About Papaya Mann

"Personally I think of myself as a culture vulture, I am curious and excited about all kinds of social pursuits and expressions."

Valerie Papaya Mann
Valerie Papaya Mann
Valerie Papaya Mann
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Valerie Papaya Mann, was born, grew up and was educated in Washington, D.C. Currently living in D.C., she has traveled extensively and considers herself a global citizen. She resided in Atlanta for a few years in the early 80s, spent almost a decade in the San Francisco Bay area in the 90s, and in 2003 relocated to Ghana, West Africa, where she resided for more than four years. In 2008 she returned to the USA. After every sojourn she has returned to her birth city to be with and nurture relationships with her family and long time friends.

Papaya, as she is known by most of her family, friends and business associates, attended Bowie State University, where she earned a B.S. in her dual majors of Education and Communications. A few years later she matriculated from American University's Kogod School of Business Administration with a Masters degree in Public Relations Management and Marketing.

She taught public school for several years in Washington, DC, and then dedicated the next 25 years of her life to working in the struggle against HIV/AIDS in executive positions. Ms. Mann served as the executive director of three different HIV/AIDS focused organizations, all with multi-million dollar budgets; one local, one regional and one international.

In 2000, while attending a workshop at Iyanla Vanzant's Inner Visions Institute, she heard the healing sounds and vibrations of a series of specially made Zither Harps. These harps had been specifically tuned for meditation and healing, and are called Angel Harps, referring to their angelic energetic vibes. She immediately fell in love with the instrument, purchased a beautiful redwood one and has been playing it every since.

Mostly self-taught, Papaya has become more proficient over the years, and has played before numerous appreciative audiences over the years in The United States and in Ghana. After many suggestions and much prodding from her music admirers she went into the studio during the summer of 2010 and laid the tracks for her first compilation of songs. The production culminated in her first CD entitled 'Inner Voyage To Outer Limits', which has been selling rapidly since its release in December 2010.

Since the release of 'Inner Voyage To Outer Limits', she has performed her music at scores of churches, schools, universities, meditation circles, spiritually focused activities, open mikes and special events.

While living in Ghana she began to write her memoirs to capture the essence of what her experiences were living as an expatriate in Africa. Her adventures are slated to be published in her pending book, 'Papaya Under The Mango Tree: An African Queen Born In America'. In the book she shares her day-to-day life in Ghana, giving insight on what it feels like to return to her mother continent as a stranger. Where everyone looks like her, but no one knows who she really is or has become. During her sojourn she was actually adopted and enstooled (crowned) by The Akwamu Cultural Clan of Ghana as a Queen Mother, a respected member of their Royal Family. As Nkorsorhema of Akwamu, Queen Mother of Development, she is committed to helping to bring economic relief to an area that consists of 17 towns and villages. In this honored role she will serve for life, reconnected to a past that had been severed for hundreds of years through the effects of enslaved Africans being shipped off to the Americas and other countries.

Also, while in Ghana she served as president for more than a year of the prestigious African American Association of Ghana (AAAG). This organization, founded decades ago, is the membership organization for the thousands of people of African descent that have repatriated from America and made Ghana their permanent home. Many have been there since Ghana's independence from British colonial rule almost 55 years ago.

She also helped design and get three-year funding through the World Bank, for a HIV/AIDS Interactive Resource Center, located at The University of Ghana, Legon. The center provides much-needed, up-to-date information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and points community based and governmental agencies towards available resources and research.

During Ms. Mann's travels to twelve African countries, she began to collect African Art; painting, wood sculptures, brass figurines, clothing tapestry, jewelry, shoes, handbags and small pieces of intricately carved furniture. The art, which she continues to import to the US and sell to others for a reasonable price, supports many indigenous artists. The artists are extremely talented but don't have the financial support to market worldwide. Many of their works might never have been seen abroad if not for her efforts to get them exposed through her distribution network in the USA.

Now, living in Washington, DC, until the travel bug bites her again, Papaya is marketing her CD, playing her harp constantly for a variety of audiences, finishing and preparing her book for publication, and educationally tutoring and mentoring children.