Ayesha Walker is an exceptional mother, social entrepreneur and artist. She is an alchemist, creating opportunities for herself, family and community to transform the deepest pain into power and passion. She is the co-founder and CEO of BE-IMAGINATIVE, an Emmy award-winning collective of exceptional artists, powerful healers, and impactful community leaders who are dedicated to healing the immense grief of black, indigenous and brown communities through creative storytelling. Ayesha is an agent of change, with a background in education, youth development, nonprofit organizations, as well as over 15 years of experience in media production, brand development, and performing arts. She is a board member of The Song Remedy, a non-profit dedicated to healing our communities through music and advisory board member of POWR, an organization that works to provide educational services and products for youth and adults, to help prepare them for success in a rapidly changing world.
Tell us: what excites you about your work right now?
BE-IMAGINATIVE is a living, breathing process and prayer, an affirmation and a call to action for us to recreate the stories and the destinies of our people by way of the imagination. Black, Indigenous and People of Color are creating new realities, leaving behind new legacies, and thriving in new conditions that catapult us into a new way of living life. I am excited to be part of this movement of healing and liberation with people who are reimagining a new society that promises safety, restoration, healing, joy, and power for ourselves, our families, our community and our people.
What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?
BE-IMAGINATIVE was born out of our need to be a different kind of activist. Our model consists of community healing retreats, artistic interpretation, and community celebrations that strategically focus on the counter narratives of disruptive hope and healing, all rooted in the collective honoring and celebrating of our ancestors who have transitioned on.
What feels rich and abundant in my work right now is this thought:
Though we have experienced death due to issues that disproportionately impact us as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, on the other side of the same coin, the immense amount of grief we have means we have an abundance of ancestors who are waiting for us to tap into their collective spiritual energy, giving us insurmountable power in our collective healing processes.
Ancestral support feels extremely rich and abundant right now. No matter what, we are unstoppable.
Who do you dedicate your work to?
I dedicate my work to my angel babies, my twins – Mali and Assta Mitchell. Ase.
They gave us the vision for BE-IMAGINATIVE.
And to all of our ancestors of our organization. Ase.
They guide and support us in carrying out our mission.
Sometimes we don’t know how we will get through some of life’s challenges.
The beauty is, we don’t have to know, because we are supremely guided.
Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading? We are really excited to learn this about you!
I am so inspired by Ancestor Malidoma Patrice Somé. Ase.
Born in a Dagara community in Dano, Burkina Faso he was a shaman, writer, leader, teacher, healer and so much more. I am so blessed to have sat at his feet during his last Ancestralization retreat with my dear sister Shirley Johnson. This was only 4 months before he transitioned out of the physical world and into spirit. He has taught me, and so many of us, how to connect with our ancestors in ways that I have never known before.
One of my favorite quotes of his comes from his book, The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual and Community, he says, “Death is not a separation but a different form of communion, a higher form of connectedness with the community, providing an opportunity for even greater service.”
Ancestor Malidoma Patrice Somé’s work supports us in learning how to allow grief to transform us in ways we could never imagine. With his guidance, we come back to the African and Indigenous ways of being in community, honoring ourselves, our ancestors, our guides and our collective healing processes.
How can people reading this support the work you are doing?
For those who feel called to love up on us and support us, you can...
-- Donate money and sign up for recurring donations on our website: http://www.be-imaginative.org/donate
-- Connect us with people who have the money, talent or resources to support us in building sustainability for our work -- maybe that person is you.
-- Follow us on social media @beimaginativecollective on instagram and facebook – like, comment and share our work.
What do you understand differently about wellness?
I am releasing old programming. I am (re)learning that I have to have a village of people supporting me in every area of wellness in my life: emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, mentally, socially, environmentally, and occupationally. I am not qualified to go at it alone. The more I surround myself with people in my life who hold me accountable to loving and supporting me, the better I am. I am thankful for the people in my life who remind me over and over again to come back to me.
What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?
I cry regularly for emotional maintenance. I get out in nature with my kid and the ones I love. I work out for physical wellness with @catfitness3. I honor my ancestors with @beimaginativecollective, @thesongremedy and @soldevelopment. I dance salsa and shake my ass fearlessly. I bowl. I do my shadow work with my sisters @soulisticwellness and @salina.e.mae. I take @soulisticwellness’s sadhanas and practice Kundalini yoga. I act a damn foo with my family and friends. I practice authenticity and vulnerability. And quite honestly, when I struggle with balance, I just practice having compassion for myself.
The Transistance Network
Black Inmate Commissary Fund
Indigenous Karuk and Yaruk Ceremonial Leader
Sovereign Spirit Death Care
Cofounder, CEO of BE-IMAGINATIVE
Freedom Community Clinic
Somatic Experience Practitioner
Cofounder, The Grinding Stone Collective
Nature Center for Meditation
Black Men Speak, Inc.
Peer Support Space
Black Boys Om Inc
Gender Expansive Liberationist Medicine Person
Founder, Rising Hearts
Assistant Professor of Linguistic and Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
Anishinaabe Cultural Specialist, Anishaable Agriculture
Founder, Black Mermaids
Cofounder, Toj + Tijax
The Dream Experiment
I Am Yoga CLT
Founder, Pink Opal Magic
Founder, Financial Liberation Movement
TouchBot Pleasure Tech
Founder, Queer Kanaka
Black Creative Healing
End of Life Doula
Founder, Latinx Grief
Founder, Postpartum Healing Lodge
Founder, Zepp Wellness
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Executive Director, Semillas y Raices
Founder, Tristan Katz Creative
Founder, Ancestors in Training
Founder, Xude Yoga
Rest In Power Yoga + Reiki