Above the simple gray churches along a dimly lit section of Detroit, the brooding eyes of Lil Wayne, who was covered in chains and holding a bottle of Hennessy, peered from a billboard in the rough neighborhood where India Wayman grew up.
Her childhood had been fraught with traumatic experiences. Her father was violent and inconsistent, Ms. Wayman said, and she was bullied at school. A social worker visited her home when she was 12.
“Take her, we don’t need her here anymore,” Ms. Wayman, now 34, recalled her father as saying when he discovered that she had made a child abuse report.
As she considered her options that day, her 2-year-old brother wandered into the room. She could not leave him. And so, the physical and emotional abuse continued at home and at school.
Skipping classes to avoid bullies, she passed time at the library, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Wayne State University, where she sat in on college classes until she was kicked off the campus and told to return when she was 18.
She loved to read. Her 10th grade English teacher introduced her to the poetry of Bob Kaufman. She desperately wanted to become the “jazz type chick” of his stanzas.
[For more of this story, written by Emily Palmer, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11...rref=www.nytimes.com]