SSD: There are two big questions that I’m asking every interview subject to answer.
First: What does it mean to you to “Be Black” in 2022?
DE: I’ll be honest, this question had me ruminating. It’s so immense. Thinking back over the past few years I never realized how heavily this could weigh. Crazy to think that in my 33 years, no one’s ever asked me “What it meant to be Black”.
Naturally, when I think about what it means to be Black (even in 2022)… it shadows our ancestry, struggle, and resilience. While I have a disdain for always focusing on our adversity, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. To this day, a significant part of what it means to be Black is shaped by our heritage.
It’s being proud about our deeply-rooted and rich culture. It’s empowerment and a promotion of healthy efficacy. It’s about being exceptionally diverse while also remaining connected and embedded in the community. It’s as simple as knowing the difference between sweet potato and pumpkin pie…and as complex as being killed while running, playing, and sleeping without ever seeing justice.
But, like Marcus Garvey said, being Black is a symbol of national greatness.
SSD: Ok, moving on to Numero Dos: As a Black Person in America, what’s one thing that you wish other people knew about your daily experiences? (Dwynn struck out that last part in her response)
DE: I wish others knew and understood our value. I wish they understood that even throughout the history of slavery, redlining, racism, gentrification, cultural appropriation, and a long line of other unjust burdens and limitations placed on our people… we are RESILIENT, INNOVATIVE, SELF-LESS, ADAPTIVE, AND INFLUENTIAL. We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams and the distant descendants they prayed, worked, and hoped for.
SSD: What is something that you feel you’ve had to go through as a Black Woman (in general) that you feel everyone else SHOULD have to go through (like, it would actually make the world better in a way)?
DE: Cultivate perseverance. This will help you refine and develop your ideas. The second one is hard to do but search for feedback and criticism. Don’t focus on the delivery but what’s being delivered. This will help you be the best and find value in even the hard truths.