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Shade Ashani: 'Revealing all the places I was hurt'

February 7, 2014

In a review of 'In Search of My Father,' The Times-Picayune writes, 'The Columbia University and Tulane University Masters in Public Health graduate, the Goodwill Ambassador to the Gambia, the founder of Kids International, the published author, and, most remarkably, the well-adjusted, confident young woman, no longer tries to fill her father's void with self-destruction and unworthy suitors.'

Shade Ashani recently published her autobiography, dealing with the abandonment of her father.Tuesday, February 11
7-9 p.m.
Lory Student Center
North Ballroom

 First-time author of powerful book

The sponsors of Black History Month have invited 26-year-old Shade (Shah-dee) Ashani, author of In Search of My Father, to speak at Colorado State University.

Ashani is frank about the issues she's dealt with in her life. She's a sexual assault survivor and says it was therapy that helped her recover from the resulting post traumatic stress disorder.

She narrates her story about her father's abandonment in an authentic and relatable way.

In interviews about her book and in speaking engagements, Ashani is the personification of strength, gentleness, wisdom, and insight gained by living/moving through pain and triumphing over it. 

Interview on MultiCulturalFamilia

In an interview with Chantilly Patiño from, Ashani said that she did five years of research and approached 100 publishers before finding one that would publish In Search of My Father, a book about her father's abandonment of her family when she was thirteen.

When asked what inspired her to write the book, Ashani said:

"I was in college at a time when we often start thinking about how our relationship with our parents has impacted us. I started noticing that I was making really poor choices for myself, especially romantically. I was noticing it in other women.

"I thought, 'What is this about?' We all got together to talk about it and we found that we had horrible relationships with our fathers, or, there wasn't one there at all. I thought, 'This can't be a coincidence.'"

Book borne of curiosity

"The book was borne from that curiosity. The title, the phrase, In Search of my Father, had come to define me. There was this huge void in my life. It was bottomless.

"And I kept trying to fill it up with other things, and the truth of it is, there's nobody in your life who can be your dad. If you're looking for him... every place will be the wrong place. I had to come to a place of acceptance of who my father was and that what he had given me was not a determinant of my own self worth. I could make that decision for myself."

Tracing her path to wellness

"I also wanted to detail my own path to wellness, so that other people might be able to see themselves in me. And maybe be able to recognize places in their lives where 'maybe my relationship with my father is inappropriately affecting my relationship with others, with myself.'

"I wanted to hold a magnifying glass to my heart and reveal all the places I was hurt. I didn't want to become the personification of 'hurting people hurt people.'

"I didn't want to hurt my future daughter because I hadn't dealt with my own anorexia. I didn't want to pass this on. I didn't want to push my friends away."

Come hear Ashani speak about her experiences, journey, embarrassing mistakes and the wisdom she gathered along the way. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

A little about Ashani

Shade Ashani is a Columbia University English department graduate who is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Health at Tulane University in the city of New Orleans.

She has worked extensively in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, is a Goodwill Ambassador to the Gambia and founded the non-profit organization, Kids International. She is a Christian and the proud sister to four siblings. The memoir, In Search of My Father, is her first work.