Daytonian of the Week: Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone inspires, moves and creates moments of thought for her audience to ponder with her poetry and performances.

She has many other titles, including author, educator, community activist, producer and entrepreneur, and puts great energy and passion into every project.

She's president of Tripple Croxx Entertainment, the director of Signature Educational Solutions, an independent creative arts & educational organization in Dayton; and the artistic designer and producer of the Off Broadway Theatrical Revue "The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show" at the Loft Theatre. She was also a 2014 TEDxDayton speaker, and you can see her talk below:

Can you label yourself? What do you do?
Creativity does not have a label. The work often leads the way.

Where do you live (neighborhood or city)?
We live in the country -- out in the backwoods.

What superpower would you love to have?
To either fly or heal. I'm torn between the two. I think I would like to heal, but if I could have two powers, I want to fly too.

What inspires you about life in Dayton?
It's a great place for education. It's rich in art and culture. We settled in Dayton because we thought it was a great place to raise our children.

February is Black History Month. How do you think black Daytonians have contributed to black history?
It's wonderful when you look at the musicians who lived here, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Bing Davis, the poetry, the African-American owned restaurants -- all of it came from here, rich in black history. 

Is there something that brings your personal pride?
The gift to create brings me great pride.

How has race impact your life in Dayton? 
By being embraced by the arts, it creates a platform to connect in a safe space. Dayton is divided to some degree, yet with the many genres and the festivals, allows the different communities to come together and learn of each.

Have you or do you face any obstacles because you're black?
I have had to jump through some hoops. Prejudice is just the lack of experience. There are always obstacles when trying to transcend through life. One of my mentors once told me to pick an angle and fight from there.

Do you think race relations have improved?
There have been improvements. Programs for the youth have improved some things, yet some days it doesn't feel like it has. The John Crawford situation shows that challenges continue because people aren't educated.

Where do you go for a great time?
De'lish Cafe, The Loft Theatre -- [I] love the work they do there. The Beaute Box to relax and be pampered. Downtown Dayton. [I] go to Wright State's creative arts events to see shows or exhibits. Some little out-of-the-way cafe for a poetry show or just down to Art Street's creative corner to sit and write the things on my mind.

What do you think Dayton will be like in 10-15 years?
Dayton is very progressive in STEM. The people will continue to develop in the arts and culture. Dayton will develop the political leadership to help it grow in education -- the more educated a community becomes, the more they invest in the beauty of their spaces.

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