When people ask me where I’m from, I lead with Tanzania. I was born in its capital city after all. Next I’ll mention that most of my young life was spent growing up on the sometimes mean, more often pristine streets of Toronto, Canada. If my audience is still wanting, I then dig into my Southern roots. My handsome, blond haired, blue-eyed daddy was born and raised in Louisiana, though he admittedly had a complicated relationship with his family and his home state; suffice it to say his decision to marry my beautiful ebony-skinned mom in 1968, right on the heels of the civil rights movement, was met with some alarm.
Still, every summer when I was little, my dad and mom and two sisters, Gilli and Rachel (my third sister, Erica, came along after our road tripping years were behind us), would load up in our station wagon and head south to visit my grandmother in Bossier. Those were happy times spent eating watermelon in the hot summer sun and listening to katydids chirp us off to sleep. So when my friend Eve gifted me this dahlia print dress from Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James collection, all my fond memories of the South rose up to greet it. I haven’t been back to Louisiana in many years but slipping into this dress, one of which I’m sure my grandma Emmaline would approve, I can almost hear her say, “Ya’ll come back and see me again soon.”