Born in the Midwestern United States, Yelayu is a published writer, journalist, pianist and musician. His debut collection of poetry, a full length volume entitled Songs of Our Old Orbits, was released in 2019. As a freelance journalist, he is a contributor to the Forbes-recognized media company Blavity®, a new media and tech company for forward thinking Black millennials pushing the boundaries of culture and the status quo. He maintains a personalized brand on Medium®, one of the largest social journalism platforms in the world with 60 million unique readers per month.
Yelayu is a classically-trained pianist and composer, who performs as a soloist in multiple genres and as a member of ensembles. A singer-songwriter, he expresses himself as an amateur vocalist and guitarist, creating sketches and short songs that tie into his literary works, specifically his poetry.
Yelayu is a former educator and administrator who has worked with Chicago Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the United States as a Social-Emotional Learning Expert. He was an administrator for one of the largest nonprofits in the Midwest, a partnership between the University of Chicago, the Network of Woodlawn, the megachurch Apostolic Church of God, which received funding from United Way, Kellogg, and many other national an dinternational trusts and charitable organizations.
He is a 5th Degree Black Belt and teaches martial arts at his own dojo.