Being Black any where in the world should be celebrated mainly because there was time way back when, when being black would cause my people so much turmoil and heartache. It’s scary reading about my ancestors history and sacrifices and envisioning all of what they did or could have endured so that I can stand tall today and be comfortable in my skin.
As I grow older, I found myself wanting to know so much more about my history, my lineage, my culture. When I was growing up, I was not concerned with my family history or lack thereof. In fact, for many years the one person I called “dad” was not even my biological father. The lack of information provided to me from family plays a major role in why I lack so much self-identity. Nevertheless, the desire to understand and embrace my lineage is a huge priority of mine from this point forward. Mark my words!
While I took the Ancestry DNA test in September 2016, I still didn’t feel like I had all the answers. Even so, I conducted some research based off of the information I received about my DNA. While Ancestry DNA broke down which countries within Africa (82%) and Europe (18%) my DNA held traces of, the results were still very broad. So, after about a month or two, I put my self-identity journey on hold. Or at least I decided to take it slower due to my disappointment in my search results. Feeling like I didn’t come as close as I wanted to to understanding my families history really discouraged me. But doing research and not getting the answers I desired probably discouraged me even more.
History is far from my favorite subject I think because majority of the topics I was taught, I was uninterested in and lacked substance as it related to my life. But this discovering my family history is personal and very rewarding to me. Knowing this information about myself and my family means my children and their children will have more traditions, customs, substance, and self worth added to their existence, especially when it comes to being African (American).
Being Black TODAY feels so amazing and I find myself full of joy every time I even look at my skin or someone in skin like mine (Brown/Black). My people are growing prouder to be in their skin and THAT is something every human being should feel and embrace. But sometimes society depicts certain people as less than or different than others. That is why the Black Panther Movie couldn’t have come at a better time.
The entire time I was watching this movie, my self-pride grew and I was motivated to continue my self-identity journey that I started back in 2016. Chadwick Boseman aka T’Challa from Black Panther, participated in an interview on the Breakfast Club where he was discussing his African identity. Chadwick (fine ass) is from Anderson, South Carolina (represent) so he was not born in Africa but still identifies with the culture and people. During his interview he explained that Ancestry DNA and African Ancestry are two different tests and those people who believe they are of African decent should take the African DNA test. And here is why.
African Ancestry breaks down your African DNA traces specially to uncover your family’s history as it relates to specific tribes, ethnicity, and cultural groups. Doing this makes it easier to uncover traditions and customs as it relates it your ancestors and your overall family history.
This is what I have been longing to know. THIS is the test I need to take! But not only that, I need to sit down with my family and unlock some family history as well. I still have living relatives that I can pull so much information from, yet I have failed to even ask the simplest of questions like “Where is our family from? What traditions do we practice? What do you know of our family ethnicity?”
So, as I go on this self-identity journey, I also encourage you FIERCE FAM to unlock your family history. Talk to your family, take a DNA test, and/or build your family tree. I am not quite sure what taking the African Ancestry DNA test will contribute to my future but I hope that at most, it helps me to be more comfortable in my skin!
Remember, FIERCE IS SHE who…uncovers HER HIStory!
Meet the artist: Dennis Owusu-Ansah.
Follow him on Instagram: @Denny_ow