Young, Gifted & Black Phenom
By Phenomgirl / August 6, 2018
"knowledge is the power ladies, it's okay to be beautiful and smart too."
A sleepless night, a vision and armed with tenacity has led Desiree Byfield to take the reins of responsibility to uplift and motivate African Americans by forming the platform, Young, Gifted And Black (YGB) with co-creator, Emmitt Miller. With 14K followers, the YGB Instagram page pays tribute by giving shout outs to young African American entrepreneurs. Desiree's own personal IG page shares an abundance of posts which are deep, personal and inspiring. She informs and encourages participation from her 12K followers.
Her goal is to create a culture and society where people help each other and empower themselves. In the age of social media, Desiree is also passionate about teaching and educating entrepreneurs-to-be on how to successfully find their place in the social media crowded space. Yes, she is Young, and definitely is Gifted to help those who may need a push to succeed. And she is proud to be Black!
Tell us who is Desiree Byfield is?
I'm a 25 year old native of West Palm Beach, Fl. I've been here pretty much my whole life. I'm a descendant of parents from the beautiful island of Kingston, Jamaica. I graduated from Wellington High School, then enrolled into a Community College. Lack of focus and interest resulted in me not completing my degree. I love learning but I disliked how the educational system is set up; not everyone learns the same way. I've learned a lot more from individuals I have met along my life's journey than I ever did when I was in school. But I wouldn't recommend anyone to follow in my footsteps to not obtain a college education. I did what I thought was best for me.
What have you observed about how young ladies in your age group are being portrayed in today’s society?
Ladies in my age group are actually on an awesome wave of entrepreneurship these days and I have to say I'm very inspired and excited for the future. The only thing that bothers me is that there are a few ladies who still believe in the notion that finding the right successful man to look after them is the answer. To each it's own, that was never my thing. I've dated affluent men but there was no special connection. I always wanted more and to gain success on my own. I feel proud knowing that I worked hard and my achievements are my own.
What was your motivation for starting YGB?
In 2018, I'm seeing some amazing and inspirational things done by young black millenials. But when I started YGB two years ago, I wasn't seeing enough black people being positively portrayed in the media. I was on Instagram all the time and I wanted to create something different than everyone else. One morning something woke me up at 6 am. it was like an energy or force, something I can't explain. I was unable to get back to sleep but I had these words on my mind that I couldn't shake or get rid of (Young Gifted And Black ). I just had to figure out how I was going to implement the words with the vision I had. So basically I created the Instagram platform for YGB. I then reached out to some amazing black youths locally and to more people abroad. The YGB platform pretty much built itself. People genuinely loved the vision and what it represents. So the support came naturally.
What is the purpose of YGB?
The purpose for YGB is for black people to have a place online to love themselves and one another. To be proud of themselves and each other. That no matter what atrocities we've been through we have made it out and we are strong, beautiful, and successful together!
Explain your marketing services for social media?
Through my journey of life I've learned different things because it was beneficial for me so I like to turn around and help others. I wasn't into social media like that but I had to get into it to promote my businesses, so my boyfriend studied a lot about social media marketing and he turned around and taught me. I offer services to help clients get increased visibility, posting strong content and finding that important niche market.
How important is it for entrepreneurs to have visibility on social media?
It is very important for entrepreneurs to have social media visibility these days, I can't stress that enough to my clients. I look at Instagram kind of like a resume for entrepreneurs. Anyone who wants to conduct business with you goes to your social media handles first. That's how they figure out if you are worthy to do business with.
What mistakes do you think are made by entrepreneurs on social media?
I would say the biggest mistake they make is being too close minded and not understanding the social media industry.
What are the important elements needed to create a great Instagram page?
I would say great content. Showing that you are consistently working, great engagement with your followers and a well organized layout.
What makes a weak Instagram page?
Lack of organization. Random unnecessary posts where you can't figure out anything about the person purpose or business. Also bad picture quality and bad avatar picture which creates no engagement with followers.
Are black women cohesive enough to help each other ? If not, how can we improve?
Yes I believe it's possible but egos need to be removed. Black women are used to being the underdogs. In some cases when a Black woman makes it on her own with no help from her community; she may harbor some anger towards that same community that gave her no support. She then in turn has no interest or desire to work with or assist anyone within her home base. That can be improved if we all stop harboring these kind of feelings & realize there is a bigger goal at hand which is to achieve black excellence for all.
What did you think was missing from the clothing/merchandise industry why you started YGB merchandise that’s layered with positive and uplifting messages?
I think messages resonate better when we can see it right in front of our faces. Sometimes black men and women need to be reminded that we are Kings and Queens and we should be treated as such.
How much work goes into producing YGB merchandise?
Before it wasn't that much because we had chosen to work with a company that offers drop shipping services. I didn't really like that approach because they handle everything in the background with shipping. They get a pretty big portion of the money (rightfully so), but I just didn't want that kind of set up. So now when people are interested in an item they can let me know and send the money through my cash app $Ygb16 and I will place the order and get it shipped out for them.
Do you sometimes have a love/hate relationship with social media?
Yes (LOL!), I'm kind of introverted and my mind is very deep and complex that's why these days with my posts I try to add a deep meaning with my thoughts behind my photos. I like deep meaningful things but Instagram wasn't really created for that. I use Instagram to get business done; I never let the likes and the fake aspects of it get to my head. In a weird way Instagram reminds me of a little app version of Hollywood (LOL!).
You had posted a story on your IG page about a young man who was encouraged to state that his merchandise was produced in the United States so that customers would then purchase his merchandise. Why did this upset you so much?
I actually reposted that from an awesome follower I met this year from Jamaica his name is Lawrence Deacon. He is a 23 year old entrepreneur with his own illustrative brand and company. He was upset because he was told to put "Made in the United States" instead of "Made in Jamaica" on his merchandise, as this move would appeal to consumers in Jamaica. I reposted it because I can relate to the ignorance of our people and the lack of support for one another. It would be disingenuous for him to put "made from another country" just to get genuine support. I'm proud of him and his vision; he's a great kid and I'm glad he's sticking to what he feels is important.
How would you define your style?
My style kind of goes with my mood, it can be classy to edgy. Sometimes tomboyish. I've turned 25 and developing into a woman and has inherited new weight gain I'm not used to (LOL!). I was always really skinny then all of a sudden I got some hips and my clothes fit differently now.
What product/s you just can’t live without?
Makeup in general (LOL!), when I go out. I also wear a lot of wigs, I love switching up with different styles.
What’s your pet peeve?
When I can't see people's transparency. It drives me crazy! I just feel like the world would be a better place if people just said how they felt clearly and not harbor on feelings so we all can move forward.
Who is your favorite to follow on Instagram?
OMG! I absolutely love Will Smith! The way he took over Instagram with his stories, videos and the content are all inspirational and hilarious.
Who would you love to meet and have a conversation with?
Hmmm, probably J.Cole. I love his depth. I would love to sit and talk about life and the world with him.
What should we expect from YGB in the next few years?
We will be expanding and everyone will be wearing YGB gears. Hopefully, we'll be on multiple television platforms. I really want everyone to understand the vision of Young Gifted And Black.