Coffee with Cool Women: Dail Chambers



SIUE’s Women Studies Department and Black Studies Department, as a co-sponsor, welcomed Dail Chambers as last week’s guest for the series “Coffee with Cool Women.”

Dail Chambers, founder of the Yeyo Arts Collective


The series has been successful since the start and is aimed at helping students gain insight from professionals about their lives and careers in a less formal setting. Sometimes students can be intimidated to ask certain questions to someone who may seem to be of “higher status” in an academic setting.

Chambers especially recognized this problem and encouraged every student participant to engage in discussion with her instead of listening to her speak the entire session. She focused on being an artist, a woman, a mother and her “superwoman” mentality, which she said all women have.

“The things that are immediate you have chosen for them to be a part of that immediacy,” Chambers said. “We have to be accountable for that big old plate. We keep saying yes to things and next thing you know, we have a mountain on our plate. We as women have a very bad habit as a culture of folks to do that to ourselves, but I think one of the most freeing things for me is to be accountable for that. We have a superhuman mentality; we can function anyhow, anyway, and look good and do it all — but that’s just not healthy.”

Chambers is founder of the Yeyo Arts Collective at 2700 Locust Ave. in St. Louis, Mo. It is operated by other women in the community that seek to “liberate” others in the community through the arts. She said the collective’s efforts only affect a small part of the otherwise larger, global community that struggles with the previously mentioned superhuman mentality.


“I think when doing community work, something that you have to be cognitive of is that there is always going to be the type of personality that’s going be liberated in the environment they go to,” Chambers said. “But what can you do to create a safe space for all folks to be liberated? You know, and that sounds real hokey like a social change banner or something for the next rally, but it’s hard to say.”

Catherine Seltzer, chair of the women’s studies department, said the discussion between Chambers and the attending students challenged and inspired them all when going out into the real world.

“I thought Dail’s talk was terrific; a real alternative to traditional forms of networking, which tend to put pressure on the student who is looking for points of entry into the ‘real world,’” Seltzer said. “Instead, Dail talked about her own goals for herself as an artist, activist and business owner, and thoughtfully considered how these roles both compete and intersect.”

For more information on Chambers and the women she works with at the Yeyo Arts Collective, go to

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