Last summer, I attended George Fraser’s Power Networking Conference (PNC) in Dallas, Texas. The Power Networking Conference was ranked as one of the top conferences to attend in 2015. George Fraser says that the PNC is the best networking event in Black America. PNC attendees were able to gain valuable information, attend workshops, and network with movers and shakers such as Les Brown (author and speaker), Dr. Randal Pinkett (winner of NBC’s The Apprentice), Dr. Michael Roberts (Roberts & Co), and Charles Ogletree (Harvard Law School Professor).
On Thursday evening, after attending workshops all day, I decided to attend a Networking After Dark Workshop called “Rites of Passage, Family Trees, Histories, & Broken Identities: Using Actual DNA to Get Peace from the Broken Pieces of Slavery” sponsored by African Ancestry. The presenters of this workshop included Gina Paige, founder of African Ancestry, Inc., Dr. Kwa David Whitaker, an attorney and founder of Ashe Cultural Center, and Anthony Browder, author of From The Browder Files and director of Asa Hilliard Restoration Project (Luxor, Egypt). I was familiar with Anthony Browder’s books, lectures, and his excavation of Karakamun’s burial chamber in Egypt but I wasn’t familiar Dr. Kwa David Whitaker and Gina Paige. I went into the workshop with an open mind but I wasn’t expecting to learn any information that would cause a paradigm shift because during the past eight years, I invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into doing my inner work, which included learning about my heritage.
During the beginning of the workshop, Gina Paige explained the science behind matrilineal DNA and the accuracy of African Ancestry’s DNA database. Then Dr. Kwa David Whitaker showed a clip from Roots. During this clip, Kunta Kinte was whipped until he agreed to accept Toby as his new name. The energy in the room shifted as we watched and later discussed the implications of that scene. Next, Anthony Browder showed us several video clips and impressed on us the importance of knowing our cultural identity.
Before attending African Ancestry’s PNC workshop, I purchased a DNA kit from another company but after three unsuccessful attempts by the company to correctly process my DNA sample, I gave up on receiving my DNA results. Then, I convinced myself that my DNA results weren’t important. But after hearing powerful words and interacting with fellow conference goers, I decided to purchase African Ancestry’s DNA Test Kit. The next morning, I rubbed four Q-Tips against the inside of my jaw, placed the four Q-Tips in the plastic container, and provided my DNA sample to Gina Paige.
After patiently waiting for six weeks, I received my DNA results from African Ancestry. I opened my package and my certificate said that my mother’s ancestors DNA matched the Tikar people in Cameroon. Immediately after reading my results, I wanted to know more about the Tikar people. I found out that Erykah Badu, Common, Taraji P. Henson, and Don Cheadle share my ancestry. The most eye opening thing that I learned about my people is that we trace our lineage back to ancient Kemet (Egypt). This sealed the deal for me because it explained my obsession with ancient Kemet. In 2014, I took my first trip to Kemet and I felt an instant connect with distant relatives in Nubia. This summer, I plan to return to Kemet to participate in Anthony Browder’s excavation of Karakamun’s burial chamber. Now I have to begin planning a trip to Cameroon to meet my extended relatives.