Shy Amos. Photography by Yuvie Styles

Born into a tight, talented, musical, churchgoing family, Shy Amos grew up surrounded by song and a spiritual glow that brightened as she discovered her own gifts. 

When seemingly opposing internal forces vied for attention and cultivation, she refused to choose a single route and explored both arts and business. She’s a wordsmith who loves math, a rap artist for whom “hot girl summer” refers to the first organized meetings of the suffragettes in July 1848. By embracing duality, she taps into a power and uniqueness that’s driving her career and inspiring other independent artists. 

The Civilized Festival is this weekend.

Ten years in, the hip hop and spoken word artist and entrepreneur — known widely as ShySpeaks — has shared stages with famous rappers including Ludacris, Bun B and Jeezy as well as gospel icon Tye Tribett and poet Janette IKZ. And of equal importance in her mind, she just produced a music video with the DeSoto girls basketball team. 

Settling into a booth at a Tyler Station coworking space, the South Oak Cliff native tosses back long locks accessorized with a pearly seashell and smiles. In a steady and practiced voice — hand movements punctuating significant words and phrases — she discusses her roots, mission and plans for the future, which include a big event coming to Dallas this month.