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Patia Borja
Cou Cou Talks is a series of multidisciplinary conversations on philosophy, literature, art, culture, ecology, film and perspective-shifting ideas. Patia Borja talks on Assata Sakur, education, history & freedom.
Where are you from?

Jacksonville, Florida & currently I am living in Brooklyn, New York.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been in school pursuing a career in healthcare. I was unsure of what I wanted to do in my life for so long and felt I had too much to offer beyond the glitz & glamour of internet/art/fashion scenes. Helping people directly and knowing my actions make a difference is what fulfills me. Inbetween the hours I am studying & working, I am doing a lot of advocacy work centered around Black & Brown folks.

What project are you most proud of?

My ‘Fantasy World Guide to Dismantling Systemic Racism’ that I created in 2020 alongside my community. It was honest, disruptive, and I was shocked to know I had support over a conversation that seems very hush-hush in the art, music, and fashion industries.

What thoughts currently occupy your mind?

Liberation… Palestine. 
“When will I get reparations so that I can buy some stuff in my SSENSE cart?”
“Is my boyfriend going to make me Swedish pancakes this weekend?”

What's your favorite word?

“Bayanihan” (Tagalog)
It basically means participating in communal work that brings harmony and people together. 

What’s an experience that recently impacted you?

I think the experience of everyone being super (faux) supportive in different ways during ~ 2020 BLM era ~ and then things going back to normal is a weird reality for me. It’s bewildering to me to have experienced 2020, and then see the same people who went so hard for Black lives, be silent about the genocide of Palestinians...

What’s a piece that has impacted you or changed your perspective?

Assata: An Autobiography

How did you come across it?

My dad was in the military, fought in the Vietnam war, and read a lot. My childhood home was filled with books on religion, war, and race. And my dad taught me so much about where I come from. My favorite thing to learn from him was the history of The Black Panthers.  My affinity for these topics inherently led me to always checking out books at my local public library. And that is where I discovered Assata. Her autobiography helped me be unafraid to be vocal about racism and also what solidified me pursing actively learning my own history, on my own.

No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.

― Assata Shakur

What are a couple other pieces of writing you have loved? 

I read all of these books in one month recently:

  • The Wilmington Insurrection of 1898: The Democrats, The Secret Nine, and The Rise of White Supremacy by Chester Douglas
  • South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation A Journey by Imani Perry
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch
  • Bocas: A Daughter’s Geography by Ntozake Shange
What are two films that really impacted you? 

I have very granny taste in movies. MacArthur (1977) and Glory (1989), I had on VHS  just take me back in time to being amazed at historical visuals as a kid. I loved a war movie.

Favorite film of all time?

That’s hard! Maybe Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) with Sidney Poitier. Once again, I have very granny taste.

My feel good movie is...

Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby. If you ask me for a recommendation on what to watch, I’m always going to say this especially since he’s one of my favorite rappers.

Three songs I love…
  • Lil Wayne – Dedication 3
  • Melt Banana – Cell-Scape
  • Future – Pluto 3D

These are always on repeat. I’m from Florida and there’s so many big music scenes there where I feel like everyone is BOTH extremely into rap and metal/punk/noise.  I just have a lot of great memories associated with these albums.

Favorite album?

I checked myself into a psych ward in 2011 and in the Uber to the hospital, I listened to Ryuichi Sakamoto - Playing the Piano. When I got released, that was the first album I listened to in my car home. It puts me at peace. 

Any Podcasts you recommend we listen to?

Marjon Carlos’ new podcast “Your Favorite Auntie." She’s one of my biggest inspirations and I was lucky enough to be a guest on her show a few years ago.  She’s not afraid to speak the truth or call shit out which is extremely rare these days, especially in creative industries. She gets it. She’s unfiltered. She’s really like the cool supportive auntie for people that know how to think on their own. Everyone should listen to smart people talk. We need more of that.

the balconette
White | Pointelle
the cami slip
White | Pointelle
the long cami
Black | Pointelle
the thong
Black | Pointelle