My love/hate affair of Django Unchained

Django Unchained stars- Jamie Foxx and Christopher Waltz

First, let me start by laying my bias on the table. I’m not a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction. Nothing personal, I just don’t like the overly violent nature of his brand of movies. Despite this, I entered the theater with every intention to love this movie. The trailers were inspiring. Jamie Foxx is “the Man,” and Kerry Washington is always strikingly beautiful with Oscar potential performances. Not to mention, I like westerns, and not many westerns are coming out of Hollywood these days. When they do, how often is there one with an African American playing the title role? [Read more...]

Great Scott! DNA cousin in Scotland

Playing BagpipeI recently received a very unexpected DNA match to a “predicted” 4th cousin that lives in Scotland. He is unaware of any ancestors leaving his native country after 1800. We are starting to collaborate to see how we are related but despite the fact that this mystery will not be solved anytime soon, it is exciting to find a piece of my family tree puzzle.

Last year I took FamilyTreeDNA’s Family Finder test and was very pleased with the results. Unlike tests that only check direct maternal or paternal lineage, this test examines DNA from all 16 of your great grandparents. Results provides matches to living relatives from 5 generations of your family. Family Finder also provides a percentage breakdown of your ancestral population from 7 possible groups: Africa, America, East Asia, Europe, Middle Eastern, Oceania, and South Asia.

Along with my African – Yoruba ancestry, The Population Finder revealed that I had European ancestry, of which I was already aware. However, the test did not stop at that broad category but pinpointed Orcadian, Orkney Islands, as well as several other European populations: French, Finnish, and Russian. The Orkney islands are a part of northern Scotland. [Read more...]

To Liberia and back

Liberian Grand March Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, was recently in the news discussing his real estate investments in Liberia. He has built a luxury resort that is providing opportunity for careers and much needed revenue. Johnson is also encouraging African Americans to learn the mutual history of Liberia and the United States. I am proud to say that I am aware of the shared history between our two countries due to family ties. After years trying to track down the descendants of 112 African Americans who left Lowndes county, Georgia in 1871 and 1872, I had the opportunity to meet them in Atlanta. The event was an annual convention hosted by descendants who are members of  Arthington Reconstruction Development Association, an organization of Liberian Americans determined to rebuild their city which was devastated by civil unrest that began in 1980.

My search for these descendants started in  [Read more...]