All in Gullah Geechee Women
Afrofuturism seemed capable of honoring not only our brokenness, but also a reality in which we are healed. I was pleasantly surprised to find how closely Afrofuturism and womanism align as paths to liberation and safety for Black womxn and femmes. Both ideologies are deeply rooted in Africana tradition and our affinity to speak ourselves whole.
Another unexpected revelation was the connection between Gullah Geechee culture and Afrofuturism.
Freed women understood that their value had previously rested on their ability to reproduce, and the outwardly assigned identity as wanton, subhuman workers, always available for the sexual desires of others. Emancipation brought new labels and terminology to the landscape, but the racial dynamics that positioned Black women on the bottom tier remained, morphed, intensified. Common themes persisted throughout the transition to freedom and despite a concerted effort to keep black women fearful and compliant.
My passion continues to lie with women and children. I love empowering them to be the best THEM they can be. Because my husband and I recently experienced fertility issues, I want to be a voice for African American women dealing with infertility. There are few resources available to help African American women get through this–especially with the culture we are in.
I am a licensed cosmetologist and owner of Naturelle Beaute’ by Shaniqua in Charlotte, NC. I believe that I’ve been called to counsel and educate, and I do this whenever I stand behind my chair. I am also a wife and an expectant mother!
I am an organizer to my core, through and through. I know my purpose is tied into that, because no matter how often I try to step away, I find myself doing it, instinctually. I know I’ve been called to be a healer–specifically in the Gullah Geechee tradition. My ancestors told me this in a dream. So we’ll see where that leads me.
Once you understand the history of our Gullah Geechee ancestors, their intuition, their genius to adapt, cultivate and thrive, a sense of pride swells within you. To have an identity, language and culture so unique and so similar to our Afrikan brothers and sisters, it just fills my spirit. When I went to Senegal, Ghana and Cote de voire and ate the same meals that my famlee eats on a daily basis, it just blew my mind. I am a direct descendant of the coast of West Afrika. I am a Gullah Warrior Woman. I am proud to speak my language, tell our story and pass on traditions so our ancestors nor our Gullah Geechee culture will never be forgotten. I am because They are!
Being Gullah Geechee to me means being proud to be a descendant of a treasured heritage that encompasses more than the middle passage. Our Gullah Geechee ancestors set the precedence and survived despite the odds. Being Gullah Geechee means being the benefactor of a rich and unique living culture that needs to be recognized for its numerous contributions. I call myself the Geechee Goddess in honor of the wonderful strong and intelligent Gullah Geechee women who came before me and shaped and molded my existence.
I was blessed with a gift to cut people’s hair. I’ve been a Master Barber for 9 years, and I enjoy every minute of it. It’s such a great feeling being able to enhance one’s natural beauty with a simple haircut. My culture certainly influences my barber career. Every style is a revolving cycle of what was worn before my time. Many of the styles have some type of symbolic meaning behind them.
With this paper, I wish to recognize womanist application in the lives of historic Africana women. More specifically, I’ve searched for and analyzed examples of womanism in Gullah Geechee women in the South. I’ve lived in Gullah Geechee communities for most of my life. From Beaufort, to Charleston, to Pawley’s Island and Georgetown, SC, I became a woman in Southern communities that astound and attract tourists with their natural beauty, Southern charm, and manufactured nostalgia. Beneath the shiny, gentile façade lies a web of oppression—centuries old. It is with this understanding, that I describe the motivation for this study.