“Praise for NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes! As I read this story, we all felt as though we were sitting together raptly listening to the storyteller himself. We felt the joy of listening and the interest in a new culture, the chant, the songs. We could hear the sweet potatoes talking, we could taste the pie, we could feel the satisfaction of a solution found. Book highly recommended.” ~ Carol Lindsay, Founder, RhythmQuest Studio, The Columbia River Gorge, SW Washington
“With a million copies sold, we’ll get that Storybook Mobile and get to visit many neighborhoods to read-aloud and give away books like READ Boston does. Smiles!” ~J’miah Nabawi
CREATIVE WRITING / STORYTELLING
NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes is a delightful friends and family read-aloud story. Gather ’round for story time, assign the parts and let the drama begin! Quashee Alice Accra (a.k.a. Gullah Quashee) is J’miah Nabawi’s alter ego. Dedicating the story to his family of “delicious sweet potato pie makers” and Gullah/Geechee kin, NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes is another one of J’miah’s use of “inventive arts integration of language, play, and cultural heritage.” Reflective of his brand of storytelling and the use of tall tales, NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes is upbeat, language-rich cultural diversity. With NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes, J’miah Nabawi pays homage to his paternal grandmother’s Gullah/Geechee Ghanaian roots. NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes is a journey into the community of advocates intent on preserving the unique language known as “Gullah” and maintaining Gullah/Geechee folkways, history and cultural heritage. Throughout the story are several collective works by various visual artists, J’miah Nabawi’s way of supporting artists and promoting obscure and/or lesser known works and artists through his book covers, illustrations, blog posts and monetary donations. (Learn more about Gullah and Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage at gullahgeecheenation.com and via online searches: Gullah/Geechee references, South Carolina and Georgia, Southeastern United States.) Now, let’s check in on NahNah Binyah. Enjoy! ~ Books for Growing Minds
“. . . Heyyy chile! How oona fuh do? Fuh sho! Uh hab de pie done mek!” said NahNah Binyah in her rapid-fire Gullah.
“O’ me, O’ me, O’ me, O’ my. Uh wan sum sweeeet tatuh pie! O’ me, O’ me, O’ me, O’ my. Uh wan sum sweeeet tatuh pie!” sang NahNah Binyah. . . .
From the Author’s Point of View
First, I will admit that my three muses for this story (NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes) are the late Patricia Jones-Jackson, m.s.r.i.p., (“When Roots Die”), Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”) and Marquetta “Queen Quet” Goodwine.
The spark that led me to actually take action, to begin writing down the story I’ve been performing over the years, was the question: “Why haven’t you published this, yet? I want the book!” said a couple of grand-parents attending a Vacation Reading series at one of the local libraries here in Savannah (GA) one summer.
My Gullah/Geechee explorations got started while reading “When Roots Die” by Patricia Jones-Jackson. I had bought the book at a book store during a visiting artist residency break in Cincinnati, OH. That book lead back to one I already had begun reading some time ago by Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner on African retention in the Diaspora. Add to that, Julie Dash’s realization one day that her dad was speaking English with that Gullah lilt to it and she wanting to learn more about her Gullah/Geechee roots with the conversation Queen Quet had while riding the subway in New York City, informing two transit riders who thought Gullah was of some long-ago, bygone days of the past were all too familiar with me and what my dad had told me about his mother, her folkways and food-ways.
Now being here in coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, in the mix of it all with pop-up conversations and various media that say “it appears that the Gullah language and Gullah/Geechee folkways are diminishing with lesser influence on the youth is what NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes is about. It’s a response to those above-mentioned views and concerns. Although not exactly written as I tell it with hyperbolic performance, it is my first step at publishing works in that direction and joining others to preserve as well as perpetuate Gullah/Geechee linguistic and cultural artifacts as I understand them through my experiences and self-expression.
Sweet-grass . . .
Sweet words . . .
Sweet gatherings. . . .