Born and raised in Philly, I consider Accra a second home, albeit a tenuous one, given my frequent bouts of near homelessness in the city. Yet, almost everything about my education speaks to Pennsylvania roots– I attended undergraduate school at Penn State and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University. In between were stints as a lifestyle reporter, living in London to complete a master’s degree, bartending at local dives, and teaching as contingent faculty at area colleges while moonlighting as a production assistant for a film studio and a music label in order to finance cheap flights to warm places.
It is a necessary function of my life to regularly be around people who looked like me even if they are vastly different from me. I am drawn to anthropology as a storyteller, a lover of books, a conversationalist, a black feminist anthropologist and activist. Like anthropologist/sociologist St. Claire Drake, I am fascinated by Black Folks Here and There. My mother says my my career choice legitimizes being newsy. In our vernacular, newsy is kin to nosey, but less spurious. After all, it was the stories and sage wisdom of my great grandmother that fed my wanderlust. Maya Angelou’s All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes inspired my studies abroad in Ghana. James Baldwin’s recorded talk with Dick Gregory lit the path towards London. I burst into tears reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. When I learned Zora Neale Hurston was an anthropologist, I was all in.