It's not a ladder we're climbing; it's literature we're producing ... We cannot possibly leave it to history as a discipline nor to sociology nor science nor economics to tell the story of our people.” --Nikki Giovanni
Truth tellers have staying power. Whether eliciting “amen corner” approval from personal testimonies or using jazz chords and live sets as conduits of liberation, Khia Stone’s do-right women strut mixes new school sass with southern grandma values.
A self professed old soul, the poet, activist, educator, columnist, and author, even blessed her own nuptials to her loving husband, Gustave Harrison with verses peppered by her distinct New Orleans drawl. Performances like her special day have built a devoted base of supporters over a nearly two-decade career.
Stone gained acclaim dispensing weekly anecdotes, via her popular columns “Wednesday Wisdom” and “Friday Love.” The modern day griot’s body of work espouses spiritual grounding, emotional vitality, and self-reliance. Though her columns began as series of cathartic emails to a small group of friends, they hurriedly morphed into cross-generational anthems for sista girls, aunties, fathers, and hip hop heads seeking practical advice sans the high gloss judgment of mainstream media.
This everyday appeal led to Stone founding her own imprint Pebbles Publishing to unleash a generation of writers drowned out by pop culture, politics, and defensive postures of some elders. Anchored in the spirit of the African Diaspora, Pebbles Publishing is not only about bridging generational gaps, but building a bridge so that a collective legacy lives on in print. Poetic offerings Meditate On These Things (2010) and Mediate on These Things Too (2013), and Lithos, a photography based greeting card line, formed the anchor of Pebbles Publishing. Say Word!, a t-shirt line geared for wordsmiths, pushed the young entrepreneur into the fashion world.
A feisty example of courage under duress, the New Orleans native was jarred from her 9-5 and forced to confront one of life’s most persistent dilemmas, passion or a paycheck. Katrina and its life altering consequences would serve as the vehicle for her little engine that could, WordPlay. The arts and education company designs elementary, middle, and high school curriculums centered around writing, creative expression, and positive self-concept. The respected scholar boasts a MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, where she was named valedictorian.
Beyond the acclaim and frivolous titles that attempt to confine her genius, Stone remains an accessible leader, wife, mother of two daughters, Gianna and Jai’ Lynn, and a fierce defender of love, peace, and happiness at all costs.
Photographer: Demtu Photography
Bio: Edward Garnes