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Why Africa? Denise Spiller on the Motivation Behind Her Collaborations

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

From episode: Exploring African Roots, Collaboration, Balance, & Power of Technology in Denise Spiller's Journey

So why Africa? Why? I noticed that you also collaborated with Africans, but your target is Africa. Why Africa? Sure. It's very personal. So I'm not just, we call ourselves black Americans and call ourselves African -Americans. My family way before I even thought to get my genealogy report, which I didn't even get my own yet. I still need to get my own, but I got the version. You need to. I got my brothers, right? And my nephew. And I looked at theirs and I was so proud of it. My great grandmother, I have a picture of her. I have a picture of my great grandfather, right? Then there's my mother, my grandfather, and my mom and dad. And my great grandmother is direct out of West Africa. Wow. A very dark woman. Her name was Anna, hence me giving myself the middle name, Anna Lee. Which a in way, Anna Lee is favor and grace. And I have felt blessed to feel like the favor of God over my ideas, my whole life. I always submit myself to the spiritual realm first and say, is this going to work? And I pray on it. I meditate on it. And Anna, my great grandmother, sixties, she was West African. And then great grandfather was from England, not England, he was from Europe. He was from a country in Europe, right? They had, was it 16 children? And they were unable at that time to live together as husband and wives, but they did live together. So we have a lot of our history, there was a pretending she was a servant kind of thing going on to, and they raised her children and my grandmother and grandfather. So we got this long story. So when my brother finally went in our whole family is very proud to at least know that much of our history, but we didn't know which part of Africa we didn't exactly know. And then we got it back. I looked at my brothers and I was like, yeah. I was so excited when we added all together, there were four African countries. When we added all together, 67 % West African. Wow. Then most of it came out of Nigeria. Oh, congratulations. I was like, I had met Nigerians and they were like, I'm so comfortable over there. They're just like, she's comfortable. I tried to walk by myself and the locals that were at the house would be like, you're never going anywhere by yourself. You should, you might as well stop trying because in this land, you're still foreign and it may not be safe for you. So they're always behind me. Cause I walk every morning. That's part of my exercise. But I was telling them, I was like, you guys know I'm Nigerian, right?

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