Keliyah Washington is 11 and lives in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh. As one of the younger girls to share about herself with PublicSource, we wanted to be sure she understood why she was doing it and that she was comfortable with it.
When we first met, and I described the idea behind the video, she said, “Why do I have to say ‘I’m a black girl?'” I sat down on a stool next to her, searching for the right words.
“Do you know what a stereotype is?” I asked.
“Well, what do you think someone might guess about me because of my hair color?” I said, grabbing a few strands of my blonde hair.
“Um…they might say you’re dumb?” Keliyah responded.
“Yep. And that is a stereotype. And it’s not true. So now you get to tell people who you are rather than them assuming something about you. Would you like to do that?”
She nodded, smiling. She seemed into it. She launched into talking about her favorite school topics and how her career aspirations have already changed direction.
By the end of our chat, she also wanted to share one of her talents. You can hear her singing an excerpt of “Lift every voice and sing,” which she learned during Black History Month. The song is often referred to as the Black National Anthem.