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The Back to Me Project®
Founded by Yoli Tamu

Educator, Motivator, Podcast Host, Speaker

Mission Statement

To Educate, Motivate, Empower, and Inspire young women of all ethnicities and cultures entering colleges, universities, and the workforce.We created our multi-media platform to help them become self-advocators who achieve academic success,and sustain a balance of mental, physical, spiritual well-being and health in all aspects of their college life and beyond.

The Back to Me Project Podcast:
College and Beyond

The Back to Me Project Podcast: College and Beyond is a weekly podcast hosted and executive produced by Yoli Tamu. Each week in the thirty-minute show, Yoli seamlessly shares enlightening, engaging, and entertaining conversations that feature monthly themes and a wide array of special guests from all social classes and professions.

Since launching The Back to Me Project Podcast (August 2020) it has amassed nearly one-hundred episodes featuring popular themes such as, “Divine 9 Series: How Sororities and Fraternities Support Mental Health Awareness” (2022), “Love Series: Relationships That Matter” (2021), “Sexual Assault Series” (2021), “Honoring Veterans Series” (2021) and “Women’s History Month Series” (2022). Featured guests have included Dr. Markeith Royster, renowned educator, scholar and diversity and equity expert, Dr. Ayanna Abrams, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Koya Webb, celebrity holistic health coach, Tanisha Knox, Aveda healthy hair care specialist and salon owner, Reverend Arlene Hylton, Licensed Spiritual Practitioner and Joy Nordenstrom, a science-based Relationship expert, elite matchmaker, and author, among others.

Yoli fuses an arsenal of talents and wears many hats as the show’s host, which includes her 25 years as an educator in multi-cultural communities (for third graders to high schoolers, college students and adults), a Master of Education Degree in Cross-Cultural Teaching, while becoming a veteran songwriter/singer, recording artist, performer, author, speaker, SEL coach (Social Emotional Learning) and voracious entrepreneur.

In her college years, she endured the life-altering trauma of being sexually assaulted. While it devastated her, it also fueled her recognition and relationship with a Higher Being that is always protecting and present in her life. Her resilient spirit and therapy helped her get “back to me,” which triggered her desire to help young Black women who have suffered trauma or who were led astray to get back to being themselves—always!

It’s that broader sense of purpose she hopes to inspire students with on her podcast—to cultivate a safe environment for positive self-exploration, academic success, and personal fulfillment, while offering tips on how to build a career they love.

The Back to Me Project Podcast is a Yoli Tamu Enterprises production. AJP Productions produces the audio, mixing and editing. Simplecast distributes the podcast which is available on Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts. A full catalog of episodes is available by clicking here. (Catalog of episodes link). For more information about Yoli Tamu click here. (About Yoli Tamu link)

About Yoli Tamu

Educator, Motivator, Speaker

Yoli’s journey of becoming a podcaster, educator, speaker, author, and recording artist reflects  unfettered resiliency, rejuvenation, self-advocation, voracious optimism, and enthusiastic commitment to use her life lessons and challenges to empower and motivate young people. She had to overcome extreme adversity to get “back to me” and be spiritually, mentally, physically whole enough to help other young women avoid having to “get back to themselves.”
Yoli has fused her thirst for creativity and entrepreneurship with 25 years as a resolute educator/motivator teaching third graders, highschoolers, college students, and adults throughout the California school system. After thirteen years, she recorded and released her debut album, Back to Me. It comprised ten original songs and collaborations with co-writers Jackson Morgan, Akelee Relliford, Jamal Whittington and Ferrell Drew. Grammy Award-winning producer, Augie Ray (Erica Campbell for Best Gospel Album 2014, Rhianna, Sir Elton John) produced the album and Beloryze served as coproducer. Yoli released Back to Me independently via her company, Yoli Tamu Enterprises (March 7, 2014).
Her album inspired her to establish the Back to Me Project (2016), a curated multi-media brand platform. It emanated as a series of four theme workshops which also served as topics for speaking engagements. She parlayed it into creating a Back to Me one-woman show which fuses her authentic storytelling and life lessons with live performances of songs featured on her Back to Me album. Yoli performed her first one-woman show at her alma mater, Howard University, Washington, D.C. She got her feet wet with her first speaking engagement at Cal State Fullerton (2013). Yoli credits encouragement from the students that attended her workshops as the impetus to build her brand.

Next on her “to do” list was to author her first book

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. In 2020 she launched the Back to Me Project Podcast: College and Beyond, which has racked up 86 episodes and is available on Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts. Her 30-minute weekly podcast features monthly themes and special guest interviews.

Out of nowhere, a serial rapist grabbed her from behind with a gun plunged into her side.

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.
Yoli grew up in Altadena, CA with loving, hardworking parents and two siblings. Her mother, a schoolteacher and gospel choir director and her late father, an actor and trucking contractor for the U.S. Post Office, empowered her to be a strongminded and independent thinking woman. They named her after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, Yolanda, and Tamu, (African Swahili for “sweet”), her middle name after notable activist and scholar, Angela Davis. She started singing as a child and was most influenced by Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
After graduating, Yoli spent years in therapy. “I had to rebuild my perspective of the world and how it looked prior to my assault,” she explained. “Therapy coupled with embracing my spirituality and God helped me rebuild trust in myself. I methodically learned how to get past what felt like interminable depression.” In 1994, she sang back up with Karyn White on White’s single, “Can I Stay With You,” written and produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, which was featured on her album, “Make Him Do It Right.” She continued to pursue her career in music, and performed in Kobe, Japan where she met renowned artists, such as Frankie Beverly, MAZE, and Charlie Wilson. Upon her return to the States, Frankie Beverly invited her to perform as an opening act for one of his concerts. 
During the next decade, Yoli pivoted and changed her trajectory personally and professionally. She became a teacher and taught elementary, high school and college students, and has steadfastly remained committed for the past 25 years. It’s been her haven, and where she has excelled as an educator and motivator for youth.
In early 2000, she got her first major break, signing to Los Angeles based production company, Tuff Break Entertainment, who secured a recording/distribution pact with Warner Bros. Records. She recorded a full album of pop, soul, rhythm & blues, and rock songs. A-list songwriters/producers including David Gamson (Chaka Khan), Jose Quintana (Santana), David Kershenbaum (Tracy Chapman), and Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey) contributed to the album. It also featured guest performances by MeShell Ndegeocello, Siedah Garrett and the Doobie Brother’s Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

The album title, “Breathing Under Water” was the first single released.

The album title, “Breathing Under Water” was the first single released. Unfortunately, what should have been an auspicious debut backfired when Warner Bros. pulled the plug and opted not to release her album. That same year, she took another leap of faith and married her best friend on Malcolm X’s birthday, May 19th (2001).
Although they never released her album, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Sunshine,” one of the album tracks was featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture, “Deliver Us from Eva” (Focus Features, Feb/2003) which starred Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J, Meagan Good and Duane Martin. The film was adapted from William Shakespeare’s play, “Taming of the Shrew.”
The following year she earned a Master of Education Degree in Cross-Cultural Teaching from National University in La Jolla, California, (2004). In 2006 she founded the Unity Theatre Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization designed to serve as an outlet of creative expression for young people. In 2008, after seven years of marriage, she got divorced.
Yoli has never allowed trauma to smother or thwart her dreams. Her story is one of triumph over tragedy. She summarizes it by noting, “I’ve discovered that my elixir is channeling my vulnerability and life-changing stories into teachable lessons. Whether it’s my podcast, speaking, teaching, or through song, my spiritual passion is to touch and impact the lives of young people.”

Keynote Speaker
and Workshop Themes

The Back to Me Project offers keynote speaking engagements and a series of workshops on conceptual themes under the umbrella theme of Be B.O.L.D., Be Brave, Be YOU: 4 Ways to Break Free.

# 1
Bathe in The Aftermath:
The Self-Awareness Challenge

By completing a self-assessment, develop a strategic plan to clear your emotional debris and realize your full potential.

# 2
Own Your Invincible Status:
Building A Lifestyle of Peace with Relationships That Matter

Identify healthy character traits and values that you require of yourself, your friends, and your dating partners.

# 3
Love the Skin You’re in Because It’s So Beautiful: Meditating for An Altered State of Mind and Celebrating Conscious Beauty

Explore affirmative practices and breathing exercises to release old pain from personal trauma, instead of substituting with alcohol, drugs, and sexual experimentation.

# 4
Develop Your Network and Hold on to Us: Supporting Communities While Developing a Career Pathway You Love

By completing a career assessment and action plan, identify your personal attributes to better understand your career interests for internship opportunities that serve your community.
Each subtitle is delivered in a 45-minute format for keynote speaking appearances.
They can be customized, integrated together, and presented in-person or virtually.
The Back to Me Workshops can comfortably accommodate 25 – 100 people.
The length of each workshop is 45-minutes (in-person or virtually) and can be extended to 90 minutes.
The second part of the extended workshops allow for partnering and sharing, and group interaction among the partners.
In addition, our workshop series is offered for a 3-hour Mini-Retreat, or as a four-week academic course.

One Woman Show
Yoli Tamu’s Back to Me One-Woman Show fuses her skills as an authentic and heartfelt storyteller and artistry as a live performer. She takes audiences on a musical journey through her pain, self-discovery, love of God that features performances of songs from her Back to Me album including Aftermath, Gone Away, On My Way Home, Anybody Out There, and the title track, Back to Me, among others. The show length is 45-minutes.
For further information about content, pricing, and bookings please contact

Online Courses

Contact Us!

The Back to Me Project Online Store

Yoli Tamu /Back to Me

Released independently March 2017 by Yoli Tamu Enterprises. Features 10 original songs and collaborations with co-writers Jackson Morgan, Akelee Relliford, Jamal Whittington and Ferrell Drew. Grammy Award-winning producer Augie Ray (Erica Campbell for Best Gospel Album 2014, Rhianna, Sir Elton John) produced the album and Beloryze served as coproducer.

Available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, (include links for each) and purchased on Amazon, www.amazon.com/Back-Me-Yoli-Tamu/dp/B00IVRYDMU

Back to Me: A Devotional Walk for the College Freshman Woman

Self-published on Amazon (March 2018), Yoli Tamu’s debut as an author depicts her personal journey through the stressors of college life. Students will explore the life lessons learned in the book, compare their own lives to similar circumstances, and to apply collaborative strategies through group activities. The activities help to further strengthen their social and interpersonal coping skills related to roommates, dating partners, alcohol, drug use, and violence.

To purchase: www.amazon.com