Name: Ra Malika Imhotep
Hometown: Southwest Atlanta, Georgia
Major/Minor: Double Major in Anthropology and African/Afro-American Studies with a Minor in Creative Writing
Her Campus: What attracted you to Brandeis University?
Ra Malika Imhotep: I’m a Posse Scholar, so in high school I did an American Idol-style interview where Posse showed me all the schools their program offered. I liked Brandeis because it was a small, liberal arts, research institution with a social justice focus. Also, I did my research and found out that Angela Davis went here, and I also saw a picture from the 1969 Ford Hall Takeover in a textbook. All of these serendipitous signs pointed me to Brandeis.
HC: What activities are you involved in on campus?
RI: I’m a University Department Representative for African and Afro-American Studies (AAAS) and I’m a member of the Women of Color Alliance (WOCA). I spent my junior year studying abroad in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies during the fall and in Ghana doing an experiential learning program on social transformation and cultural expression during the spring. So in my senior year I’m involved in lots of activities, but I’m not on their official e-boards.
HC: You recently made your directorial debut in the Brandeis production of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. What has been the most rewarding part of directing this production?
RI: I think being able to create a space for healing and being able to transform a space they don’t feel welcome into a space they can stake claim to and feel they have a right to was the most rewarding part. In this space I’m talking about theater, I’m talking about the stage, I’m talking about the SCC. I’m talking about just being able to facilitate sisterhood. Giving Brandeis a captivating and important and socially conscious work of art was very important to me.
HC: What is the best part of being at Brandeis?
RI: The best part of being at Brandeis is watching how much change has happened from my freshman year to my senior year—being able to see what classrooms now look like and watching the AAAS department grow. Also, there’s so many nonconventional opportunities here: I feel like there’s always someone willing to try something new at Brandeis and that’s been a saving grace for me.
HC: What has been your favorite Brandeis experience?
RI: for colored girls is definitely a standout experience for me. The Vagina Monologues my freshman year saved my life. I was going through a lot of random social things and then I did The Vagina Monologues and I found a community.
HC: What are your goals for the remainder of the semester?
RI: To finish my thesis and to continue to create spaces for healing and productive fellowship.
HC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
RI: I’ve been accepted into an African Diaspora Studies PhD program, so in 10 years I will have completed my PhD program. Whatever I’m doing, I want to be using my education to service community, and when I say community I thinking not just one specific locality: not just Atlanta, or San Francisco, or Boston. I want to think about ways I can be in Ghana doing work, and in South Africa doing work, and in Atlanta doing work all at the same time. I definitely want to be doing something that is orienteered on women’s empowerment.
Hidden Talent: I’m a superhero
Prized Possession: My mother’s wisdom
Favorite Movie: Aristocrats
Favorite Song: “Sun is Shining” by Bob Marley and “I Don’t Know” by Ruth Brown
Favorite Meal in Waltham: Pad Thai with extra peanut sauce from Baan Thai
Favorite Boston Attraction: Huntington Theater
Favorite class at Brandeis: Everything taught by the AAAS Department