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Ayana Bean

Shronda Armstrong

Dec 3, 2021

BET "AMERICAN GANGSTER: TRAP QUEENS Season 1 | Best Selling Author |
Advocate | Empowerment Speaker

First off, I want to thank you so much for being a part of an amazing milestone for the Geaux Queen Platform and our brand podcast, The Q-Chat! Our podcast interview was published September 12, 2021 and has received over 16K views and counting! I am so honored to reconnect with you again for our first media publication. How does it feel to say goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022? With the release of your book “A Day In the Life”, did you accomplish everything you set out to do over the past year?

Thank you so much for sharing your platform with me and I’m so excited that the numbers on it keep rising!! It’s amazing. Yes, goodbye 2021 but not without saying how wonderful 2021 was to me. It was the stepping stone to greater things for 2022. Wow, “A Year and A Day” finally done and out! A Best Seller! I still can’t even believe it. So grateful to all the support I have received since starting this journey and I’m so happy it's finally released. I did accomplish everything I set out to do over the past year and am very proud of my procrastinating self.

I first became familiar with you during your interview on The Breakfast Club. You have always been very transparent with your story of incarceration and redemption as a testimony to save others. You have a powerful story and I can only imagine that it has not always been an easy choice to share your narrative. Since your appearance on the BET series, “American Gangster: Trap Queens”, how has your life changed?

I still can’t believe I was even on the Breakfast Club! Everything has been so surreal. I won’t say life for me in itself has changed so much as Ayana has. Or that I have changed back into the focused person I once was. To be clear, during my prison sentence I became depressed and lost hope of anything further in life. I accepted that this is just it. I’m a convicted felon, I will have a low paying job and just exist. I no longer had that drive and light in me anymore. Pretty much gave up on myself. After doing the American Gangster: Trap Queens series, I realized that I had more work to do for myself and others like me. No matter what, I must continue to show my strength through these times and give inspiration to someone else that may have felt the same way I did. Show them there is more and God isn’t done with you yet.

Do you find that the more you share your story, the more you grow in confidence? Has sharing your story been another form of healing for you?

Absolutely, I am so confident, I’m no longer ashamed or embarrassed of the bad decisions I made. Writing the book was a healing process, it was more therapy than I ever received. I put it out there and now I can put it behind my strength and be thankful of the lessons I learned from it. There was a time I would be afraid to complete job applications afraid of answering the question of “have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Not anymore these days I say I am a convicted felon and I own it.

I know during our previous interview, you discussed how you had certain reservations in sharing your story. I know that being so transparent can be a heavy burden. Did you ever have any second thoughts or regrets about sharing your life story with the world?

Yes, I did have big doubts about being so transparent and sharing all my business because I read the negative comments and maybe I should have kept quiet. Then I told myself no, I won’t be quiet, I can’t be quiet. This is who I am. This is what I have done. Living is what I will do, and I will do that in truth and power.

Another chapter of your life, no pun intended, that you have talked about was evolving from little Ayana to the woman you are today. What have been some of the biggest challenges for you to overcome in order to find your purpose and peace in life?

Funny you say that. It’s one thing to say you're a grown woman but it's another thing to be a grown woman. Can’t be so grown if you haven’t grown. There was a lot of growing I had to do and still doing as I learn more about myself. That is very challenging. I was holding onto many traumas that didn’t allow me to grow. I can say that I follow what God has laid out for me and completing the book A Year And A Day was a step in the right direction of coming to terms with my own traumas. I had to heal little Ayana so that she could be free to be grown.

As a continuation of my previous question, to contrast the challenges you have faced, can you spotlight some of the major highs you have experienced throughout your journey?

A major high for me is completing the book, speaking my truth to others, being transparent, being ok with not covering up the bad. Learning to do that has been so major for me.

It seems like you have formed a sisterhood with some of the women who were also featured on BET’s “American Gangster: Trap Queens.” How has it been to form a bond with other women who have had similar unique experiences? Can you also tell us more about the Clubhouse room you ladies have created?

I have so many new sisters now! I love them. It’s nothing like having a sisterhood with women who get who you are because they have walked the same paths. There is no judgment with us. They tell it like it is and give me a straight game of life. Jemeker Hairston “Queen Pin” who has been praying for me before we even met, she has mentored me and guides me. I affectionately call her The Queen Mother.

I’m like the little sister of the bunch. We started with getting on Club House to promote our up and coming businesses “Big Fifty”, Ms. Tee, K. Goody, Aisha Hall and Dwen. Then we realized you know what, let's add more value to this. We are Trap Queens right? People want to know how to get money to survive the right way. What we do is have a guest speaker each Wednesday at 9pm est. time comes in and teaches us legal ways to earn more income by becoming financially literate. We were blessed to have Dr. Shalair Armstrong who was just featured in Wall Street Journal for her group Black Bitcoin Billionaires teaching us about crypto currency and equity in the cannabis business. It’s growing and we are loving it. We have learned to increase personal/business credit scores, and just this week our guest Angelia taught us about buying gold and silver commodities. So check us out on Club House we are the Trap Queens still Trapp’n but legally. I love my sisters.

Another fascinating chapter of your journey is how you have developed a non-profit. Again, I know how important it is for you to help other young women avoid some of the pitfalls that many of us older women have fallen into because we just weren’t aware of ourselves and lacked self-love. Can you tell us more about your non-profit?

This is so special to me. I created a nonprofit called A Year and A Day Foundation. I’m at the ground level building up and the ultimate goal is to have solid transitional housing for women returning home from prison. Not just your typical transitional house but this is where the women will be able to transform their lives. Over 50% of women returning from prison become homeless. Often this happens because they go back to an abusive relationship, substance abuse, or illegal ways to survive. The factors are many and we can make a difference by supporting them. That's what I will do.

You have come a long way and evolved into such a strong force. It is also very admirable how you have not only overcome your past, but you have shared your story in spite of how hard it may have been.

In order to be a vessel for others, it is important to embrace your flaws and all but also forgive yourself as well. How has self-forgiveness been for you? In addition, how has self-love played a role in your evolution as a woman?

I’m still working on it. Guilt takes some time to go away but I have comfort with acknowledging it. I want to truly forgive myself and others, I want to fully move forward and it's taking some time. Self-love is also hard for me to do completely and this is all part of growing and leaving traumas behind. It’s more than do I think I look pretty today or I love these shoes on me, It's hey girl look at you! Smiling bright, walking straight and confident, nothing in your way because you are the one for you. I'm still working on it still and trusting the process.

As we leave 2021 behind, some people prefer to start their New Years with resolutions, goals or plans to achieve new desires. You ended the year with the launch of your amazing book. As we enter 2022, what can we expect from you?

You can expect to see me keep going. Nothing can push me off this journey of redemption. God is driving this car, I'm just a passenger that will sit and be patient. He knows where he’s taking me and that's the place I want to go.---------Shronda Armstrong (c) 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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