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spr 19 - Fabric
sum 19 - books
SPR 20 - spirit
SUM 20 - POWER
SUM 20 - books

SUM 20 - POWER

HOUSE OF AAMA

A MOTHER. A DAUGHTER.

Akua Shabaka

YC: How old were you when you understood the traditional idea of “power’’? What was your first encounter with power?

AS: I think from a very early age, maybe around 6 or 7, I realized that the power and the feeling of strength existed. For me, it was a cultural and spiritual thing. I remember going to traditional dance and drum ceremonies -- being engulfed in the power of the movement -- people in deep trances and a spiritual state. That's when I knew there was more beyond me and that power could also be channeled by me.

YC: What parts of your childhood informed your perspective?

AS: I grew up with a lot of influences from traditional African traditions and practices. I come from a Caribbean and Southern Creole heritage. My parents encouraged a Pan-African lifestyle, and this had a lot to do with my exposure to things that may have felt abnormal to some of my African American peers. However, my experience with the occult and traditional religions and cultures created a sense of pride and power within myself that I’ve been able to channel more as I get older -- as if my experiences as a child were preparing me for my encounters as an adult.   

YC: What’s your relationship to power now? How has it changed over the years? Did you have to unlearn anything you were taught?

AS: I think the main thing that I had to learn as I got older is that I hold the same power, spirit, and potential as those I admire and experience. Realizing that everything I search for, is within me, was a huge learning curve for me. Transitioning from simply an admirer to an empress in my own right.

YC: How do you cultivate and express power in your life? How does that translate externally?

AS: Nowadays, I focus a lot on my affirmations and manifestations of the things I want. I cultivate the energy around me as source of power that I lean on when I need a push. Remembering to trust my intuition is very important in cultivating my own power. Once you trust yourself and tend to your needs, you are tending to your greatest self, you’re connecting with spirit. 

YC: Where are the unexpected places you’ve seen power manifest?

AS: I remember when I was in New Orleans and unexpectedly got caught in a Second Line in the Ninth Ward. I had never experienced something like that first hand. The way everyone moves in unison, the rhythm of the horns, the trance state from the liquid courage. This was the essence of Black power. 

YC: Where are the intersections of spirituality and power for you? What actions or practices have you incorporated in your life to cultivate personal power?

AS: As a Black woman, calling upon ancestors, orishas, and my spirit guides cultivates personal power and confidence. My favorite simple action or practice I incorporate into my daily life would have to be my affirmations and petitions. There is something sacred about using your voice to proclaim, and writing a manifestation in ink to command. 

YC: A Yardie question: What are you reading now?

AS: Right now, I'm reading All About Love by bell hooks and Seeds to Harvest: The Patternist Series by Octavia Butler. 


Rebecca Henry

YC: How old were you when you understood the traditional idea of “power’’? What was your first encounter with power?

RH: I was an adult in my early 20’s when I first understood power in regard to social constraints, dynamics, and systems of power. This was the early 90’s and I was a member of various book clubs and study groups where Dr. Frances Cress Wellsing’s book, The Isis Papers was discussed. This book explored the psychology of white supremacy. I also discovered the power Black folks have in our own culture and belief systems.  

YC: What parts of your childhood informed your perspective?

RH: My experience with living In Shreveport Louisiana, visiting family in the summer and other trips to the Southern States. There I saw the strength in Black culture. The agency in it. 

YC: What’s your relationship to power now? How has it changed over the years? Did you have to unlearn anything you were taught?

RH: My relationship to power now is one of self-determination and being my authentic self. It hasn’t changed over the years. It has just gotten stronger as I see and know clearly the strength in my cultural beliefs. 

YC: How do you cultivate and express power in your life? How does that translate externally?

RH: My life is governed by who I am and what I am. A Black woman with roots in Southern culture and the beliefs and spirituality that comes with that. It translates into how I conduct myself in this world as a reflection of the belief system of Southern Black people.  

YC: Where are the unexpected places you’ve seen power manifest?

RH: Just in regular everyday folks going about their lives. Like in the movie Rise based in Watts, California. 

YC: Where are the intersections of spirituality and power for you? What actions or practices have you incorporated in your life to cultivate personal power?

RH: My belief system is based on different varieties of African traditional religions. There is power and agency in the ways and cultural beliefs of our ancestors. 

YC:A Yardie question: What are you reading now?

RH: Mojo Workin’ by Katrina Hazzard-Donald. 


House of Aama’s expression is rooted in the Southern states of America and the Caribbean. We are a mother-daughter design duo, power team, running our fashion brand by ourselves. We started the company due to our collective interest in the cultural retention of storytelling, transference of storytelling narratives in the family context and the reclamation of these narratives within the black community. We are particularly interested in how these narratives are expressed communally, spiritually and in the present time. House of Aama is a boutique lifestyle clothing brand based in Los Angeles, California and Brooklyn, New York. House of Aama explores the folkways of the black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling. We aim to evoke dialogue, social commentary and conversations around heritage and remembrance, and to shed light on nuanced histories.