The Papyr*us Book Club

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My sis Assata {aka Sa~roc} and I LOVE to read!!!!! We've bonded over this mutual love for literature, poetry and other great writing. The art that is writing has served as a portal through which we've  travelled beyond the boundaries of space and time...enabling us to envision and experience life beyond our immediate realities. Given how transformative the alchemy of writing has been to us, we've long dreamed of  starting a book club through which we could nurture substantive and inspiring relationships with other globally minded  women. We're excited to say that dream is now reality. Papyr*us is a monthly gathering in which we intend to celebrate sisterhood, substance and superb written works by people of colour.

There are two ways for our fellow queens to be a part of Papyr*us.  The first is by invitation to our intimate Atlanta sessions. The second is via social media. Follow us on Periscope {thepapyrusbookclub} You will be able to follow our monthly sessions there in real time through a live feed. Also subscribe to our Youtube channel {thepapyrusbookclub} where previous sessions will be viewable. Additionally, we will share new book announcements; book review questions and commentary on each piece via Instagram {papyrusbookclub}, Periscope and here on the Ancestral Memory blog.

Once we announce the book, members will have estimately one month to read it. At that point we will meet to discuss the piece in person and virtually.

So, now that we have those details sorted out, let's get started! The first book is...DRUMROLL!!!!.. If Beale St Could Talk by James Baldwin. Both Assata and I consider Baldwin to be one of the most formidable authors in American literature. His examinations of race, sexuality, religion and class among other topics compel discourse. If Beale St Could Talk, with its promotion of the black family and black love, is just one of James Balwin's  works that still bear poignant relevance. We'll explore the significance of this book next month. You can obtain a copy on or for reasonable prices. If Beale St Could Talk is also available in ebook format. We also encourage you to check out your local libraries and black owned book stores.

 Go grab a copy and mark your calendar for our Sept 27th session! {We will announce the time of the 1st live feed closer to the date}. Should you have questions,please leave them in the comment field below. We look forward to vibesing with you! 

Photograpy Credit: Sol Messiah

70's Fever

Friday, August 21, 2015

A significant portion of my fashion inspiration comes from the 1970's. The era was defined by icons such as Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, Pam Grier, Iman and Bianca Jagger. On the heels of the turbulent 1960's , the fashion of 70's was festive, lavish and indulgent. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Halston created pieces that elegantly captured this exuberance. Yet, even before I came to know the names of these Greats, I was inspired by 70's icons closer to home.

As a girl, it was pure delight discovering photographs that archived my mother's and aunts' sassy style. As shown on those sepia toned pages,  maxi dresses, halter tops, bell bottoms, gowns, sexy tshirts, platform heels and big hair were au rigeur.

 Seeing my mother and aunts in all their vivacious, sensual and confident glory transformed how I viewed them and provided a few tips I came to value...Dress up, have fun & live life boldly!

Top: Ancestral Memory
Skirt: Vintage Liz Clairborne; Thrifted
Clutch: Thrifted
Earrings: Vintage; Thrifted
Shoes : Zara but DIY embellishments
Cuff: Indian
Rings & Bangles: Baba

Photo Credit : Kaye McCoy

Beaded Bibi

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Beaded jewellery is such a cheat sheet to adornment. The geometric patterns and gleeful colours liven the most simple of outfits... A white tshirt. A black dress. Head to toe denim. 

Created by indigenous cultures that have been around for centuries upon centuries, these well made beauties manage to look fresh and modern while  telling of a pedigree steeped in history. They are true classics.

Denim shirt: Madewell; Thrifted
Jeans:Banana Republic;  Thrifted
Bangles: Maasai {Kenya} & Zulu {S. Africa}

Photograpy Credit : Aqueldon "Q" Burns

*For the inquisitive, Bibi is the Swahili word used for addressing ladies. 

Spending the Day Blue

Friday, August 7, 2015

One thing I cherish about Atlanta is the abundance of cute old neighbourhoods within the city itself. They  possess so much character and charm. Some of them, with their brightly colored wooden exteriors,  lattice trimmings and cosy verandahs, remind me of the traditional houses of my native Caribbean. Case in point, Cabbagetown. 

