A few weeks ago, I reached out to the author of Alligator Legs, a wonderful blog I discovered recently and talked about here. I really enjoyed finding out more about the person behind the words, and the meaning behind the name of her blog, Alligator Legs. Without further ado, here is the interview. Find out 7 things about her, then go check out her blog, if you haven’t already.
1. What made you decide to start blogging?
I first started blogging on MySpace in December 2005 after I quit my first job as a PR girl and becamea starving artist in New York City (I wouldn’t recommend it!). I kept a journal for many years before then, and had outgrown writing for myself alone. The blog allowed me to share my thoughts about life, love, art, and the world with other people, while enabling me to explore the craft of writing/filmmaking,which was becoming my passion. A couple of years after starting the MySpace blog, I became online editor and founding blogger of Brooklyn-based The AFRican Magazine. Since leaving The AFRican, I’ve maintained a personal blog, called Alligator Legs, on Blogger.
2. Where did the name of your blog come from?
Several years ago, I started penning a memoir called Alligator Legs based upon my experiences growing up the youngest of four daughters of Nigerian immigrants. Alligator Legs was a nickname my big sisters gave me as a child with eczema. The memoir has since metamorphosed into a novel of a different name,though I continue to blog under the pen name.
3. What do you write about?
As a writer, dancer, singer, and former MFA film student, I am a multidisciplinary artist. My blog explores themes and creative challenges related to my life as an artist, as well as topics in film, music,dance, politics, and culture. The blog is geared toward readers interested in art, artists, creativity, Africa and Africans in the Diaspora.
4. Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.
I am the daughter of Nigerian immigrants who came to the United States shortly after the Biafran Civil War. My three older sisters and I grew up in Albany, New York where our home became a rest stop for dozens of relatives and friends coming to the States. My parents were founding members of the African Community of the Capital District and started a dance troupe, the Center for African Fashion and Cultural Awareness, through which my sisters and I performed traditional Ibibio dance, drumming and storytelling in schools and venues throughout the northeastern United States. From childhood, my parents took us on regular trips home to visit relatives in Akwa Ibom State. I am currently based in Nigeria while working on a collection of essays about my late mother. Having also lived and studied in Ghana and Brazil, I consider myself an Afropolitan.
5. How do your experiences and your cultural background impact the way you view the world?
I tend to view the world from a Pan-African perspective. I see the plight of blacks around the globe as ashared historical experience of slavery, colonialism, independence, and neo-colonialism. If I were born into some other experience, I might not view the world through this lens, nor be committed to the kind of work I explore as a writer, blogger, and artist.
6. In your opinion, what does it mean to be a girl/woman today?
Given the privileges that I have enjoyed growing up in the United States, being a girl/woman has meant whatever I want it to mean. In many ways, my life is self-determined. I decide the who, what, where,when, and why of my existence. That said, not all girls/women enjoy the privileges that I do, their lives largely determined by society, politics, economics, culture, and religion. In my opinion, being a self-determined girl/woman today means working to equip other girls and women with the tools to empower themselves and determine their destinies.
7. Finally, if someone asked you to recommend some music, what would you say? What are 2 songs you just can’t help replaying these days?
I would tell them to visit podcast.casamena.com. You can thank me later! As for two songs:
Bandy Bandy//Zap Mama – Since my college a cappella days, Zap Mama has always been a favorite. Ilove this one for the vibe and the groove.
Headphone Silence//Ane Brun/Henrik Schwarz Remix – I am a slave to dance music and love love love this one for the beat and lyrics. I live in my own world most of the time and this song is the perfect accompaniment.
The wonderful loneliness
Of the headphone silence
Feels like no one can see me
They see right through me
Cuts me off
From the rest of the world
The useless strangers
Sharing my time and space
They might hear my humming
My tapping of fingers anyway
At least I have my thoughts all to myself
My contentment and the view outside
I see a rainbow complete
Resting its feet on the hill and the ground
Works as an illustration to the sound
This is a hole in time
A couple of hours when the day is
More abstract than usually