Lily Be

Discovering your story, owning it, and sharing it is one of the most life-changing things you will ever do. 


Storytelling Saved My Life.


I didn't go to school to do this. I don't have a fancy writing degree. I got into storytelling BY ACCIDENT.  The story goes,   I let a man live with me who decided to take MY money to buy drugs. Drugs he wanted to use to make up for all the rent he hadn't paid me in almost a year. He got the money stolen. When I decided to go confront the people that stole it, he chickened out and decided THAT was the day he was going to go find a job. In a fit of rage and with a box cutter (I planned to use for protection against the thieves who stole my money) I ended up cutting my wrist while yelling at him for not wanting to go get my money. The cut would miss my vein by a hair and the 911 call he made landed me at the Chicago Read Mental Ward because it was seen as a suicide attempt. I spent seven days there. The dude ( a privileged Jewish graffiti writer from Virginia) went around for seven days and told everyone that I "went nuts" after having professed my love to him and then being rejected. When I was released after seven days, that was the story that everyone had heard and that was the story that friends and family chose to believe. A story that came out of the mouth of man, that for the most part of a year, lived off me and my family and could not bring himself to admit and tell what had really happened. The story he told was NOT MINE. THAT STORY was not even his. The pain of hearing a story that was not mine told as truth made me want to die and I sunk into a three month depression to which I saw no end...

That is until...

I love to think this is Cara and Sonya laughing at how they got me to share a story that would ultimately change my life. Like, "hahahahahaha, she said she didn't have a story."

I love to think this is Cara and Sonya laughing at how they got me to share a story that would ultimately change my life. Like, "hahahahahaha, she said she didn't have a story."


A friend of mine took notice that I had stopped coming out and attending events and supporting the communities and invited me to a show. I was reluctant because I felt abandoned and discarded by my community all because of a story some dude went around telling about me.

 She assured me that no one at this show was a part of that community and that it would do me some good to check it out. Plus, it was run by her childhood friend and she swore up and down that I would LOVE HER!   That show was Grown Folks Stories. The host, Cara Brigandi

Sonya put my name in that bowl (unbeknownst to me) and Cara called out my name on May, 20th 2010.

I looked around for the other Lily in the room until I realized she was referring to me.  Cara noticed that I was hesitant about getting on the mic, and she would go on to say something to me that I now know I needed to hear at that very moment in my life

No one here is going to judge you. Here, you’re family.
— Cara Brigandi


The Rest is History

I attended Grown Folks stories RELIGIOUSLY for over two years. Every third Thursday of the month at The Silver Room, I would arrive by 7:30pm to be surrounded by a community of people that made me feel seen, heard, and (for the first time in my life) like I mattered. I no longer felt like I wanted to die because I no longer felt that anyone had any control over MY STORY. Thanks to Cara Brigandi and Eric Williams creating a space for people to BE. Thanks to them, Lily Be was born and I owe them my life and the front page of my first ever personal website.

Real talk, SUPPORT THIS SHOW (now in Hyde Park). It saves lives.