53. Portrait of A Young Black Artist on Fire with Vera Grace Menafee

“The word art does not encompass the full meaning of the word”

For this week’s episode of Real Ballers Read, we interviewed our sister Vera Grace (they/she), who is easily the wisest, coolest, and most creative person we know!!

Vera just returned from a life-changing trip to Namibia and Southern Africa, where they deepened their study of Black agricultural practices. We had an awesome time catching up and getting to reflect on her experiences together.

It’s amazing how we can know our sister our entire lives, and still learn so much about them and from them in this episode.

She so fluently expresses their relationships to urban farming, dance, poetry and critical writing, movies, music, education, traveling, and our grandmother that she’s named after yet never got to physically meet.

Vera’s our younger sister and our biggest inspiration. We look up to her in so many ways and it was a huge honor to have them on the show. Every one of her answers left us speechless, so we’re sure you’ll love listening to this episode as much as we did.

0:56 Vera’s love of movies

1:43 Being a slow reader

2:03 The Influence of maya Angelou

3:56 Vera’s favorite movie

5:48 Vera’s favorite movie scores

7:05 The Meaning of Art

7:34 Art and Dance

9:04 When Vera Started to Love Dance

12:31 Vera’s story with writing

13:53 Being the Only Black Student in a Class

16:09 Poetry is not a luxury!

20:33 Vera’s connection to her grandmother

22:32 A ❤️ Story from a Research Presentation

24:53 Story of our Grandmother

29:21 The Origin story of Vera’s research project

35:56 Her approach to research and relationship to academia

40:42 Organizing around dreams and visions

45:38 Traveling to Africa for the first time

50:45 The Connection Between African Americans and people from South Africa

58:15 The Welcoming garden in Cape Town

1:03:57 You can’t describe African concepts in English vernacular

1:09:48 Everyone should go to Africa

1:11:18 Wakanda Forever

1:14:00 What are African-Americans like?

1:16:53 Solidarity between Africa and the Diaspora

1:21:15 Vera’s relationship with bell hooks

1:26:17 Writers who talk like they write

1:29:31 What Vera is dreaming about

1:36:26 What has been bringing Vera joy

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