From the Q-mmunity
Humans of Qualtrics: Kwesi
MosaiQ is highlighting the diverse stories of its members throughout February for Black History Month with the Humans of Qualtrics project. Introducing you to Kwesi.
Are there aspects of your cultural background that drive how you identify yourself?
I love my heritage. I love my family and my people, from both Ghana and the US. And I love being able to call myself an African-American. I owe this love to my parents who worked tirelessly during my childhood to instill a sense of history within their children. We learned where our ancestors came from, what they accomplished, and the rich tapestry of culture that made up our heritage. I love expressing myself through the music and fashion of both my homes. Even during COVID, you won't see me outside without my amazing mudcloth fabric face mask from West Africa. I find myself lucky to have such strong inspirations in my own family that keep me striving to the greatest heights of my craft.
And yet, I know I'm not alone in feeling the same fears, both small and terrifyingly big, that come with growing up with colored skin in America. Too many black families in America share a common and heartbreaking moment. Young black kids are sat down and told that there is now a time when they need to start changing how they act and remember what to say and do in order not to be judged by the color of their skin to protect them from the worst-case scenario.
I remember sitting with my mom in our house in Spokane, where I learned about a young boy whose story is tragically overlooked too often in our history. I saw so much of myself in Emmett Till, and that story has stayed with me my entire life. It's a stark reminder of how we are seen, and for better or worse it has changed how I've navigated through my life (code-switching is too real).
I'm still running my marathon, but I will forever be grateful that I've had a chance to explore the wide spectrum of the black experience. European father, African-American mother. Raised in Jamaica, raised in the US. Brought up by family all over the African continent, from Ghana to Tanzania. Every day I admire the impact of Black culture in this world. Our music, our language, our food, our art - it shapes so much of our society and inspires me every day to create and contribute to that culture, to fight for the rights of all those who shape it, and to celebrate it every chance I get. As the legendary Issa Rae once said, "I'm rooting for everybody black.'
Thank you for joining us to hear from the Humans of Qualtrics. You can explore the entire series through the links below. We look forward to a future release of stories from other Humans of Qualtrics in the coming months.