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D.I.V.A. Diaries

The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured

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Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams

The Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (D.I.V.A.S.) is a group of Black women who formed a bond with one another as doctoral students as a means of support on their journey through the academy. The acronym defines the women individually and as an entire group. This anthology can be used as a practical, student-centered sourcebook for Black female doctoral candidates. By providing narratives about the importance of race, class, culture, religion, socioeconomics, and nationality, this book aims to encourage more Black women to pursue a terminal degree and to continue professional development throughout their careers. It provides readers with strategies to sustain themselves while in a graduate program, on the job market, and during the tenure-earning process. Contributors are full of passion as they encourage one another while bringing the reader into their realm of the academic battlefield.

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Chapter 6. Tales from a Hip-Hop DIVA: One Girl’s Journey from the Bronx to the PhD (Dawn Nicole Hicks Tafari)

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6. Tales from a Hip-Hop DIVA: One Girl’s Journey from the Bronx to the PhD DaWn niCole hiCks Tafari Broken glass everywhere People pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice (Fletcher, Mel, & Robinson, 1982) I was raised in Edenwald Projects in the Bronx. Edenwald was urine-soaked staircases, shootouts at dusk, and crackheads. It was also “Red Light, Green Light: 1, 2, 3,” “Hot Peas and Butter,” and hip-hop. I do not miss Edenwald, and I do. It was my culture—one riddled with drug abuse, sexual molestation, and hunger. Hence, I begin this chapter with “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. This song speaks to me. It relays the pain and frustration I often felt growing up. “The Message” spoke to my reality (Pride, 2007). And though I resent many of my Edenwald experiences, I respect the role that they have had in my development. For those experiences, coupled with the support of a powerful “village” (family, community members, teach- ers, friends, hip-hop), made it possible for this Bronx girl to achieve a PhD. Since I was introduced to the Distinguished, Intellectual, Virtuous, Academic Sistas (DIVAS) in 2011, they have come to encompass a large part of my village. The DIVAS is a collective of Black women on both sides of a termi- nal degree who support one another by offering emotional encouragement,...

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