Extraordinary women: Celebrating Angelique Dawkins

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She’s lovely, bubbly, has an infectious ‘joy de vivre that’s envious, and at the same time she’s a brain. She’s loads of crazy fun in a good ole fashioned way! Her personality is as fully charged and as versatile as her constantly changing hairdo’s and looks.

She is always calm, peaceful, and is possibly the most friendly person you’ve ever met. She is warm and extra down to earth. She has a brilliant mind and an equally brilliant humanitarian heart.

Angelique Dawkins studied accounting and theatre with a major in literary English and theory. She also studied feminism, and African American history at the age of 23 at the Louisiana state university.

Angelique got her masters in Educational theatre at the age of 27.

 

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NEKITA:         Who are you?

ANGELIQUE:   I love not answering this question. My name is what I am called, my job is what I do, all of these  identities are not who I am. I’m love, mature, childish, scared, free, all encompassing, innocent, sinful, happy, sad, empty, full.

Wow that is a lot of binaries. There is the me that you see and can’t be explained and there is the me that you expect me to be and then there’s the me that I am.

 

NEKITA:         Describe yourself in two words.

ANGELIQUE:   ‘Too much.’ For example – I’m always too much of something. Too fast, love too much, or too cool.

 

NEKITA:         What’s your best quality?

ANGELIQUE:   That is a question for those who benefit from it. Not giving up I guess.

 

NEKITA:         What’s your worst quality?

ANGELIQUE:   Overthinking, not knowing when to let go, not paying attention to detail, lack of discipline.

 

NEKITA:         Now, you come from a very interesting, rich multicultural background. Do you mind sharing this with us?

ANGELIQUE:   I don’t mind at all Nekita, but it is a bit complicated, I hope you will understand. My mum’s father is Cajun, and my mum’s mother is black American. My grandmother on my dad’s side is half white, half Cherokee and her husband too.

My grandfather had to pass for black so that he wouldn’t get into trouble with who he married.

My siblings and I grew up being told we were Creole – this is a Cajun mettise mixed with the French.

I couldn’t resonate with the Cherokee tribe when I tried to and then I realised I resonated more with my French heritage.

This quest to learn more about my heritage brought me to France. I came to France to learn the language, to visit and to eat eclairs (laughs) and here I am still, many years later. I fell in love with France I guess.

 

NEKITA:         So when people ask you where you come from in terms of cultural heritage what do you say?

ANGELIQUE:   I used to joke that I was raised by wolves. Ultimately I’m  just me.

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NEKITA:         What’s the difference between the way the society views your culture in America and the way they view it in France?

ANGELIQUE:  It’s quite shocking and far fetched from each other. In America I am viewed as a black person, but in France I am viewed as a class of people called ‘Mettise’ a mixed race. So here in France it has been a bit confusing for me being black but not being seen as black. The French feel free to talk to me about Blacks, Arabs and other races without really noticing that I am black myself. It’s a little bizarre.

However, I am not a victim to racism here as I could have been in the states.

 

NEKITA:         What do you do and what do you hope to be doing in the next five years?

ANGELIQUE:   I’m currently a teacher and I love my job. I don’t take myself too seriously and I have always had an affinity with younger people.

 

NEKITA:         What age category do you teach?

ANGELIQUE:   I teach all ages, and different classes but I prefer the ages 2-5. They’re calm, don’t ask for too much, they’re not always dog eat dog like the unruly and chaotic teenagers. I also enjoy teaching older people too.

 

NEKITA:         How do you manage difficult students?

ANGELIQUE:   A few of the difficult kids I actually like and take on as a challenge. I understand that they might be wanting attention, affirmation or they might have problems at home.

The bad kids usually make good leaders. Problem children I call them.

School demands you to fit in a box and conform.

But some kids don’t fit and they think out of the box.

 

These kids I put in the spotlight, I make them interactive, I banter with them. I don’t want to put pressure on them. I want them to get the leadership roles they want, but in a positive way.

Sometimes I think these problem children don’t like me but in the end I discover that they do and It’s a pleasant surprise. They just have issues with baring their emotions.

Sometimes we meet again years after my teachings and to my surprise they are even more respectful, helpful and thankful to me for having taught them than when they were my students. It gives me joy to know that I can touch lives and hearts like that.

I also had issues with my looks. I could tell that sometimes to the older students, I too looked just like a student to them.

In terms of what the future of my career looks like, I’d love to continue with teaching, however I have another side of me ‘a calling’ perhaps that is interested in studying and delving into cardio research. I would love to spend the rest of my life fixing broken hearts so to speak. I love to learn and I want to keep learning. Teaching and research are both jobs that I love because they give me the opportunity to keep learning, educating myself and reinventing myself constantly. Working at the university gives me unlimited access to knowledge and to libraries. I have the opportunity to share this knowledge with the world. This is what I love.

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NEKITA:         What has been your major career milestone?

