2016: Year In Review

May 3, 2017

Where did this year go?! It went by fast, but I can honestly say that the  #AkataTeam WON this year. I am going to share the top five moments of this year. Let us get started, shall we!


  • African Embassy Hoppin’


This year we had the chance to visit the Uganda and the Cote D’Ivoire embassy. The Counselor of Uganda gave us a passionate breakdown of the country’s history and resources. The Embassy of Cote D’Ivore hosted amazing events this year to strengthen the African Diaspora within the US. Not only did we party with His Excellency during their independence day celebration, we were invited to a private reception at his home AND they blessed me with an African name.


  • We Are Family!


Using ancestry.com, I was able to connect with 2nd -4th cousins, some of whom I met in person. I love each and every one of them, and I now cannot image my life without them. In fact, we flew to ATL this summer to visit my 4th cousin, whom may or may not be African American shhhhhh! Towards the end of the year, my team and I visited the Gregg Plantation in South Carolina. It was emotional for me to get to touch, taste and feel what my enslaved ancestors had to endure. That trip changed my life!


  • My First Independence Day Celebration


On March 6, 2016, we were invited to attend the Ghana Independence Day celebration at the Howard Theatre. I was so nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. My team and I had an awesome time observing and partaking the merriment. If I could afford it, I would go to EVERY African independence Day celebration in the Washington Metropolitan Area because this event set the bar so high.


  • New Audiences


This year we had the opportunity to do our first radio interview with Bernice Bennet from the program entitled “Research at the National Archives and Beyond! I was sooooo nervous, I had to bite my tongue between questions to keep from stuttering. I’m so grateful for that opportunity. Not only was it great practice for me, I received awesome feedback from her audience, I hope to get back on her show next year. This year we one of our showcased our Ancestry video showcased at the AOB Parts to a Whole exhibit. Outside of Highschool, it has been a long time since I had the chance to showcase anything. 




  • #AkataCookOut


I had to save the BEST moment for last. This year we celebrated a full year of production by hosting a FREE luxury cookout. I was surrounded by family and friends. We had delicious American and African food, giveaways, jumbo dominoes, and even premiered a sneak peak of the film. The pleasant surprise happened after we showcased the film and we opened the floor to a Q&A session. Fifteen minutes into the session, the audience began to interact with one another and it almost became a therapy session. People began to pour their heart out and share personal stories about systematic racism and what it means to be black in America. It was at that moment, I realized how important my film will be to bring about healing to my community. The #AkataCookout gave me the absolute confirmation I needed, to prove to myself that my project was not just a pipe dream, that I am not wasting my time and that my film will be a blessing to someone.

Thank you to everyone who made this year great for us. See you next year!

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