Jes Don’t Make the Potato Salad!!

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from slavery.”

Like no real talk.  I actually got the DNA test to prove it.  And while other people come out and cheer about discovering themselves, going to the motherland, citing all their new discoveries….I now have an official piece of paper that says….

I’m a mutt.


Think I am being drastic?  Just a little dramatic?  Really….

Let’s break it down logistically….

Paying attention to African American Ancestry…old girl stated that majority of black americans have at least 65% to 70% of original origins that trace back to the lands of Africa or the Caribbean.

I mustered up a HARD 61%.  A HARD.  I had to add up all the unknowns and possibilities.

That is traumatic.

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I am solving for my identity.  I never knew that attempting to find the solution to x would mean finding my family.


My blood comes form like 10% of EVERY African region.  10% east.  10% south. 10% north….and in that a few countries are sprinkled in.  There is this crazy 2% Aboriginal somewhere in there.  And we couldn’t muster up enough percentage for the Cherokee and Choctaw that we KNEW was in our bloodline.  (Turns out that we believe that one of our mixed mothers was only placed in the Indian school in order to not take her away from her people.  She passed)

Like the topping of a cupcake.  My culture is a garnish.  In the words of E-40….”sprinkle me baby”

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The biggest marker I have is Nigerian.  What percentage do you say?  Well, let’s put it that I am a waiter’s tip Nigerian.  A decent waiter.  My soul and culture is a gratitude marker.  My identity is a tip.

I am not pleased.

Let’s not talk about the Great Britain (which actually was on my mother’s side as the highest marker) as well as the Irish, Scottish and Wales…I think…just  all the sighes.

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All my Nigerian is in my curl pattern.  Scottish is my twerk moves.  Benin in my curves and Great Britain in my cooking.  Oh lawd…..”who am I??”…..

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Is this why I don’t like watermelon?

Got a 40 minute temperament for hard rock?

After spending two hours with anyone with an accent, my lingo begins to mirror it?

Never could get the routines down in step aerobics?

OH GOD!!!  I will never be trusted with the potato salad.

I’m on a waiting list for Wakanda…pending background checks. Multiple ones.

And while I could laugh and make fun of this….no lie, my DNA made me pause.  This is me.  My story.  One that can’t truly be traced.  My family is all we had.  Our stories are entwined.  Lies made for the sake of survival.  There will be no moment of me going back home…finding my people.  Going on a pilgrimage of lineage to chase down purple fields and scream in joy to my ancestors like the Color Purple.

I have literally been made from slavery. Quotes from my nephew who is seeing my chart as a connect the dots game.  I come from the greed of southerns who wanted flourishing plantations.  From traveling Northerns who decided to keep one of my greats secluded in the big house so he can have her for himself whenever he passed through.  From the need of slaves on fields who knew they would ever see home again, so they created their own.

It hurts.

And it empowers.

Because if my blood could go through so many twists and turns….these are the stories that came to create me.  Who am I truly.  A woman of many lands…many journeys.  Many times.  Many places. Morphed into the destiny of now…to later participate in the world of tomorrow. I am. All I will be…because all they did to ensure I was here.

I may have not one home.  But there is a spirit that fought for my freedom. No matter what came in the way. I am loved.

I can’t make the potato salad.  But I have a seat at the table.

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So if I had to say anything to end this.  I have no home. The world is mine. The sins of America created me and gave me a passport to explore the land and plant new seeds that I can choose to harvest.  My heart is everywhere, my soul has much to hold….and the culture of who I am is woven together like the quilts of my african ancestors who told stories in colors and patterns…forever being shaped.

As long as I don’t bring the potato salad.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Yasmeen says:

    This is such a different view and perspective, and I love it like I love you. My family’s ancestry was done in the early 2000s, when technology could really only look at mitochondrial DNA and most of the markers were not there. We learned our earliest ancestors were from Cameroon, Ghana, Congo, and the Central African Republic. It connected us the name Pethro, which was my grandfather’s name. Pethro is a spiritual energy from the Congo region, the same one that was called upon by Haitians when they fought for their freedom. Learning all of this, I gave my first son the name Pethro to carry.

    We did not look at the European influences in our DNA, we never even talked about it. Maybe it was because my uncle had it done and his mother was a black woman, and my mother’s mom was white. We do not talk about the European influence in who we are in my family, maybe because culturally it is completely foreign to us. When I attempt to think about how it could have influenced me, I am left stumped, I really don’t know.


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