So, I finally opened up my African Ancestry DNA test results. They had been sitting on my desk for a week because I was waiting for Isaiah to come back from shooting in new Orleans, but after he told me that he wasn’t going to be back until June, I decided to settle on having my friend Janelle come over and calling Isaiah on the phone while I opened the envelope.

Before I get into the results, I want to first say that we as Black people are the only people that have to resort to DNA testing to trace find out where we come from. We have to do this because we were stolen from the Motherland and forced into slavery. Some of us were brought to what is now referred to as the United States of America, while others were transported elsewhere throughout the world. Some of us made the trip and lived long enough to continue their family line, but many did not. And it is because of this that we as Black people are in the current state we are in. Make no mistake about it.

It wasn’t that long ago that if I was asked where I was from I’d say Los Angeles, and never think twice about it. But after I got involved with the Pan African Film and Arts Festival that all changed for me. It’s funny when I think about it, but after maybe six months of hanging around the PAFF office, I ditched my relaxed hair for it’s natural state and I’ve never looked back. I was 23.

For me, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival is more than an annual event, we are a family. Today, I affectionately refer to them as my Pan African family with Asantewe and Ayuko serving as my surrogate mother and father and Moza as my aunt, lol. And you know, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We are supposed to have people in our communities that take us under their wings and mentor us. I love my blood family, don’t get me wrong. But I am extremely blessed to have an extended family, one that taught me what I needed to know about being Black in America. Hence, the reason for my seeking the truth in who I really am.

Through my involvement with PAFF, I met Isaiah Washington, who had his DNA tested in 2005 through African Ancestry. He’s of the Mende tribe of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since finding out his ancestry, Isaiah has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of the people of Sierra Leone through his foundation the Gondobay Manga Foundation. It is because of Isaiah that I made the decision to have my DNA tested to learn my ancestry. Thank you Izzie…I am now complete and I know what I need to do.

I’m not sure what I expected when I opened the envelope, but as I read aloud to Janelle and Isaiah what the results were, I felt a sense of relief. Relief in knowing who I really am and not who I’ve been told I am. I am African by blood and American by birth. Message!

My maternal genetic ancestry has been linked with people living in two countries today: the Bubi people of Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea) and the Tikar, Hausa, and Fulani peoples of Cameroon.

I am from Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in West Africa.

I am from Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in West Africa.

I am from Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in West Africa.

To be honest, I am still letting it all sink in. It’s as if I have been “born again.”

The sense of relief was followed by an immediate sense of urgency. Urgency because I now know what I need to do to make things complete and right for me in my life.

I want my dual citizenship and that’s exactly what I am going to work on trying to get.

Right about now, gay marriage isn’t going to do a damn thing to improve my life, but obtaining dual citizenship from the countries I was stolen from will. Now run and go tell that!

All Black Americans deserve it and I am going to fight for mine.

I’ve wasted no time in reaching out to the Presidents of both Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea as well as their U.S. representatives in Washington. Both Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea have a new daughter and she’s coming home…and depending on the outcome of this election, I might just stay, lol.

But seriously, I am going to take it as far as I can, even if it means taking legal action against the United States.

I believe it is my right now that I have successfully traced my ancestry, to hold dual citizenship with the countries that my ancestors were stolen from.

I know the U.S. government has a memory problem when it comes to the history of Blacks in the United States, but for me, there is no denying the Middle Passage or the effects of slavery on Blacks in America.

I want reparations for my people and dual citizenship. Then maybe we can talk about moving forward, but not until then.

So don’t be surprised if you ask me where I’m from and I ask ‘pre or post Middle Passage?’ Now that I know, you can bet I am going to claim my ancestry. In fact, I plan to seek out my Cameroonian brothers and sisters as well as my people from Equatorial Guinea living here in the U.S.

So for now, I am going to study up on both of the countries I share ancestry from and move forward in my quest for dual citizenship. I’ll keep you posted as I progress.

But for now this sista is just happy to be able to say… I am of the Bubi people of Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea) and the Tikar, Hausa, and Fulani peoples of Cameroon!

Thank you Izzie!!!

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