Next on her “to do” list was to author her first book, Back to Me: A Devotional Walk for the College Freshman Woman, which she self-published on Amazon (February 2018) and partnered with The National College Resources Foundation in support of The Black College Expo Conference the same year. An audible version is due out in 2022/2023.
While her Back to Me world is furtive and growing exponentially every year, getting here has been an ominous challenge, and required years of therapy, completely overhauling her inner core and self-perception.
In 1993, she was a 21-year-old senior at Howard University. One day, while walking home she experienced every woman’s worst nightmare—which shattered her world.
Yoli had just received clearance to graduate, and was feeling ecstatic, joyous, and proud. She was looking forward to sharing the news with her family. Out of nowhere, a serial rapist grabbed her from behind with a gun plunged into her side. He forced her down a hidden stairwell at the back of a house. He demanded she pull her pants down. Yoli closed her eyes, prayed, and summoned the courage to risk losing her life by preparing to fight rather than letting him rape her. She then had an out-of-body experience and felt the “Presence” of what she believed was God. Preparing for the worst, she opened her eyes only to discover that her assailant had vanished.
Enduring that sexual attack threw her into a deep psychological tailspin on the precipice of fulfilling a childhood dream to attend and graduate from Howard.
She was a die-hard fan of celebrated actor, producer, director, Debbie Allen, and she fantasized about following in Allen’s footsteps by attending Howard University. As a Musical Theatre major, she traveled to Hong Kong and performed in a Howard production of Dreamgirls. With the support of family and friends, she attended her graduation and triumphantly earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre.