HERStory Series: Sista Big


Today we celebrate Sharnell Tull, aka Sista Big! Okay so, tell us a little bit about yourself. 

This may be the hardest question. I am so many things, really, a complete complex mess. I am a poet, a teacher, and sometimes a preacher. I’m a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am quiet and pensive, also loud and full of laughter. I am the wind, I am Sharnell.

How did you get the name Sista Big?

Wait! You remember the song by Anthony Hamilton, “Sista Big Bones”? It was a plus size women's anthem.At that time I was playing around with the name ‘Big Bones’ on social media and it somehow just turned into Sista Big.

Yes, I do remember that song. *starts singing in my head*  So what themes or ideas do you explore in your poetry and how do your personal experiences or beliefs influence your writing?

I often use my family and religion as background for pieces. I was raised by a tight knit family and they kept religion in their side pocket. In my high school years, I was mentored by the Overseer Mary Boyd and watched her monopolize being a woman and the head of so many different things. I learned that you can be true in every aspect in life and I try to bring truth in every poem.

How do you handle writer’s block or creative blocks? Do you have any tips or techniques for overcoming them?

Not very well, I have went a whole year without being able to produce and it is literal torture. I just went through the non-creative plateau by soaking up everything: books, music, conversations and of course I’d jot small ideas down for a later date. When the juices did begin flowing again, I’d visit the ideas and move from there.

What advice do you have for aspiring poets or writers? What have you learned from your experiences as a poetry author that you would like to share?

My advice is write what you want to write. Never limit yourself. Also, from experience, I’ve learned you are your best advocate! You have to market and advertise yourself. Put yourself in the room. No one is going to work harder for you, than you!

Let’s switch gears a bit and get a little personal. I have known you for a long time, but what is one thing that the readers may not know about you?

I am an open book. Let me see… I really love tennis! I played doubles on the team during my freshman year at Pocomoke High. I still enjoy “trying” to play at times now.

Okay okay. What are some of your other passions outside of writing and tennis?

I have really developed a love of just sitting and doing absolutely nothing! Lol, but I do also enjoy cooking either freestyle or following recipes.

What do you see as one of your greatest strengths?

My ability to adapt and evolve.

I love that! Adaptability is a great trait to possess. We are coming up to the end of our interview today. I want to thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I have one last question.  What is an opportunity or area for growth that you are working towards?

I am definitely  working on being able to teach my poems more. There's a difference in listening to a poet recite and thinking about what a great poem it was and actually understanding. When I conduct a workshop or join the public school classrooms, teaching my poem and having  a child or even an adult in a workshop understand and emulate their own piece from something I taught is so important.

Thank you so much for spending some time with me and giving us a glimpse into the world of Sharnell Tull aka Sista Big! We celebrate you!


1 comment

  • Absolutely Amazing!!

    Aubrey Taylor

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