Your resume was particularly attractive to our organization because of your extensive background in the arts. How has your time in the arts shaped you?
I always say that I am an artist before I am anything else. I have always loved to write, but I think that I "officially" became an artist when I joined Authoring Action, a spoken word and outreach organization based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was there that I learned the power of voice-that my words could have impact, that I, a young black woman, could take control of a room by simply opening my mouth. It was there that I learned that I am worthy of the world, and that I am fully equipped to take that which I deserve. Words are powerful things-spoken words, even more so.
From that sense of empowerment stemmed the often spontaneous passion that fueled rest of my artistic endeavors. I wrote and co-directed my first feature film during high school, and from then on I was certain that filmmaking is what I am meant to do. It is my passion and it will be my legacy.
So, to answer the question... the arts have given me a sense of fortitude, of self, of power and of place. The arts have opened the doors to passions that I otherwise would not know that I had, and I am forever grateful to those who have guided and supported me (and who continue to do so) along the way.
You are a week into your residency with Delta Arts Alliance. What have you learned about our organization, or taken notice of, in your first five days on the job?
I have learned-and have been very pleased to see-that this is a passion-driven organization. It is run and supported by people who genuinely love the arts, by those who recognize art's capacity to empower individuals from every walk of life. I have no doubt in my mind that the passion behind this organization will keep it running, growing, and thriving for years to come; I feel infinitely blessed to be a part of it, if only for eight weeks.
Every Robertson Scholar we have had the privilege to work with has left a clear and indelible mark on the organization. What do you hope will be your lasting legacy?
I want to help develop more of a multimedia presence within the organization, using videos to highlight the amazing individuals that serve and are served by DAA as well as to aid in fundraising, promotion, and the like. I want to, in whatever small way that I can, impact the youth that I will meet during the Summer Arts Camps, and support the artists that each bring a unique flavor to the organization. Lastly, I want to be open to the lasting impact that this experience will surely have on me, taking it day by day, and growing through it all.
How are you and fellow Scholars settling into the Mississippi Delta?
To be candid, at first we were all a bit iffy about how the summer was going to go. We drove through the city-literally, the entire city-on our first day in the house and I remember one of the guys saying, "Well, we've officially done it all!"
But with each day, we all find something new to love about this amazing town. We all have countless bug bites which we are not 100% sure are not deadly, we enjoy our almost daily trips to Walmart more than anyone should ever enjoy going to Walmart, we are all constantly exhausted from the (amazing!) volunteer work that we are doing (I know for certain that I have the best job :-))-yet at the end of each day, we sit together in awe of the incredible experiences that we are already having. We all feel a unique attachment to this city, and we know that we couldn't have ended up in a better place.
What is the craziest thing you want to do during your summer south?
I'm actually already doing it.
I've been cooking my own meals every day and I've only set the smoke alarm off in the house once.
Crazy, right? I know.