As a child, children would blatantly ask me “what are you?” As a teenager, my peers would joke and say you are my African queen or Nubian princess. As an adult, I find myself tangled up in conversations about whether I am truly African-American, Black enough to be Black, or if I am too American to be African. Growing up in a city where there was a population of 6 Africans, which was my entire family, I never took the time to discuss my identity with anyone but my father. Thankfully my parents were always there to reinforce my Ethiopian-American identity. Being in the DC metropolitan area now, a place full of culture, I now know every first & second generation immigrant experiences this at some point in their life and Nadia Sasso is attacking identity head on.
Beautiful, outspoken, and goal-orientated are all words that come to mind when describing, my new friend, Nadia Marie Sasso. This past week, in the midst of a random snow storm, I was able to sit down with Nadia at one of my favorite spots, Bus Boy and Poets in Arlington. She is the daughter of Sierra Leonean immigrants, a Maryland native, and currently resides in Pennsylvania. Pursuing a master’s degree and completing her thesis at Le High University, Nadia is the definition of versatile. Not only she is student but she is a brand curator, social entrepreneur, and digital storyteller. During our meet-up we laughed, we joked, and bonded over the similarities of our experiences of growing up in America. But for Nadia the topic of identity is not just for laughs but rather for research. As mentioned before Nadia is taking identity development by the horns, in producing a documentary, alongside cinematographer Corey Packer , on the ever so popular question “Am I too African to be American, too American to be African?”
She traces her interest in this topic back to a panel discussion at Bucknell University, where she attended undergrad. The panel consisted of generational immigrants that openly discussed their experiences in the United States. Not only did this panel steer her in the right direction but it gave her insight on a topic that has not been translated into film just yet. Nadia has found a way for her passion to be her thesis project. Her film, which includes in-depth interviews with women from different African backgrounds, will be the first of its kind that can be appreciated by all: academia, cultural enthusiasts, and the general public.
The film will debut this spring and to find out more about her projects or this particular film please visit: http://www.iamnadiamarie.com/. Make sure you subscribe to #SDBUP to find out when screenings in the DC area will occur!
Connect with Nadia Marie
Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up