Adopted biracial woman’s royal roots turning into a real-life fairy tale

Almost twenty years after Sarah Culberson found that her daddy was the chief of a town in Sierra Leone, the West Virginia local’s life story might lastly pertain to the cinema.

Culberson, who is biracial, was set up for adoption in 1976 at simply a couple of months old, and was raised by a White household, the Culbersons, uin Morgantown, West Virginia.

Her biological daddy, Joseph Konia Kposowa, is from Sierra Leone and is chief of the royal household of the Mende people in Bumpe, Sierra Leone, that makes Culberson a princess. Her biological mom was White.

The discovery “gave me a deeper sense of my identity as being someone who operates and straddles two different worlds and cultures,” Culberson informed CNN. “Learning about my history in Sierra Leone, my family, community, country, that makes a huge part of who I am.”

“A Princess Found,” which Culberson co-wrote and was released in 2009, captured the attention of Disney executives ten years later on. And an all-Black female group is anticipated to produce the movie, which remains in the early advancement stage, according to the movie’s manufacturer, Stephanie Allain. A Disney representative likewise validated that it remains in the early stage of advancement.

In 2020, Allain ended up being the very first Black female to produce the Academy Awards event. She’s likewise the creator of Homegrown Pictures, “a film, television, and digital production company dedicated to creating content by and about women and people of color, with authentic stories, depictions, and representation,” according to the business’s site.

Disney signed an offer with Homegrown Photos in 2019 to establish the motion picture, a Disney representative informed CNN.

April Quioh, a very first generation Liberian American, is composing the movie’s script. Culberson will function as an executive manufacturer on the movie to seek advice from. Allain likewise stated the group prepares to employ a Black, female director.

Although Disney stated the motion picture hasn’t been green lit yet, Allain stated she is confident that production of the movie will start next year.

“Disney+ is a great partner because they understand the value of representation, of a Black, African American princess. It’s going to have a profound impact on the culture,” Allain stated. She included that this movie has actually been, “10 years in the making. This story should be told and the time is now,” considering that the book was released in 2009.

The journey in finding her royal family tree

It wasn’t up until 2004, when Culberson was 28 and in graduate school that she employed a private detective to search for her biological daddy.

“I wanted to know what it was like living in West Virginia as an African man with a White woman in the 1970s,” and having a combined kid, she states.

Through the detective, Culberson linked with her biological uncle who resided in Maryland. He informed her news that would alter the trajectory of her life.

“Sarah we are so happy you’ve been found, do you know who you are. You are part of the royal family. You can be chief someday, you are a princess in this country (Sierra Leone),” she remembers her uncle informing her.

Culberson, who was working as a star and dancer at the time, could not think it. “What? This isn’t true,” was her very first idea.

In 2004, she went to Sierra Leone to visit her biological father.

“It was this beautiful, beautiful homecoming,” she remembers.

She was provided a standard green gown to use by Chief Kposowa, which was likewise used by the females in Bumpe when they invited her. Upon her arrival, the females in green gowns were singing “‘we’re preparing for Sarah’ in Mende,” Culberson remembers.

Culberson arrives  in Bumpe, Sierra Leone.

Numerous individuals surrounded and invited her, and the event consisted of speeches, dancing and singing.

Culberson states her discovery offered her a much deeper sense of her identity.

West Virginia was not racially varied maturing.

“Where I lived there wasn’t a lot of people of color. I was constantly looking for people who looked like me … . Going in a room and looking for other people of color. I was also looking for that on television (too). I remember wanting to see more people of color on television …, and wanting to have that representation.”

Her adoptive moms and dads attempted to expose her to as much variety as they could. Her adoptive daddy, Dr. Jim Culberson, was a teacher at West Virginia University. The school had actually constantly been more varied than the surrounding town, she states.

Discovering the guts to keep browsing

It took Culberson years to collect the guts to look for her biological father since she hesitated of rejection.

“I had a family member on my birth mother’s side who didn’t want to meet me and she wasn’t warm (to me).”

Culberson was 21 at the time. “It was really heartbreaking for me,” she states.

However there was a delighted ending with her biological daddy’s approval years later on.

When she fulfilled him at 28, he requested for her forgiveness and informed her he looked for her however didn’t understand how to discover her after she was embraced.

Culberson hopes the movie teaches all kids, specifically Black kids, to explore their own family tree.

She hopes this movie, “gives kids, especially Black kids, a deeper understanding of their roots. Your history doesn’t start with slavery, which is what our history books tell us (in school). We don’t know a lot about where we (African American and Black people) come from, I have that direct connection, but a lot of people don’t.”

The “movie would be a wonderful way for kids to learn about culture, adoption, and the power and impact of forgiveness, and having people get to know about different cultures that we don’t know about like Sierra Leone…the story would be about facing your fears,” Culberson states.

Households joined

Culberson states being a princess has actually brought her embraced and biological households together.

Given that she found her royal family tree, she began a non-profit structure called Sierra Leone Increasing in 2006. The company supporters for public health, education, and female empowerment after Sierra Leone dealt with an 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

Culberson as a child.

Culberson’s advocacy work as a royal in Sierra Leone has not just brought her closer to her biological household, who she works with on the structure, however it has actually brought her embraced and biological household together too. “The connection between us has been beautiful,” she explains.

Her adopted parents and siblings work with the structure as well in Sierra Leone, and the Culbersons have visited country as well.

“The discovery of my royal lineage with the relationship with my (adopted) family has been really beautiful and that has a lot do with who my (adopted) parents are as people…It brought the family together.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Stephanie Allain’s name. It has actually been repaired.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.