Artist Spotlight: Tami T
Behind every pair of eyes is a hidden world no one can see. A true artist retrieves their gifts from a cosmic landscape with no barriers, far far greater than material space- your sacred undying spirit. Fellow irreplaceable comrade and newest contributor of WWWIFI, Thamar Theodore, is a confident Leo who howls tenderly and commits to the visions shared with descendants. Her ancestors steady the helm of her soul to help her stay on course. Thamar, also known as Tami T, rages against any storm, an uncompromisable soul where mansions shelter her wild divinity. It is with great pleasure to sit with Tami T to discuss her heritage, her splendor that withstands fire, and the knowledge of self that endures. Though the world of the soul is unseen, two pupils limited by one fixed direction, Tami isn't reduced to this perspective. Her soul protects the mysterious secrets of her linages harmony to live incongruent with the sacred. The ability to bring inner and outer life in unison is important. Tami has a infinite horizon in which frames each day, but importantly she listens to the spirit that opens her eye to new frontiers and possibilities.
The world is our telescope of viewing ourselves, the world controlled by white privilege is a magnifying glass slashing and burning our rich soil. Our world of the sacred protects and nourishes. The sacred of our ancestors is calling, tears were filled with cold months leading up to DAPL, Hurricane Matthew, Louisiana and Flint, Michigan. Tears melting like a tissue in water to be given the purpose of squeezing it out with our strength, lifting off this curse of colonization. Even when the body of a fruit decays it shrinks back to its seed. Tami T, creates from the soul, draws inspiration from her ancestors to prevail and take back what belongs to her, the world that she also carries within. More questions and answers below about her fruition and how her existence is lifting that curse.
How did you learn about ‘hard work’?
I’ve only known how to be strong. I’ve only known how to move past my adversaries and stay close to my spirit. My mother was the only person to ever show me true strength and perseverance. She was not a citizen when she first moved to the States and managed to own her own hair salon alongside having to raise two kids. I remember being 8 years old running around a hair salon after school playing with my Barbie doll and rollers. My Mom was always chasing a better life and accessibility. Hard work runs in my veins.
How did unfair treatment from our social systems affect the struggles your mother faced?
Obstacles and tribulations were inherent in my childhood, but ironically not as much for me, but for my Mom. Considering that I was born in the States due to my mother’s sacrificial efforts, I had many advantages from the system including medicare, free/reduced school lunch, and financial aid for college. One of the most painful things to experience was seeing my mother denied many resources due to not being a citizen. Going back to school for her was an issue, getting affordable medical help was an issue, and any other privileges were not options for her. The immigration process is no joke and definitely a business in this society.
Any messages regarding survival through creativity you learned from your parents or life in general?
Creativity provides healing, serenity, and identity. It’s a way of reclaiming my true self. I learned that in order for me to deal with the systems in place, I must continue to do what makes me happy and serves my higher self. By doing so, I am going against the grain and shifting the paradigm to what makes sense to me. I have control over my destiny which is the most complex message because no one said it would ever be easy but…fuck complacency.
Did your parents pass on ancestral wisdom that played a role or suggests your spirituality?
I, Thamar Theodore, am Haitian-American. My parents were born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Colonized by the French, Haiti is a melting pot of African, French and Spanish influence. Haitians may speak French and/or Haitian-Creole. My parents were both educated in a country where they had to pay to go to school which was not a privilege for everyone. My mother, Ludy, a cosmetologist. My father, Wykenson, a musician, artist, and public figure. I was raised like a Haitian child in America. What I ate, how I thought, and even how I communicated was different from the “American” way. My Mom never wanted me to sleepover my friends' houses. She told me stories about bad spirits possessing people and paranormal activity she’s witnessed or was told. My protection was vital to her and therefore led to my Christian upbringing. I personally work on removing the stigmas that all Haitians practice voodoo for bad intentions. My parents appreciated various forms of art, especially music. I grew up in a musical household which is a reflection of nourishing their souls through cultural beliefs.
Our progress with discrimination is still deflated because white supremacy shifted more weight on oppression, taking credit for black success. have you experienced this blatant theft?
Taking credit for Black success and discrimination was never a new concept. This country has a way of constantly trying to re-write black history in ways to erase the past successes. Yes, President Obama was the first Black president but was never the first Black presidential candidate. Before Kylie Jenner was rocking cornrows, my ancestors were rocking cornrows as far back as 500 BC which signified religion, status, age, and ethnicity. Our culture is glorified, but there is an attempt to erase our history or overshadow it. My ethnic background and gender has been toyed with various times but understanding my past only makes my existence, authentic and significant. My ancestors had to shift culture to survive and the torch has been passed to me to do the same.
How long was the process of sponsoring your mom? What where the hurdles and hindrances?
I assisted my mother in her citizenship process for about six months which she attempted to do countless times on her own. She had once spent hundreds of dollars on paperwork to find out that the money order was never received and application papers were never processed. My mother had dealt with many disappointments fighting to get her papers in this country. Without citizenship, she had issues finding work and seeking resources to get aid as a single parent. I am proud to say that this past year, she finally acquired her residency after about 26 years of being in this country. For anyone to survive that long in this country astounds me which her circumstances. I call her an OG hustler.
Have you noticed a shift or popularity in using the term minority vs person of color?
I have noticed the shift to be politically correct and use minority over person of color which dehumanizes either way. Now I have a question: How am I a minority when I am part of the majority of the human race, “a person of color”? And for the record, color includes white too.
Have you visited your homeland? what do you know about Haiti’s history with weak efforts to address their long-standing human rights problems?
Haiti has a curse over it that has been constantly perpetuated. Being the first Black independent country has led Haiti to be punished and progression has yet to take place. My parents’ home has been written off as the poorest country, unsafe and full of turmoil when ironically so much of the opposite does exist there. The media demonizes that country which I believe is intentional and strategic. My existence is breaking that curse.
I have not been able to visit Haiti just yet, but I do feel compelled to assist in reconstructing Haiti on a systematic level. There are political issues that make Haiti vulnerable. My mother is saddened by the changes her country has endured and I believe she does want to help rebuild it. Getting her citizenship was for upward mobility and opportunity. She does not see herself living in Haiti again for the rest of her life but possibly for a limited time.
There are many funds that never reach Haiti due to people choosing to use this money for selfish greed. I refuse to send money and only resources unless I am personally helping an individual or family. The stakes that the money does not go where it belongs are too high. Haiti’s political issues have led to many loop holes where the problem is patched but never fixed. Here’s why:
“Already the vultures circle, using this tragedy as another opportunity to take advantage or worse, to engage in the pornography of suffering black bodies,” Willah wrote. “Now is not the time for tears, hand-wringing, there are lots of organizations that are quietly doing good work in Haiti that does not line the pockets of multinational aid corporations, or continue to fatten the Port au Prince elite.”
Any recommendations on where to give our money to?
Here are a few sources that are aiding Haiti’s recovery: Gaskov Clerge Foundation, Foundation Aquin Solidarite, and The Three Little Flowers Center. Find out more information from this source link above.
Thank you Women.Weed.Wifi for a platform to tell my story. I cried, reminisced, and was born again from this interview. To all the ladies in the place whose past is great. Thank you.