Sunday, November 15, 2015

Prayers for Paris Hashtags Spark Anger on Social Media.

This weekend has been shocking for a lot of people. As many of you know by now, there was a horrific amount of violence that took place in Paris on November 13th.

I was at a bar with friends when the news about what was happening really started trickling in. People were carrying on like they usually do on a Friday night but at some point I spoke to a guy who asked me, “don’t you know what’s going on in Paris?” I said I did and he just looked at me. I looked at him. I then asked him, “Do you know what’s going on in Nigeria and other parts of the world?” He was quiet. I was quiet. Then I said, “The world we live in is fucked up.”

I’m not happy with the way I handled that. I wasn’t rude or unkind. I was dismissive.

Being on social media, I see that people are responding to the tragedy in Paris in different ways. Reading people's comments reminds me of what Lainey Lui said during her Ted Talk, that people can't consume what is in the media without filtering it through the "prism" of their own experiences. She said, "what inevitably comes out the other side, is a pretty definitive declaration about what we believe, what we expect, what we reject and how we process."

I can’t speak for other people. I can only look at myself and try to explore my reaction to everything.

I think I’m desensitized. You see, this isn’t shocking to me. This has been happening in Northern Nigeria for years now. This has been happening in a lot of places. The attack in Paris is not unique in any way. I can see how it could be shocking to someone who may not identify with many different cultures. I can see how the attack in Paris can feel more personal, how a tragedy in a place or to people you relate to can hurt more than a tragedy that takes place in a part of the world that feels so foreign it might as well be on another planet.

I’m not going to mislead any of you into thinking I am aware of every attack in every city in the world. I had no idea Beirut was bombed the day before the Paris attacks. What does it say about my awareness that I had to google, “hundreds of children killed in Pakistan attack” to know about something that happened almost a year ago?

I still feel the need to say sorry. Just because what happened in Paris happens every week in other cities doesn’t make it any less horrific.

I am praying too. I am praying that God helps me to be kind to others. I pray that I am never dismissive again when someone is hurting. I am praying that I never look at a person and only see the ways he/she is different from me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New York, You've Been So Good To Me.

As I wrap up my summer of fun in my favorite city, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what being here has done for me. 

 When I was trying to figure out where I wanted to attend esthetician school, I gravitated towards New York City for many reasons. One, it was familiar. Two, some of my favorite people live there. Three, in my opinion, NYC is at its best in the summer, insane heat and all.

 I craved the mind-numbing effect being here has on me. I wanted the distraction. Yep, being here has been one big distraction. Now that I've been here for four months, I feel the effects of long hours in a classroom, not enough sleep, way too much alcohol, barely working out and a diet that was totally not vegan at all.

 Despite the trauma I may have subjected my body to, I feel pretty fantastic.

 With the long hours of classwork comes new friendships and a certificate that says I am a trained esthetician. The lack of sleep was a small sacrifice to make for the countless nights I spent chatting with my friends all night. The alcohol... okay, I probably could have cut back a bit but merriment and wine go so well together. As for the lack of exercise and the questionable diet, eating like there was no tomorrow was fun but I'm more than eager to get back to regular workouts, and the fruits and veggies life. 

 With the plans I have, I know spending months at a time in the states is a luxury that I'm not going to have for much longer. I'm okay with that. I'm ready to roll my sleeves up and get to work. I'm just happy I got this blissful summer. I'm going to cherish everything about it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

One Of The Many Reasons Why My Sister Is Amazing.

Do you have someone in your life that puts things into perspective for you? I bitch a lot about working hard but my freelance-writing ass has nothing on my sister Shola. This woman has three degrees and works three jobs. She's also the founder of an organization called Public Art Nigeria.

Public Art uses different art mediums to teach students about topics like civil rights, healthy habits and sanitation. The students are a mix of kids from different economical backgrounds. Some of them have never taken an art class before while others have been drawing for years. All of them are incredibly passionate about what they're learning.  Shola has picked artists who are just as passionate about teaching. Some of them are Nigerian while other artists visit from different countries.

So Shola recently announced that four of her students were accepted into a Pre-College Summer Academy program at Parsons. This is a big deal for the students, their families and the organization. This is huge! It's the Project Runway school, you guys! It's New York City! It's an opportunity for these students to learn from the best and immerse themselves in a different culture.

Shola has managed to run her organization by herself, often paying for plane tickets and art supplies out of pocket (hence the many jobs). She loves what she does and I love her for it. She has a lot of the expenses covered for the trip but she needs some support.
I can confidently say art has done a lot for me and has shaped me into the person I am today. Because of that, I'm donating $100. I'm not asking anyone to match my donation (but if you do, high-five!) I am asking that you consider donating something. It's so awesome to see people doing good in this crazy world we live in.

I am so excited to see where my sister's students end up and how the experiences and opportunities they are receiving shape them. Please check out to read more about the work Shola is doing, her tribe of artists and the organization.

Please click here to donate:

Also, please share this post! Let's send these awesome kids to Parsons!

Monday, July 13, 2015

So... This happened.

Greetings to the handful of you that still read this blog! Your dedication is admirable. Truly though, if you do still check this blog, thank you. I am the worst when it comes to updating the site with new posts. My embedded videos never come out right. My photos aren't going to win any awards. I appreciate the fact that you guys read Nogobelieve anyway. 

So, as you may have noticed in the pic I posted, I'm in scrubs. Why am I in scrubs? I'm back in school. I've been in school since June 1st.

Let me go back a bit, explain what happened.

This year I finished the final draft of the manuscript I have been working on since 2013. I'm incredibly proud of it and I hope people get a chance to read it soon.

There was a huge, hefty sense of relief when I finished the last round of edits. But then I had a reaction I didn't expect.  

With the book being done, I didn't have a project. It was the first time in my life that I wasn't actively working towards something. That made me feel like I didn't have a purpose. That made me feel SHITTY .‎

After a week-long pity party, I mentally bitch-slapped myself, sat down and wrote a list of things I could do based off of my qualifications. I could move back to NYC or VI and work in magazine editorial again. I could work as a ghost-writer. I could go into marketing or PR. 

None of those options were remotely appealing.

It was time to do something different.

 Most people who know me know it's always been my wish to go back to Nigeria and open a business. I always pictured myself owning a shop and dedicating my evenings to my writing.

My mom and I have talked about opening a spa or health-foods store in the past. It was one of those "some day" conversations. But why wait for some day? I decided to just go for it .‎ I'm in school taking the first step towards making our dream a reality. 

When I graduated from university, I told my parents to cherish my BA because it was the only degree they would ever get from me. So no one is more surprised than me that I willingly go to school Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. I freaking love it! I can't wait to share what I've learned when I'm done.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rolling Stone's Readers Name The Best TV Shows of The 90s.

And I totally disagree.

You want to exclude Saved By the Bell? Fine. But how on earth can you have that list and exclude A Different World? I'm so confused.

A Different World followed Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet's character fromfrom The Cosby show) as she started her first year at Hillman College, a HBCU. Even though she left after season one, the show flourished as viewers followed the characters as they went through the college experience and went through the growing pains that go along with being a minority in America. It was a funny, poignant, thought-provoking show with story-lines that never got stale. Those story-lines would still be very relevant today.

For that reason alone, the Rolling Stone list is crap. But click here if you want to check it out anyway.

Here are some of my favorite scenes from the show:

Start at 15:20 to watch my favorite scene from the whole series though the whole episode is worth watching.

And check out this clip of some of the cast members talking about the influence the show had on America and Bill Cosby (side-eye):