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RADICAL SELF CARE: EP. 5 - MENNLAY GOLOKEH AGGREY

RADICAL SELF CARE: EP. 5 - MENNLAY GOLOKEH AGGREY

In Conversation with Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey
AFROPUNK partnership

EVERY THURSDAY AT 8PM ET, HEAD OVER TO THE AFROPUNK IG LIVE CHANNEL FOR THESE WEEKLY CONVERSATIONS CURATED BY HUMBLE BLOOM'S SOLONJE BURNETT WITH THOUGHT LEADERS AND ENTREPRENEURS IN MUSIC, AGRICULTURE, BEAUTY, MINDFULNESS, NUTRITION, SUSTAINABILITY, SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT AND MORE.

Photo credit: Klinckwort Laframboise for Broccoli Magazine

Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is the author of The Art of Weed Butter and an interdisciplinary cannabis entrepreneur legally working with weed since 2005. As a creative in the field, her clients have included Whoopi Goldberg’s line of cannabis products, and Laundry Day, a collection of “design forward smokeware.” Her formal background is in journalism, with over seven years of experience in content creation roles, freelance writing and cannabis cultivation. She currently resides in Mexico City exploring cannabis and the diasporic connections between Africa and Latin America. She is the co-founder and creative director of Xula CBD, the co-host of Broccoli Talk podcast, and the founder of a new benefit pop-up dinner, Cenas sin fronteras.

What's your current theme song? If you have a reason, please share.
Blessed by Shenseea (with Tyga). It's a theme song for grateful, confident, and blessed boss bitches.

What are you working on in the cannabis space?
I am Co-founder of Xula CBD, a Mexico's soon to launch Latina-run cannabis brand. As well as co-host of Broccoli Talk; a podcast for cannabis lovers and Founder of Cenas sin Fronteras, a charity pop-up dinner supporting black and brown migrant folx in the borderlands.

Tell me about your journey to now. What impactful moments led you to your work?
I became involved with cannabis in 2005, growing medical marijuana in Humboldt County, California, America’s pot promised land. I was one of few women of color doing the job. I remember feeling hidden in a very hippie slash redneck zone before I retired from farming to focus on writing, branding and advocacy. But the evolving industry pulled me back, with opportunities to consult with companies from Whoopi Goldberg’s line of cannabis products, to Laundry Day, a collection of “design forward smokeware”.

I now consider myself a cannabis creative, uniquely positioned to offer advice in a fast-expanding and competitive field, which many are rushing to join. The way the mainstream thinks about weed has finally caught up to me, and has evolved into an arena where I can openly advocate and thrive in the field.

Who and/or what motivates your passion each day?
My mother, my West African roots, my hood and my legacy.

How do you define Radical Self Care?
Radical self care that doesn't have to make sense to anyone else but you. It is self care that can be as selfish or selfless as you please.

What rituals do you have to help maintain homeostasis of mind, body, and spirit?
These days my rituals revolve around meditation, yoga, leaning into work, caring for my plants, my partner, my family and community in the best way I can.

How do you incorporate plants into your well being routine? How is the cannabis (THC, CBD, CBN, etc) a part of your plant ritual?
Since 14 I've been incorporating cannabinoids into my wellbeing through direct, unconscious and conscious consumption. But since 2005, it's been not only my been my main ritualistic form of plant medicine, but it literally has kept me fed and paid. So my relationship to cannabis as my well-being is maybe deeper than I can express here on these lines.

Who would you like to experience an altered state (dream elevation + discussion) with and how would you achieve this flow state?
James Baldwin, to talk about the parallels of being a black writer. Baldwin seems like the perfect person to have a stoned writer’s workshop with. I'd love to thank him for all he’s done for this troubled world. My paternal grandmother, Mennlay, whom I was named after. I know nothing about her and if her and I could share a joint together, it would no doubt be magical.

My maternal great grandmother, Gracie Miller, who raised my mother on a chicken farm in Liberia. She was a teacher, educator, community leader and feminist. I owe so much of who I am to her.

Lastly, Jerry Garcia. He had one of the most tender voices and I’d love to sing in harmonization with him high AF.

Love the phrase "slow down to speed up", what does that mean to you personally and within the present global pause?
To stop, breathe and chill the f*** out.

What is the gift you bring to community?
You'd have to ask the community.

What has been the most challenging for you during this time?
As a black woman, it gets disheartening and exhausting to have to “teach” and explain the problems of the cannabis industry. The issues within the cannabis industry are directly linked to the issues with capitalism and its foundation of white supremacy. Black women for too long have had to be the educator and nurturers, literally breastfeeding nations to maturity and abundance. I'm tired of having to do that. I am a cannabis cultivator, I am a writer, I am though I have the utmost respect for educators, I am not one.

What made you become an advocate in the space and for the plant?
I’ve dedicated and sacrificed 15 years of my 36 years on this planet to a plant that has changed my life, my relationship to the world and my body. I want that awakening for all people, for black people, for black women, and especially the older generation of black women who’s bodies are left without care, appreciation or support.

As women, as we age, our bodies are somehow no longer of value (according to the sis while male gaze). We see it in Hollywood, we see it in advertising, we see it in 2020 despite all of our buzzwords like inclusion and body positivity. I want to be an advocate for those bodies, for aching bodies like my aunties and aging mother, who are left in the shadows. The same bodies that built all nations. These bodies are important and need to be protected.