Shelia Johnson

Executive Producer & Host of Gangsta Goodies Kitchen

Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Missouri.

What is your occupation?
Executive Producer & Host of Gangsta Goodies Kitchen

What is your favorite childhood memory?
One of my favorite childhood memories is revolved around picking and cleaning collard greens with my Mama on Saturdays for Sundays dinner. It was during these times that she imparted wisdom, morals, her expectations of me and mostly I learned who she was as a woman...

What does Black History Month mean to you?
In my household we celebrate Black History everyday...however black history month is a great opportunity for others outside of the black community to take time out to research, learn, listen and understand who we are as a people and the great contributions we've made historically to this nation. In addition, it is month of reverence for me - a time to honor my ancestors for their sacrifices and for continual guidance.

What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
Self actualization, mutual respect and love are critical to our growth as a community. When a people REALLY understand who they are and the power that comes from that knowledge - will lead to a sense of value in our own unique abilities and characteristics as a people.

When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
Honestly, you can't be Black in America and NOT know that. This country has done a great job of making that distinction for us. However, I was raised by an amazing Black woman who loved the skin she was in and everything it meant to be Black. So, I've always known that I am a Black in America. What that meant for me is that, I could not be average; I had to work 10 times harder than my white counterparts to get half the recognition. It means that when I walk into a room people see the color of my skin first; my personality, character and education are secondary. It meant then and still means today that I have to always fight for equity, for justice, for resources, for information and for access.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My two adult daughters have always been my inspiration. And, I've added my 3 grandchildren to my list of inspiration especially, having two Black grandsons. As young as they are, we have to teach them that America is a different place for them because of their beautiful, rich black skin.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I've contributed to my community in a variety of ways over the last several decades from mentoring teen moms (I was a teen mom), high school dance coach, parent advocacy group, community demos for healthy cooking, coordinating programs & services for senior citizens, sitting on boards, Lymphoma Ambassador, creating a platform for information gathering and resource sharing and more.


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