Life starts to hit you when it’s your senior year. All of a sudden, you realize that you’re a few months away from adulting. We laugh about how adulting is “ghetto” and how we “10/10 wouldn’t recommend” but, if we’re fortunate enough to stay living on this earth, we’ll all hit this phase of our lives. The twenties are a rough time in general. You trying to discover yourself and, align the way, you’re achieving so many accolades. You might be the man or the woman on your campus. Maybe you just popped out at your probate or got a well needed student election win. But, once you walk across that stage, the real world hits. College gives us memories, experience and ways to build our resume but you need more to succeed in life. I understood this 100%.
Entering my senior year, I knew that I wanted to take the world by storm. My success wasn’t overnight. I started my journey in 2010 when I was in 7th grade writing my short story “A True Gangsta Story” that eventually turned into my book series “The Diary of Aaliyah Anderson” in 2014. Now, it was January 2019. I was 11 months away from walking across that stage. HBCU Pulse was growing as we hit 4,000 followers but I didn’t believe that it would be what put me on the path to becoming the Millennial Tom Joyner. I knew I needed to do something to get right. That’s when I booked a consultation with Jahylin McKee.
Jahylin’s tag line in the link in her bio says “CONTINUING OLIVIA POPE’S LEGACY — IRL”. You often see elements of the Scandal lead through Jahylin’s rise to succeed, even serving as a signature of her reign as Miss Savannah State University in the 2016-2017 scholastic year. However, I believe that Jaylin is just as much larger than life as Olivia Pope was during her seven session run. From her treating her Campus Queen campaign and reign as a PR job to traveling to New York City to chase her dreams as she worked at Hot 97, Jahylin’s story is that of a legend. I always knew who she was, as my SGA President at Fort Valley State University Lawrence Malloy would always talk about how she was going to be the next biggest brand in PR. After listening to an interview she did on The HBCU Podcast, I knew I had to reach out to her.
We spoke on January 14, 2019, a day after Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Founders Day (for which she is a proud member). That’s when things were put into perspective for me. In that hour and fifteen minute consultation I started to discover the direction that I wanted to go in with HBCU Pulse and my personal brand. I saw that it was possible to succeed from school such as Savannah State and Fort Valley State, as our successes aren’t as often publicized as other institutions. I knew that I wanted to work with her and be her client but, at that point, I wasn’t ready. However, I knew I was going to get my weight up so one day we’d meet again and I would be ready. That’s why my interview with her on J13 this year was such a big deal to me.
Two years is a long time. HBCU Pulse has now grown into Pulse Media, boasting several subsidiary brands alongside it such as “A Queen’s Series” and “Pulse Radio”. Jahylin, on the other hand, reached a whole other level. From placements in Vogue and on Good Morning America to doing brand work with Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment and New York Fashion Week, Jahylin is living her dream to the fullest. She’s the boss I aspire to be when the time is right. But, most importantly, she’s set a precedent that HBCU Queens should follow. The craziest part about it all is that her cement isn’t even dry yet. It’s still so much more change to come.
HBCU Queens, both outgoing and incoming, should look to Jahylin as the model for success. She used her reign to power her future career. She looked at her position as campus queen as a job and reaped all the benefits of it. She realized that her HBCU Experience was only the prologue to her story and that greater success was in front of her. She took risks and didn’t settle for the rewards that she garnered across the way. She’s still grinding and creating her empire.
I hope her story inspires other people like I’ve been. Age is nothing but a number and a being a leader isn’t a year obligation; it’s a lifelong commitment to greatness and building a legacy that inspires others.