What's your name, where are you from and what do you do for work & for fun?
My name is Virginia Ashleigh Cumberbatch. I named after my maternal great-grandmother Virginia Gordan, and Ashley, an intieration of my dad's name, Ashton. My surname has an interesting cultural journey - originally dutch, then reimagined through the British and ultimately a name given to many Black slaves in the Carribean. More specifically, Barbados where my dad's dad's family is from. The older I get, the more appreciation I have for my name. Growing up I only went by my nickname, Ginny. I thought Virginia sounded like an old lady's name. But knowing the intentionality, history of my name, I am so honored to carry these legacies and stories.
I describe my work as at the intersection of creative activism, storytelling and racial justice. I have the honor of stewarding this work through the mission of Rosa Rebellion and as a racial justice educator. I co-founded Rosa Rebellion alongside Meagan Harding in 2019 and established my consultancy in 2020 after serving as the director of community engagement and equity at The University of Texas at Austin. I now work with brands around the world, helping them build an ethos of equity and challenging them to interrogate their practices of racial justice. As a storyteller, I am passionate about documenting untold stories, helping elevate voices of women of color. I am the co-author of As We Saw It: The Story of Integration and I am currently working on my second book, which as a lover of fashion and style, I am really excited about.
I find joy in curating spaces for connection and community from a dinner party to my annual holiday Barnaza (yes it's a holiday party in a barn), I love designing an experience for friends. Outside of that, I'm a sports fanatic. From soccer, the NBA and tennis - I'm living for the World Cup right now. And while I haven't had as much time this past time, nothing excites me more than the hunt for a bargain and luxe thrift finds. I believe shoes should count as an investment in art.