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Young, Black and Killing It: Jessica Nnanna

Black History Month is over but we are here to recognize magnificent black idols, both past, and present. All. Year. Long. This is our year, and  we will celebrate us. It is easy to look to the past and recognize those who came before us, although, it is exceptionally important to exalt those who are blazing trails here in 2017. We are the next generation of game shakers. In a time where bigots are given positions of power, and white supremacists are given large platforms, the act of unapologetic black love, excellence, and honor is becoming an act of defiance.

It is easy to forget that we, the descendants of the Great Continent, are made of sacred soil and baked to perfection in a Saharan kiln. Whether we are 100% pure negro, or well whisked together with another beautiful class of human, we are here to celebrate all of Africa’s offspring, no matter where you were born. Here’s to the originals.

Specifically, I would like to shine a light on a young black entrepreneur that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Jessica Nnanna. Remember that name. This bronze goddess reminds me of every reason we still push for what we know is right, she is part of the reason that despite repeated defeat we keep moving forward. This Nigerian – American who is making her mark on the world, one page at a time.If you love to support black bodies and black businesses, consider supporting her.

Here’s what she had to say about her favorite quote of all time…

“This is so lame hahaha but if you’ve ever seen Akeelah and The Bee, there’s a scene where she reads a quote from a plaque by Marianne Williamson which says

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

That quote is quite lengthy but I watched Akeelah and The Bee when I was like, what, 8 years old? And ever since then it’s always deeply resonated with me. Reading that quote alone is so empowering, I love it.”

Jess looks up to powerful black women, such as Maya Angelou, who she cites as a source of inspiration and her mother who is “the embodiment of hard work and class.”

We asked her to describe herself and this is what we got:

“I’d describe myself as a girl who’s taking life one day at a time just like anyone else. I’m also annoyingly passionate about a lot of things.

I’m the most proud of my growth and change of character, to be honest. It kind of goes without saying because as people, we learn and grow and change each and every but I’m definitely not the same person I was 4 years ago. I’m also proud of this generation!

This generation is one that is inciting change and discussion about a plethora of topics,

ones that are typically kept on the hush hush, so it’s really cool to kind of be a part of that.

I think if there’s one thing I know I am, it’s supportive. I’ve always made an effort to support not only my friends but all of the young men and women in my life. My friend could hit me up and be like ‘So… I think I’m gonna book a hair appointment and cut all my hair off’ and I’d be like ‘Yes sis!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m totally here for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ‘

‘Black power’ is a phrase that holds a lot of political and nationalistic weight to it, but to me

black power simply acknowledges the power and influence that  black people have had and will continue to have on society and every aspect of culture.

From black teens basically being the foundation of youth culture, to black people coming together and achieving self-determination.

When I say ‘black lives matter’ I am simply stating that a black life holds the exact amount of worth as any other life does. It also provides a voice to those who’ve been silenced due to police brutality and institutionalized racism.

Equality and equity are very ‘all or nothing’ to me.

Equality and equity shouldn’t be selective, you know what I mean?

One of my favorite things to do is write, I’ve been writing ever since I was in the fifth grade. And in the sixth grade, I actually co-wrote a book with my best friend. I think it started off as a short story but before we knew it, we had written about 15 full-blown chapters, and it was amazing because we were like, 11 years old. I honestly still want to publish it and keep writing just to see where it’ll go. Whether it’s a night out, or a walk in the park or a road trip, I’m down.

What’s really funny is that at first I actually wasn’t going to go through with the magazine. When we were approached with our senior project, without a doubt, I already knew what I wanted to do. But weeks had gone by and I hadn’t even started it, I had the worst writer’s block. Until one night, it literally all just came to me and I did a huge chunk of the magazine in one night. But I think what inspired that is actually the people I follow on social media.

Putting yourself out there can be really frightening, and being 100% yourself is something that most people don’t do.

They think they’re doing it, but they’re always restricting themselves to some sort of extent. So it’s incredibly motivating to be able to witness so many people from different racial and cultural backgrounds showcasing their thoughts and talents and who aren’t afraid to be completely authentic.

Inspiration to write and create is very visual and kinetic for me. It’s how I learn and process things. So anything can spark a new idea in my head, from the texture of a piece of bark or something to the sound of waves crashing. I proceed to take that idea and let it come to life. It’s something that’s either really hard to describe or I’m just really bad at it but you get the gist.

I didn’t [receive any help], the point of the project was to show what we could accomplish entirely on our own. So I developed the pages and the design and wrote all of the articles myself. Which definitely isn’t something that I hope for when it comes to the 2nd issue because for one, it’s so much work. But also because I think that it’s important to be surrounded by the ideas and influences of other people. So I really hope to have other writers and graphic designers and poets and artists and models and photographers involved.

 

Consider purchasing her magazine here. 

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Chidubem

Chidubem is a seventeen-year-old Nigerian in America and has been a long time science geek and always loved writing. Journalism is new to her but she's enjoying learning as she goes.

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Chidubem

Chidubem is a seventeen-year-old Nigerian in America and has been a long time science geek and always loved writing. Journalism is new to her but she's enjoying learning as she goes.

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