The Road to the Ph.D. and Stories of Black Women Who Have Endured
Edited By Cherrel Miller Dyce and Toni Milton Williams
Chapter 6. Tales from a Hip-Hop DIVA: One Girl’s Journey from the Bronx to the PhD (Dawn Nicole Hicks Tafari)
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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