Dingani Beza

Philanthropist / Energetic / Visionary

GROWING UP:  I am from Jefferson City, Missouri. I have a B.A. in Religious Studies and have begun a Masters in Religion and Medicine at Emory in Atlanta, GA.

CURRENT GIG: I am the VP of Operations for a non profit my family founded.  We supply health care to women and children in Malawi, Africa. We build health clinics. I am also an Actor and Producer. I love being in front of and behind the camera.

EXPERIENCES WITH RACE:  I am from a very conservative and traditional value system in the Midwest. I was dating a white girl in high school for 4 years. Her parents never knew about it. We couldn’t go to prom together. We had to hide going out, she would have white friends pose as her boyfriend. When her parents would come home, I even had to hide in the closet at times while her other friends stayed in the living room.  It really affected me and it just became the essence of how I lived my life as a young person.  I probably didn’t realize how much it affected me. It caused me depression and pain, but I still chose to be in it because I didn’t know any different. I didn’t know that that wasn’t a normal part of life with white people.

I am from a generation 30 years after the civil rights movement and we are still accepting racism and I have a hard time with that.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I don’t just like rap music. I own Madonna’s Immaculate Collection.  I am karaoke king. I wear my pants on my waist. I shop at Trader Joe’s.  TV and Film don’t show these characteristics enough. I am a father and I love my 8 yr old daughter to death. I go to work every morning, I love America. I pay my taxes and I am patriotic.  I love baseball and I am a Cardinals fan.

I am not better than anyone, I am just like you.  I make it a point to connect with people. I am a Christian and family is very important to me and to life in general. I believe it is important to have a focus and vision for success in life.

Photographed by Renee McMahon