Currently residing in Mexico City as a freelance writer, co-host of the new podcast Broccoli Talk, and creative director at the women owned latinx cannabis brand Xula, Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is someone who needs little introduction. Having made waves in the cannabis industry for over 14 years, we’re excited to bring you Sundays with Mennlay.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Gemini is my rising sign, sun sign, with Gemini placements in both mercury and mars. Let’s just say I need herb in my life to calm me down. I’m a 36-year old first generation American born to West African parents in Staten Island, New York. I grew up mostly on the east coast but became bi-coastal after graduating from journalism school in 2005. I moved to Blue Lake, California in Humboldt county and started a beautiful and turbulent career in California’s medical cannabis industry under Proposition 215’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Section 11358. When I’m not deep in the trenches of weed, I spend my time exploring and researching the diasporic connections between Africa and Latin America.
What is your earliest memory of cannabis?
According to my mother, there were some parties at our house where her “bad” friends would smoke weed while my sisters and I were fast asleep. Shockingly, I don’t recall ever noticing the smell or having flashbacks to that time when I eventually started consuming herb. It wasn’t until I was fourteen outside of a roller skating rink that I too became “bad” and smoked weed for the first time. It was my first love.
What does “Feel Good” mean to you?
Feeling good is being free from obligations, free from guilt, expectations, capitalism, racism –– just enclosed in a safe cozy accepting bubble of comfort.
What does your perfect Sunday entail?
Sundays start slow. I’ll usually read in bed with my coffee and a joint for an hour or so. I’m the mother of about 30 plant babies –– some of which are rather massive babies, so I like to make a meditation out of watering, pruning, repotting or feeding them on Sundays.
Do you prefer Sativa or Indica?
Honestly, living in Mexico has made me waaaaaaay less snobby and obnoxious when it comes to strains, a characteristic I’ve enjoyed leaning into. These days, I oscillate between the very indica OG kush for pain and to chill the fuck out, or sampling Xula’s CBD prototypes for a calmed focus or to tackle any monthly hormonal imbalances.
If you could share a joint with any person alive or dead, who would it be and why?
May I choose four?
James Baldwin, to talk about the parallels of being a black writer. Baldwin seems like the perfect person to have a stoned writer’s workshop with. I’d love to thank him for all he’s done for this troubled world.
My paternal grandmother, Mennlay, whom I was named after. I know nothing about her and if her and I could share a joint together, it would no doubt be magical.
My maternal great grandmother, Gracie Miller, who raised my mother on a chicken farm in Liberia. She was a teacher, educator, community leader and feminist. I owe so much of who I am to her.
Lastly, Jerry Garcia. He had one of the most tender voices and I’d love to sing in harmonization with him while stoned. Which song would we sing? Either Shakedown Street, or Eyes of the World.
Which artist are you really excited about right now?
Shaniqwa Jarvis is an artist, photographer and thinker creating spectacular captures of humanity with modern fashion aesthetic and tender emotional portraits. She’s witty, warm, hilarious and photographs stars like Erykah Badu, Tracee Ellis Ross, and everyday people with a sharp and stunning eye.
She’s currently showing RITUALS, a series of portrait photographs and film vignettes focused on black family life, with artist and filmmaker Rajendra Debah. It’s in Los Angeles from February 13th – March 29th as HVW8 Gallery.
What keeps you up at night?
Knowing that people like Micheal Thompson has been in prison for 25 years for selling weed even though the state of Michigan, where he’s held, legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018.
It’s hard to sleep thinking about the folks who live in encampments in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, sleeping on the streets next to thousands of houses that have been vacant for years. I can’t sleep knowing that 2.5 million children in the U.S are homeless. I weep instead of sleep knowing that approximately 37.6 million Mexicans live in poverty earning less than 5 dollars/ 90 pesos a day. Meanwhile club kids and tech bros have been funneling into Mexico City non-stop ranting and raving about how, “Mexico City is so cheap!” but to whom?
I’m certainly not perfect and have my faults, but I think a little mindfulness goes a long way. So does sleep.
Cover photo: Mennlay for Kinfolk by Victoria Barmak