Hello everyone! Welcome to KINapparel.org. When asked to put this “About Me” together, all I could think about was culture. My Ghanaian culture is what makes me who and what I am today. It has filled my life with meaning at times when my future seemed bleak. Above all, it has grounded me in faith and a commitment to contributing my talent for the common good. This site, with all its kente glory, is a representation of culture and the never ending love I have for my supporters.
I was born into a divorce. Alcohol inebriated my father’s conscience, and one day he came home to an empty house. Armed with the responsibility to care for her first child, now a single mother, my mother took me to Ghana to live with my grandmother. This was not the original plan, but it connected me deeply to my family and my culture, and eventually became a source of pride. I lived in Ghana with my grandmother for the first five years of my life. Grandma Mary was pot bellied with skinny legs. When she wore dresses, she looked pregnant, but I consider myself her last child. As her youngest, I was always by her side and she immersed me in our rich tradition.
To many, culture is one’s flag, language, fashion, music, and food. And while I love to wave the Ghanaian flag on Ghana’s Independence Day, or speak Twi, draped in the latest kente cloth, and dancing Azonto while eating jollof rice, culture has a deeper meaning to me that has informed my everyday life. Culture to me is faith and my grandmother was my religious leader and teacher. She taught me that life is fragile but with a pure mindset and a kind heart, I could touch so many people—the way she has touched me. Grandma Mary often recounts the time I got feverishly ill with malaria. She ground every leaf in her farm to heal me. She said she’ll never forget the smile that manifested so dim but yet so big on my face once I was healed.
It is the faith my grandmother had in her ability to cure me that has shaped my faith in my ability to see people through their most trying times. Culture to me is courtesy, modesty, and beauty in knowing that there are people who were raised like me and are grounded in the same beliefs. Life in Ghana was always an adventure that I fashioned with grace, assurance and respect. I loved living in a community where the standard of living wasn’t high and people took life one day at a time.
Five years went by swiftly and when it came time to start a new chapter in America, wide-eyed, I approached the white dress with crimson flowers on my grandmother’s bed—the dress I would wear on my trip back to the Bronx, armed with what Ghana had taught me—community engagement, resilience, and faith. I marched toward a path of leadership and I have not looked back.
Ghanaian culture has inured me with the need to give back. I just love to make people smile and help them find confidence in themselves. I’ve been able to do this through content creation. The summer of 2014 is when I started my YouTube channel, NaturallyPhilo. After making mini style tutorials on snapchat, my friends encouraged me to take my loud mouth elsewhere, so I did. I used my platform to empower women of color to embrace their natural selves’ by saying no to sodium hydroxide (perm) and stepping into the natural hair revolution. Since that summer, I have amassed over 143,000 subscribers and 9.5 million views. The amazing people I interact with on my channel via the comment section, and instagram, keep me going. I love you all and I will never stop. KINapparel is for you!
All in all, my Ghanaian culture has made me who I am today. Most of all, I cherish my grandmother for instilling my faith in humanity. It is with this strong backbone that I produce motivational content on YouTube, and have created KINapparel. KIN stands for “Keep It Naturally” but its deeper meaning is family. In Ghana, my grandmother charted a path for me—value your culture, keep your faith, and never give up on your most idealistic vision of the world—a path I continue to follow, with her words circling my soul.