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 Participant Biographies

 

Clarice Gerard

Clarice Gerard is a Dutch journalist and filmmaker from American and Liberian descent. Her works are centered around a diversity of subjects like, (international political issues, identity politics concerning race, gender and sexuality and arts and culture). She was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Holland, near Amsterdam. Her parents were both born in Liberia, West-Africa. Because of the Liberian wars, Clarice came to the Netherlands when she was four years old. She is currently reconstructing and archiving her family and countries history by making a documentary on the wars and how it affected her family.

Denise Jannah

Denise Jannah was born in Suriname, a former colony from The Netherlands, where she resides. Denise is a vocalist, lyricist, composer, actress and voice educator. She released 9 albums so far and performed worldwide in over 25 countries. She received numerous awards among which two Edison Awards (Dutch equivalent to the U.S. Grammy). Denise has performed for heads of states like presidents Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel-Mandela, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Queen Beatrix from The Netherlands. Now, Denise also stars in “ELLA!”, a one-woman theatre play about the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald.

I was raised in Zeist, the Netherlands (early childhood years). The family went back to Suriname when I was 7,5 years old. Went back to the Netherlands when I was about 15,5 years old, we then lived in Driebergen. We went together, as a family (parents + 4 daughters); my father was working on a book for his doctorate, Theology. The family returned after two years, I stayed behind to finish my last year in high school and then go the University to study Law. I quit my law studies after 4,5 years, almost done but wanted to become a professional musician. So, I changed the university for the conservatory. All this is the reason why my residence is still in the Netherlands, but visiting my homeland at least once a year.

Mynalba Abby Carolina Irons

Mynalba Abby Carolina Irons is a fiscal economist, model and aspiring actress. Abby raises eyebrows whenever she enters a room with her beautiful face, long legs, brown skin and her presence that she emits. Abby was first discovered in her Dutch-Caribbean hometown Curacao by scouts from Click Models and Wilhelmina Models New York. Subsequently Abby moved to Europe to attend university and study International Economics & Business as well as Fiscal Economics and graduated with Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Fiscal Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. As a model she walked numerous runway shows at the Amsterdam International Fashion Week, Berlin Fashion Week, in Barcelona and Milan. Abby currently resides in Greater Los Angeles, California. Abby speaks 4 languages fluently English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamentu..

Arlene McGuire

Arlene grew up in Harlem, New York after her parents relocated from Jamaica West Indies. Vertikal Life Magazine selected her to be the Narrator in the Vertikal Reading Room. On Demand recordings are on the FREE App (Vertikal Reading Room) available on Google play and Apple App Store. Her voice can also be heard on Black Country Radio and Twilight Soul Radio, doing Imaging for DJ Matt Houston of the Urban Sound Suite. Now retired, she has time for writing and has a published Essay in Reflections on Purpose An Anthology, By C. Nathaniel Brown. Expected End Entertainment.Her own work of Story Poems will be published Mothers day, 2017.As a hobby she paints. Her pictures can be seen on her website arlenemcguire.com 

Eva Skeete McLeed

Eva Skeete Mc Leed, 30 years old, a teacher at a special needs high school and a singer/ songwriter. I was born in Holland to a Dutch mom and an afro-Panamanian dad who grew up in Los Angeles CA. Growing up with my mom we spoke Dutch at home. My father always spoke English to me but it wasn’t until I moved in with my dad at the age of twelve when my bilingual upbringing began. I was raised in the towns Zeist and Hilversum and moved to Amsterdam at the age of 18. Like I said earlier, my dad grew up in Los Angeles where he and his family moved to from Panama in the 50’s. So, my grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and older sister from my dad’s first marriage still live there. From the age of 22 I have been traveling back and forth during school breaks to visit my sister and other relatives in Los Angeles. Being a musician I also work with some musician’s form Los Angeles and try to visit every summer for a couple of week I’ve always felt connected to the US, cause of my family, yet the decision to move there has been prolonged for quite some time now.

Ashna Rodjan

Ashna Rodjan was born in the city of Paramaribo in Suriname, grew up in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and is from Indian descent. She earned her Master's degree in Cognitive Psychology from Leiden University. After graduating from University, she worked for several years for the Dutch government, but her extravagant personality couldn’t be contained by the 9-5 paradigm. She decided to leave this job and its financial security for a life of freedom, traveling the world and following her passion of expressing herself as an artist and photographer. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, comedian Tom Rhodes.

Gloria Wekker

Gloria Wekker is Professor Emeritus of Gender Studies, Faculty of the Humanities Utrecht University. She is a social and cultural anthropologist, who did her doctorate at UCLA (1992).

In 2006, The Politics of Passion; Women's sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora was published, for which she was awarded the Ruth Benedict Prize of American Anthropological Association. Her most recent publication is White Innocence; Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race (Duke Univ. Press, 2016), which has garnered major attention in the Dutch press. Wekker has also published on a wide range of areas, among other things about the sexual subjectivity of women in the black Diaspora, knowledge of the Dutch Academy and the Dutch multicultural society about diversity in the curriculum and on literature about the history of black, migrant and refugee - women in the Netherlands. She also writes short stories and poetry. During 2015-2016 Wekker has chaired the Diversity Commission at the University of Amsterdam.

 

"Truth burns up error."
~Sojourner Truth