2022 Black Highway Birthright Alum, Joye Pate
I always knew I wanted Africa to be the first continent I explored outside of North America. Being from New Orleans, I was always surrounded by popular Black diasporic culture. Although it filled me up, I still wondered about the origins of traditions and cultures of Black people in New Orleans. Once I walked out of the airport in Accra, I immediately felt an emotion of pure bliss. The sun hits differently there. The energy is lifted there. I was lifted there. My roots were nurtured. I was renewed. The best part of it all, I felt right at home.
Nothing could have prepared me for the transformation I experienced while in Ghana. My community poured into me one night during a conversation at Eden Salon. While explaining the joy I felt being engaged with creative projects at Kokrobitey Institute, Jidenna, who helped create the Black Highway cohort, asked me if I ever considered being a Creative Director. I had never heard the term before, but I immediately felt my heart race and goosebumps all over my arms because at that moment I knew that I had been realigned with my purpose.
Since returning from Accra, I have an entirely different outlook on life. I have belief in myself and my gifts. I have a new community of people who love and uplift me every chance they get through mentorship and providing access to career opportunities. I even decided to share my gifts with Birthright as a volunteer. Now, I am proud to be a part of the Birthright Tribe Team as a Marketing Manager and living my life to the absolute fullest!