“I’m really proud that I made my own cosplay - which is the art of dressing up as non-existent characters, like anime or even Game of Thrones. My first cosplay was one of the great known Japanese cosplays called Naruto and I gender bended it. He was a really cool male character that I flipped and turned into a female character. Cosplay is a form of expression so that we can bring out our inner creativity. People admire you and they ask you for pictures so it’s pretty awesome.”
"He teaches me how to be nice to people. It could be the worst day for him and he’d still be smiling. He loves to be outside, he loves to be in the community, and he loves to gamble at Harrah’s."
“What’s his gambling strategy?”
“He don’t hit 16!”
“He just started laughing… it’s so much fun. My boyfriend and I will be playing with him and he’ll start to laugh and then my boyfriend and I will laugh and he’ll get scared. It’s like the sound is too much for him. And then he’ll start crying. It makes us laugh even more.”
"It’s a day to day struggle feeling like there’s people that just don’t like you because of things that you like about yourself, that you feel are great. Like being an eccentric dresser, or whatever your sexual orientation is, or your gender preference. All of these things - I’ve just learned overtime about myself and learned that its okay to have these differentiations from other people. And that it’s beautiful to have them! Recently we got shot at leaving the house one night. I tried to make sense of it in my head, but there’s just haters out there."
“Do you remember the moment when you fell in love with music?”
“Hell yeah. I was like 4 or 5 years old and I was hanging out with my brother in our parents’ living room and he put on a Metallica CD when we had just gotten our first CD player. He started head-banging and I was trying to do it and he was like ‘No, you’re doing it all wrong.’ And he grabbed my head and showed me how to head-bang on beat with the song. After that I played air guitar to every song that came on the radio and begged my parents to get me a guitar until I finally got one when I was 12. I didn’t have a lot of friends and I played music and just met everyone. When I taught guitar I would tell my students ‘You know a guitar might just be a guitar to a lot of people, but to me it’s the only thing that made me come out of my shell and become the person that I am.’”
"Before I started boxing and stuff I had bad grades, but now I’m making A’s and B’s. It teaches you discipline. Just because it’s just a sport doesn’t mean you can’t take something out of it in the real world.”
“What would you say to girls who want to be like you?”
“Don’t listen to what people tell you… whatever you put your mind to you can do it. No matter the fact that you’re a girl or not, you can do what the guys do.”
“I had a really great position at a company that moved everything to China… so I had to remake myself. Now I research the fungal diseases of blueberries. And she researches the contents of blueberries!”
“What do people who study blueberries stress out about?”
“Drosophila suzukii! The spotted-winged drosophila…”
"We stress out about fruit flies.”
"You know they have a lot of people that was wrongfully accused and did time in jail and got out and they only gave ‘em a bus ticket and ten dollars to go wherever… and they did all that time in jail for nothing. The saddest moment of my life was when I was wrongfully accused of second degree attempted murder. I was shot on the scene and I was an innocent bystander. My proudest moment was last Tuesday - we had a banquet for my business management leadership class at the JW Marriott on Canal and I got two awards for dedication and leadership. I’m about to graduate in December and I want to go to college and be a pediatrician."
"I’ve always had lots of hair and it was very typical African American long, thick hair. It was always a source of pain in my life. I had to comb it… the hair-dressers hated to see me and I hated to see them even more. When I first found out about locks 31 years ago, I was like ‘this is what I’ve been growing my hair for!’ And I started locking 31 years ago. And it’s just perfect for me. It’s a direct connection to my African roots and the naturalness and beauty of African women all over the world. I want to to inspire other girls to know that you don’t have to suffer through burns and perms to be beautiful. Your natural beauty is just so wonderful."
“Me and my dad sort of had this relationship that was very cut and dry. He’s a business man so it was very ‘Get this done and do it well and I’m not going to congratulate you on it because it’s your job and it’s expected of you.’ So it was always like ‘Dad, I got straight A’s! I’m going to be a salutatorian!’ and he’s like ‘Okay. You go to school to get good grades. This is not abnormal.’ My proudest moment was when I was a senior in high school - I got the call from Tulane that I’d been awarded this legislative scholarship which was completely merit based. It was significant in that it recognized all of this hard work that I’d done that more or less went unnoticed. I immediately hung up the phone with Tulane and called my dad and told him and he just broke down on the phone. And it was the moment that he realized - he said, ‘I feel like I devalued your work through high school and now that you have this incredible opportunity to go to an incredible school for free, I realize that I was completely wrong.’ I was proud of myself, but more importantly, I was so proud of my dad for getting to connect with me in a way that we never had before.”
"She’s shy now but once she gets to know you she’ll talk a hole in your head. And she loves music - especially Beyoncé. And she can sing that K Michelle!"
“Any time we have a week off in Los Angeles we think, why don’t we go to New Orleans? So that’s what we do. The other night in New Orleans I went for a walk with the dog and in 30 minutes I talked to 12 different people. It’d take a year in California for that to happen.”
"I want to be a scientist or someone who puts people in coffins.”
"I’m the first child out of five and my mom was a single parent. I said, ‘When I ever grow up, I’m going to own my own house.’ And the dream came true. It’s exciting. You’re going to really think I’m cuckoo and insane. I first walked through the back door, I went down on my knees, I was crying. I was like, ‘This my room?’ I said, ‘Oh lord!’ And the neighbors was seeing me crying because I had all the lights on ‘cause I came in at night time. And the people was at the stop sign looking at me and I was like ‘Ahhhh! This is my house!! I’m your neighbor now!’"