Abena Koomson-Davis

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"My favorite butterfly is the maniola jurtina, also known as the "Meadow Brown"…the adults fly even in dull weather, when most other butterflies are inactive. That quality inspires me to embrace joy & strength in difficult times."


Name: Abena Koomson-Davis
Birthplace: Worcester, MA, U.S.A.

What woman in your life has been the greatest source of inspiration to you? I feel like each facet of my life could have a different she-ro, from Ella to Shirley! But the one who has been my inspiration from the first breath is my mama. I took my first breaths with her, made my first sounds and we’ve been doing that ever since. She lives deeply, graciously and joyously.

When do you feel like the strongest version of yourself? I am strongest when I am in rhythm. When I balance speaking my truth and listening with compassion. When I balance eating my fill and dancing away the night. When I teach my students and when they teach me. When I can forgive and when I can receive forgiveness. When I can correct and be corrected. When I can see what I am striving for and remember where I have been.

How do you hope to inspire the next generation of women? In song. Inspire literally means to breathe in. The breath is what singing is all about. When we can sing together we can exhale the things we need to release and breathe in the energy we need. Joy is contagious. I want to share joy and let that energy fuel us toward deep humanity. I want the songs of my generation to inspire the songs of the next.

If you could spend an afternoon with any woman past or present — who would it be and what would you ask them? Shirley Chisholm. I would want to know her playlist jams. What music was she listening to? I would want to know words of wisdom sustained her throughout her career and I would want to know who her allies were and how she developed those relationships. What were the hard conversations? Where did you find support?