 
I grew up around many of my friends who became successful rappers, music industry executives, and just plain die hard hustlers. During my era street-life was glorified. I was mesmerized by this lifestyle and became determined to get a piece of the pie. I always had a knack for business, so it was easy to jump in the game. When I got my first taste of money and I saw the notoriety that it brought me, I fell in love with money. My passion caused me to quickly flourish, so I did a lot in a short period of time. By the time I was 25 years old, I was a multimillionaire and a lead financial go-to-person in the hip-hop music industry. 

Seeking after the accolades of my peers, I hung out with gangsters, rap stars and professional sports figures. I drove fancy cars, rocked all the latest fashions, and I had a blinged out jewelry collection that would put a seasoned, materialistic, rapper to shame. I became driven by material gain. If a new car came out, I had to be the one amongst all my peers to have it first. I drove a Maybach way before Rick Ross was ever a rapper. When I came through, I made it my business to turn heads. Besides the fact, I was a female doing big things. That was rare, so I stood out. My insatiable drive kept me shooting for the stars. That's how I became referred to as a "get-money" chick.

BPM:    How did She's All Caught Up come about? 
On July 16, 2008, I was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for my role in a 30 million dollar bank fraud scheme. Stripped of my notoriety and the external props that I used to cover my insecurities, I was left depressed and hopeless. With my back up against the wall, I had to do some serious soul searching to find my true "self." The question that kept repeating in my mind was: How did I get here?

As I examined my life, I begin to write my life story. That's how I started my healing process. Writing down my experiences helped me to pinpoint all the influences that swayed my way of thinking. This process also helped me to remove the mask of fake self-esteem that I hid behind for years, discover the beauty of my true "self," and dethrone the negative thinking patterns that I unconsciously picked up from others. My writing helped me to clearly see that I shared the same dilemmas as many other women. I wanted desperately to be loved and accepted. It was this strong desire that led me on a never ending chase, seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. The chase caused me to make several poor choices that I would later regret.

A couple of years ago, I joined this public speaking group called C.H.O.I.C.E.S, at the prison where I am housed at. We go out into the community and speak to "at-risk" youth about the bad choices we made that led to our imprisonment. I recognized the power of my story after seeing the reaction it had on youth in the community. At the end of the engagements, teens would come up to me and tell me how they could relate to my story. They also expressed that they would take heed to my message and deter from crime. Some of them even had tears in their eyes. Watching their expressions enabled me to see that my story had the ability to change lives. This caused me to go back to the drawing table and reframe She's All Caught Up as a cautionary tale, pinpointing the bad choices I made and how they ultimately affected me.

BPM:   Does your faith or education inspire your writing? 
Yes my faith and my "street" education inspires my writing. After living the high-life and hitting rock bottom, I had to find a place of refuge. I gained inner peace from studying the Bible and spending time with God. Locked behind bars, I quickly realized that all the things I was chasing after weren't all they were cracked up to be. In prison, I was abandoned by many of the very people who I tried so hard to please.

Through my personal experiences, I got a real serious education, learning life’s lessons about people. With the help of my family and a few friends, I was able to document the road map that that I used to obtain emotional healing and restoration, in prison, and I created the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series. It is a three book, nondenominational, faith-based book series geared to empower incarcerated women to heal, recognize their potential and recapture their dreams ( Imprisoned women across the country have said my books have been essential in helping them heal and develop the faith they need to successfully transition back into society.

The Bible is the main source I utilize to gain wisdom and knowledge. It teaches that all sin comes with consequences, whether immediately or in the future. Ultimately, we reap what we sow. I share this message with my readers in hope that they won’t take the same route that I once took.

I believe God is using me in this season to be a vessel to educate and to enlighten His people to the severe consequences of living life in the fast lane. I pray that my book will be an instrument that empowers others and saves lives. I hope that by reading about my life and the ultimate result of my poor choices- imprisonment, my readers will avoid crime at all costs!  Prison life isn't fun or easy! Although movies and music videos often glorify the life of men in prison, I assure you there is nothing cool about being locked behind bars. What I experience from day-to-day is real and very painful, especially as a woman who is a single mother of two children. It is very important to me to get that point across to my audience!

BPM:   What legacy does your writing offer to future readers? 
I believe future readers will be enlightened to African American culture during my era. This is very important because it is a part of our history. Through my story, future readers will be able to go back in time and see the customs, practices and influences of the early hip-hop generation. At the same time, they will recognize that even though times have changed life lessons and experiences remain the same. Therefore, I believe future readers will learn the same valuable lessons gained by today's readers in many years to come!

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The High Price I Had To Pay by Jamila T. Davis

Nonfiction Book » Biography » Political biography
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