Photography by Celeste Noche
December 23, 2018
Name: Salimatu Amabebe
Pronouns: they / them / she / herBackground: My father is from Nigeria, my mother is from the US.
Medium of choice: Food, photo, film, performance. I'm a chef and multimedia artist. I host vegan Nigerian dinners and Black Feast, a monthly vegan dining event that celebrates black artists and writers through food.
Astrological signs: Virgo sun, Leo moon, Pisces rising
Karaoke jam: It has been so long since I've been to a karaoke night! This is a great reminder. I don't have one jam - sometimes I want to learn a new song so I learn the words and that usually ends up being whatever I sing at a karaoke night. I think the last song I performed was "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac
How do you stay inspired in Portland?
I just keep moving. I enjoy doing several projects at a time and I like to get involved with what other people are doing and to find ways to collaborate. I walk a lot too. Sometimes I will just put on headphones and walk all over the city. When I first moved here and I didn't have a bike I would walk two hours to work. It was my favorite part of the day - just taking the time to breath in the city.
Tell us about one of your favorite Portland memories:
Before I lived in Portland I would come here to visit my sister for an entire month at a time. One winter I was leaving to catch my flight back to New York and we were both completely heartbroken that I had to leave. My mom called to say that flights were being canceled because of the storm so we checked and sure enough, my flight that evening was canceled. I remember that we were ecstatic to have even a little more time together. We walked to Movie Madness, rented a couple DVDs, picked up vegan cupcakes on the way home and spent the evening eating cupcakes and watching Death Proof. That was the sweetest thing.
Please share a time it was difficult living in Portland:
There have been plenty of difficult times here and most of them have involved having a lack of resources (housing, food, money) when I needed them and being unsure of how to ask for help/support. I know so many generous, loving, incredible people here but it has taken a while for me to learn that people want to help— it's just hard for anyone to help you if they don't know you need it. Having one of my sisters here has made every difficult time less difficult. The last time I was feeling really down she showed up at my house with a sunflower, my favorite chocolate, kombucha and a note telling me how much she loves me.
How can Portland support you and/or your community?
Come to dinner! Black Feast is created for people of color as a way to celebrate and connect within our community. And yes, it is open to everyone. You can also buy tickets for other people! I LOVE it when people do that. Good food should be available to everyone so if you want to buy an open ticket, I will make sure it goes to someone who needs it. If you are a person of color and can't afford to come to dinner, get in touch. There are so so so many ways we can support each other, so let's do all of them.