The neighbourhood, originally named Factory Town and Fulton Mill Town, was built in 1881 to provide housing for workers at the  Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill. Many of these laborers were transplants from the Appalachian mountains of Georgia. They were largely of Irish~Scottish heritage and much of their cuisine consisted of cabbage. {I'm not being facetious!}. The scent was so prominent that passersby derisively called the neighbourhood Cabbagetown. The residents weren't offended though. Instead, they embraced the moniker and continued to nurture a proud community.

Eventually {in 1977},  the mill closed and as a result of the ensuing economic decline, the  residents went elsewhere in search of better opportunities. Fortunately,  that was not the end of the cool little enclave.  During the 1990's, new life was breathed into the community with financial reinvestment and growing  interest among artists to live there. Today, the "shotgun" and cottage style homes are well taken care of and are a source of pride for Atlantans, even for honorary ones like myself. 

Dress: Vintage
Photo Credit: Adinah Morgan

Village Dispatch: Trinidad & Tobago with Safa

Monday, August 3, 2015

There are some people with whom you connect immediately and purely even without meeting them face to face. Safa is one such person. Even across the virtual realm of social media, we recognized a divine sisterhood in each other. It's precious to encounter soulmates...those people who just get you and Safa gets me. Among the plethora of things we share in common, is our profound love for Mother Nature and for the natural environment of our country Trinidad & Tobago. For this reason, as I prepared to publish the first Village Dispatch post, I knew that Safa would be the ideal person to share my beloved home with you. So... meet Safa and meet Trinidad! 

Ancestral Memory: Trinidad, unlike her sister isle Tobago, is known for being very industrialised. Despite this,  she still holds much natural beauty. How did you come to know this intimately? Also, what are your favourite places on our island to spend time with nature? 

Safa: Trinidad is a place of boundless beauty. From a very young age, I've greatly appreciated the wondrous things this island offers. Thankfully,I had parents who recognised my adventurous spirit from a very young age and fostered it to the best of their ability. As an adult, I've continued to explore Trinidad and I'm always amazed at the places I find. I want to continue and hopefully expose to others the magnificent backyard with which we are blessed and encourage them to explore it.


Three Pools in Blanchisseuse has been a favourite since I was introduced to it in October of 2014. Apart from the water, it's the only place I've been to where I see alot of Emperor butterflies. If you are still enough, they fly right up to you.  Their blue colour is brilliant. Aptly named, Three Pools is home to three fresh water pools that are connected. My favourite is pool #2. There's a bank on it perfect for relaxing, that way you can ease into the pool. However, if you're like me, you can climb then jump into it.

The Rio Seco Waterfall is pure magic. It's a 40 minute hike for me depending on who accompanies me. {I can make it in 25 minutes with my brother}. The destination is well worth the journey. It is so deep within the forest that the only sounds you hear are rushing water and the occasional capuchin {monkey} taunting you from way above in the trees. The water is a beautiful green, and jumping from the waterfall is a must! It's a wonderful place to communicate with Mother Nature and to reflect.

The Bamboo Cathedral  is {another} deeply spiritual place for me. From the moment you walk in, you are surrounded by what I describe as ancestral chatter. The sound of wind and bamboo dancing with each other is like prayer.It immediately ushers me to close my eyes and receive whatever it is they are saying. There are also monkeys playing above as they snack on the cocorite palm fruit. If you continue to the top of the hill, you'll find the remains of an old tracking station used by the United States during the Cold War to spy on the Soviets. It's beautifully haunting and worth the trek.

Photos taken by Khalil Waldropt, Muhammad Hamidullah & 
Safa Hamidullah. 
Please respect their intellectual property by not using these images.

Chat to Meh Back

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I'm a sucker for a good print especially if it's in the form of a maxi dress, or jumper or twin set...Well, you get the gist. With that said, I deeply enjoy solid coloured dresses in vibrant tones. Dresses like this orange shift here have become a consistent part of my style repertoire. Pieces in saturated, exuberant colour without the punctuation of patterns are so straight to the point. They're unfussy and make such great slates for styling. I didn't even try on this linen shift because I just knew it was right. Indeed, it has proven a good buy. It's simple but far from plain. I like that it presented an opportunity for me to wear some jewellery I haven't worn in a while: wooden and ivory coloured Bangles { love elephants too much to ever buy real ivory} & turquoise coloured wooden earrings. A straw bag added one more cool texture to the ensemble.

Dress: Thrifted
Basket bag: Thrifted
Bangles:Collected from various sources
Earrings: Bombay Gal