I am Nigerian-American. My parents came to America in 1992 and had me in 1994. I always felt that being Nigerian in America has put me in situations where I’ve always had to explain who I am. When people first see me, they see a black woman. They usually have a list of stereotypes that come with being a black woman in America. Then when I go further in detail and tell them I’m Nigerian, there’s a different list of stereotypes that go along with being African. It was always easier to say that I was just “Black” and only have to deal with that list of stereotypes. I could easily relate to other black people, but once the subject of African came up, it was harder. I, all of a sudden, have people being ignorant to my culture or making jokes about the lifestyle we have as Africans. People would make fun of the traditional clothing I would wear or the “exotic” foods I would eat. It was difficult for me to accept my culture and be open about who I am. It always felt like its one thing to be black in America, but a completely different thing to be African. The only other Africans I had around me were my family. Coming to the University of Arizona has put me in a group of people who accept who I am as African, and I’ve met other Africans who faced the same struggle growing up. I am Nigerian-American and I love my culture and where I am from. Its what make me who I am.
Beautiful, powerful moment.
After each BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE empowerment workshop on a college campus, we create space for community dialogue to reflect on the shared experience and to offer up lessons learned as a result of being invited into our unique approach of exploring and affirming self identity.
50 SHADES OF BLACK™ is a signature project of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™: a grassroots empowerment movement affirming and celebrating the beauty found in every human being. http://www.beautifulineveryshade.com