ANGELIQUE:   Getting hired at the university of Grenoble, France.

 

NEKITA:            Which female inspires you the most?

ANGELIQUE:   Too many. My mum, she married three times and she’s still with my dad who is awesome.

She kept trying until she found the right one.

I have always admired her for that. Even though he is not my biological dad, he is just like a dad to me. I have learnt so much from him and he is someone I can lean on.

My grandmother also inspires me and so do my friends. There are just too many for me to name just one.

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NEKITA:         What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in life?

ANGELIQUE:   That sometimes the lesson isn’t yours.

 

NEKITA:          What has been the most trying obstacle you’ve had to overcome in life and how did you over come this?

ANGELIQUE:  Raising two beautiful children as a single mother has been very challenging. I overcome through prayer, patience and perseverance.

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NEKITA:         When you first came to France, a while later you found yourself needing shelter, is that right?

ANGELIQUE:   Yes I lived in a foyer which was like a kind of homeless shelter for women in Valence France, for two years. I shared space with women from all over the world. Some were refugees. Few were English speaking. It was a very trying time and not where I’d expected to find myself, not even in my dreams. For the sake of my son I endured and struggled and I lifted myself out of that situation, got a job, got a house. I wanted my son to be grounded in his country of birth and in his father land.

 

NEKITA:         What word of advice would you give to single ladies or single mothers out there?

ANGELIQUE:   To keep trying as long as the other person is also trying. Some people give up and start becoming hateful, resentful, or bitter. Some people who have been in abusive relationships never get over their traumas.

I take my time, I try not to rush into things.  But I don’t give up on love. I’m romantic. Traditional but not conservative.

I think men and women are different but should be treated equally.

That does not mean that I feel inferior by having different roles from men. I’m not a door mat, and no woman ever has to be.

 

NEKITA:         Tell us a bit about your hobbies.

ANGELIQUE:   Prince is my hobby! (Laughs) I read when I have time. I like music, dancing, singing, bringing friends together, socializing, and I love to eat.

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NEKITA:         What is it about Prince that inspires you so, and how did his death affect you?

ANGELIQUE:   His ability to assume his sexuality and his spirituality. Something I still struggle with to this day. His unapologetic blackness and ‘butterness.’

His weird music, his calm demeanour and talent.

His death was really sad. Prince was one individual who was clearly able to be himself and continued to search and evolve.

Someone so loved, respected and accepted just the way he was, died alone.

 

NEKITA:         Everyone has a sense of fashion and personal style. What’s yours?

ANGELIQUE:   I either look fabulous or homeless. lol. There’s no in between. I like the styles of  San Jose weather woman Roberta Gonzales and Gwen Stefani. At the moment I am really interested in steampunk and trying to incorporate that into my everyday style.

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NEKITA:         What is unique about you?

ANGELIQUE:   Everything. Just like everyone else.

 

NEKITA:         Tell us a secret about you that no one else knows.

ANGELIQUE:   I’m pretty open and that is hard.

 

NEKITA:         Tell us in two sentences what you think of love, sex and marriage.

ANGELIQUE:   Sex is fun, love is air, marriage is freedom. Having all three with the same person is the pinnacle of life.

 

NEKITA:         Which movie has inspired you the most?

ANGELIQUE:   The last unicorn. I was obsessed with unicorns, castles and dragons at the time and I had a collection of unicorn statues.

The unicorn is a book and a film. It’s a journey. What she goes through is what happens when you travel. It opens you, tests you and yet changes you in a sense.

At the end of the journey she finds the others but she knows regret. She is no longer like them. Still unique, but in a new way. Still alone but aware of it and surrounded by ‘her kind.’

I have always been weird and I realise I sometimes find myself alone. But it’s okay to be unique. I have come across other people like me.

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NEKITA:         Which popular personality inspires you the most?

ANGELIQUE:   At the moment I’m going to say Shia Laboeuf. He’s doing his thing and living his truth and we don’t need to understand it. I love that.

 

NEKITA:         What is your life slogan?

ANGELIQUE:   I don’t have one. My parenting slogan is – ‘Put the mask on yourself first, then help the child.

I would love to share my greatest quote with you though if you don’t mind.

It’s a quote from Obama when Ellen DeGeneres asked him a question about being the first black president.

He responded, “If that’s the way the world wants to see me, then that’s not something to run away from.”

You see the world consciously or unconsciously places so much emphasis on skin colour that we sometimes forget to look at the person within. I can resonate with that. Obama is ‘Metisse’ and probably the first president of America that is a Third Culture Kid.

 

NEKITA:            If you had the power to change the world in one way, what would you do?

ANGELIQUE:   I would make things easier.

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One thought on “Extraordinary women: Celebrating Angelique Dawkins

  1. I absolutely loved reading this article. I went to Louisiana Stateb University with Angelique and she is everything she she described her self as and then some. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I learned from her by reading this. Super inspiring! Xoxo

    Like

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