Dorothy, dEe, Adwoa Boatemaa, and Ajua Dee
Updated: Feb 15, 2022
I, Dorothy Attakora-Gyan (she/her) a.k.a. Dee’Archives, have created this website which I am [super] proud of, using wix.com. (This is not a paid advertisement or a partnered promotion. Although the good Lord and my bank account knows; I wish it were).
But I did create this archive, which I am extremely proud to welcome you to.
For the launch of my first small business in 2009, I hired a web designer to create and upkeep my website, as well as a graphic designer to construct my logo. Both of whom were Black Afro-Caribbean-Canadian women based in Toronto. They had me together, and I was so damn proud of minadanielle.com. I have since closed that website, shut that business down, and still mourning its death.
This new site has revitalized me!
I created it all by my damn self, with the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit and Most High. As an autistic learner, I was shocked by how accessible, efficient, and exciting this whole process has been. I upload and feature pretty much all of my own content. From the writings I feature on my blog to my photography I showcase (which tell their own stories), to sketches that challenge me creatively. This space is a celebration of Black girlhood and Black womanhood. It is dedicated entirely to me, myself, and those I have shared this life with, including Mother Earth and her wildlife, waters, and skies.
This platform is important and matters a great deal to me.
As my convoluted identities become, and my complicated life unfolds against the backdrop of invisibility and erasure, this website is my archive. Dee’s Archive. An auto-ethnographical storytelling and proclamation that I, this Black-African Canadian queer Akan Asante neurodivergent extra/multi/and hypersensitive Afro-Indigenous woman, I was here. I lived to tell my own stories. I am Dorothy Osei’s granddaughter, her goddaughter, and her wildest dreams shaping into fruition. As Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “I come as 1 but stand as 10,000. So, allow me to re-introduce you to some of the versions of myself that bring this website to life.
There’s Dorothy, dEe, Adwoa Boatemaa, and Ajua Dee. (I work in 3s + 1; a trilogy followed by an encore twist).
Dorothy means, “gift of God”. It is my Christian name I was baptized into the Catholic church with. It is also the names of my maternal grandmother and maternal auntie. Dorothy is the proper one around here. She is the kind and polite lady who cares entirely too much about respectability politics, and pleasing you, especially if you’re white or white passing. Dorothy is a professional content creator who is working toward becoming a, “Dr.”. She is the A student and over-achiever. She is represented by the cyclical fish, symbolic of her Christian upbringing. She is the bougie geography nerd who loves to travel and has managed to memorize over 90% of the globes’ countries, capitals, where they are located, and what their flags even look like.
It is Dorothy who has the final say on what goes up on this website. She fusses about how things are presented and ponders much too long on how and what messages the packaging says about her and her work. Dorothy is much too sensitive and would have been broken by the world, if not for dEe.
dEe is simply put, the worst. She is represented by the impossible seahorse and loves to be on her worst behaviour. She keeps things exciting around here, if not risky, naughty, and all the way reckless. dEe keeps Dorothy Downer in check and is the autistic energizer battery that is bright and bold and entirely way too honest for her own good. dEe is the trouble-marker that gets disciplined and punished for daring to exist as she is. She detects all the bullshit, but is slow to let you know it, on purpose. She cares not if you think her a fool. She intentionally loves to play fool on purpose, just so she can catch wise. It is very likely that you will misunderstand and tone police dEe. I promise, she almost never cares. That’s where Adwoa Boatemaa steps in to save the day.
Adwoa Boatemaa is the Kumasi girl-child turned woman. A vibrant Asante shapeshifter with Elmina coastal vibes. She is represented by 4 dancing African women, was born on a Monday, and is named after a Queen Mother hailing from the dry savannah’s of Brong Ahafo. She is no doubt reckless like dEe, but in her own Indigenous way that only Spirit can direct.
Adwoa Boatemaa is the alchemist and escape artist around here. She bigs up her Akan traditions and rides for Yaa Asase, better known as Mother Earth. It is Adwoa Boatemaa that reminds everyone she really is precious and royal. Born into Akan royalty 3x over, her maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, and paternal grandfather all come from Akan royal homes, thank you very much. The British monarchy and Prince William could never, although, Harry, he keeps up.
Adwoa Boatemaa would wear African print clothing every day of the week, if she could. She is the one who took a leap of faith and started minadanielle.com, as well as this website, deearchives.com. She is the Black African feminist that refuses to be lodged solely in the past, often traveling into the future to learn how to best to disrupt these present moments. When Adwoa Boatemaa takes flight, be careful, for she turns into Ajua Dee.
Ajua Dee is the Aquarius one around here. She is the water bearer with entirely too much fire and not enough earth. She of the waters, is represented by the Asante mermaid with a kente tail. She arrived from the future in order to lead you into it. It is Ajua Dee who dreams of a sleeve on her arm, and no, not the turtleneck kind, the inked tattooed type. Ajua Dee is the mad artist that challenges herself to draw, just so she can prove to herself that she does it better than dee’man dem. She imagines that she’s a rapper who’s got bars for days, when in actuality, she only busts out the most basic of rhymes. In this way, she is the comedian that plays too much, investigates too little, and spreads fake news just to call those who believed it, “sheep”. She’s wild disrespectful, even more so than dEe. A mix between bad gal Riri and Tiwa Savage. She’s the one they love to punish and humiliate. Like dEe, she couldn’t be less bothered.
These are some of the versions of me that you will find sprinkled throughout this website. My different identities, they are all represented under the pen name: Dee’Archives.
Kenisha N. Bynoe first referred to me as "Dee'Archives" over a decade ago. The nickname touches on my sharp (but poor) memory and is a Caribbean play on words (di/de instead of the). She mentioned that I always, “dig into dee’archives”, a witty play on another nickname, “Dee”.
I dig into archives with purpose and intent.
Finding anything out about my family and our ancestral tree beyond my parents has been daunting. Archiving my familial, ancestral, and historical archives has been difficult. This website is my attempt to reach into the future and help my future bloodline out with narrating and documenting my archives. I want my children, and their children 7 generations from now to say my name, to know that my life mattered, and that our archives too mattered. Since I was a little, I have been keeping artifacts and material objects, a desperate attempt to etch my place here on earth, even if I have to create it myself. I am that friend and family member that steals and saves all of your uploaded photos because I feel like they mean more to me than to most of you.
I created this archive of myself because, who else will.
You will hear my personal stories and pieces of what I hope will one day be my memoir. I use storytelling and auto-ethnography to turn the lens in on myself. Bear witness to the unraveling of this petri dish called my life. Visit my About me and Resume page for more on my story. As a creative, I am always looking for work. Go Down Dee’Yellow Brick Road; get lost in my website; let my work speak for itself. Welcome to Dee’Archives
If this resonates, please pass it along and share it with others. If it doesn't, that's okay too. Like others, I and my words are not meant for everyone. If it is for you, please consider making a donation to paypal.me/DeeArchives. I'm also on Buy Me a Coffee at DeeArchives. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time, in solidarity.
Photo Cred: Dorothy Attakora-Gyan
Image Description: The final 4 sketches drawn by me, chosen for the tattoo sleeve on my right arm, which I began in 2015.