BLM Lancaster- Blog Feature

Hey!!

Just a short post here, I was given the chance to collaborate with The Tab- Lancaster to discuss Lancaster University’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests and how students, in particular black students felt about this. I am so grateful that I was able to write and interview students on their behalf- showcasing how this movement does not only affect black people, but black people of a much younger age group.

I hope this post encourages any young readers who feel they cannot speak out or actively campaign for this cause, do not let age be an obstacle to voicing your opinions out to those in authority and to those who have the means to change things for the better.

BLM SANIP

LINK TO BLOG FEATURE HERE

Thanks for reading, see you on my next post!  

BLM- How you can help + Resources

Before I begin with this post, I would like to acknowledge that this current season can be very difficult for some, I know it has been difficult for me

As much as you would want to learn, support, educate, teach and do so much more on this matter- I URGE YOU to take breaks from social media when needed, distance yourself if you need to and renew your mind. You may feel guilty for doing so, but your mental health is imperative at this time. I do have a blogpost on improving mental health whilst in quarantine and I believe it can help in this time also, please read Your Mental Health in this Quarantine Period.

Hey!

We are in trying times right now. The current situation in America, where black people are constantly under threat of losing their lives, for simply being a human being is rising. It has become so severe that it is currently being reviewed by the United Nations as it being “a human right violation” and the debate being held is of a request from Burkina Faso and 54 other African countries (According to CBS News)

Here is a list of resources to help you + help the movement:

1.Justice for George Floyd : https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforfloyd_george_floyd_minneapolis

This petition for Mr George Floyd, causes simply for justice. We have had progress as all officers involved were charged, however we need reform in the way police do their job. They need the correct amount of training, education and awareness and signing this petition can help

2.Justice for Breonna Taylor:

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforbre-breonna-taylor-officers-fired?source=coc_main_website

Breonna Taylor was an EMT who was sleeping in her home when the LPD barged in and shot her 8 times after an unannounced drug raid at her home. Since then the “no-knock” warrant which allows law enforcement to enter a property without knocking or announcing prior they are entering, has been made into “Breonna’s Law” which bans the warrant in Kentucky. However, the police officers involved are yet to be charged

3. Justice for Belly Mujinga:
https://www.change.org/p/govia-thameslink-justice-for-belly-mujinga-justiceforbellymujinga

Belly Mujinga worked at London Victoria’s rail station and contracted COVID-19 after being assaulted by a man with the virus. They have since closed her case since after concluding that her death was not linked to the assault. Alongside the protests in America, she has also been one of the main reasons why people are protesting here in the UK.

Resources I have found useful :

13th , Netflix, Ava Duvernay

13th is a documentary by Ava Duvernay which documents how slavery was abolished by the 13th amendment, except as punishment for conviction of a crime, leading to black men being arrested and forced to work under convict labour. One thing that amazed me about this doc, is how black people were portrayed as criminals through movies, adverts and TV shows

When They See Us, Netflix, Ava Duvernay:

When they see us tells the story of the exonerated Central Park 5, who at the time of just being teenagers were accused of assaulting a white woman who was jogging in Central Park at the time. This shocked me the core, especially the last episode which focused more on the story of Korey Wise and his traumatic ordeal whilst in prison.

Time: The Kalief Browder Story, Netflix, Jenner Furst

This docu-series tells the tragic story of Kalief Browder, a student at the time who was imprisoned at Rikers Island, spent two years in solitary confinement without ever being convicted of a crime. It focuses a lot on the prion system, how families are unable to pay bail set at very high amounts. It really does highlight how unfair the justice system is

Thank you for reading, there are many more resources and links out there – and don’t think you are not doing enough, a simple retweet, post or prayer can make a difference.

Essence Interviews – Magknit App

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an #ESSENCEINTERVIEW. A time where I get to speak to people who are creative, inspirational or who have made a major breakthrough in their field. If you haven’t already, you can read the last interview here.

Since I haven’t done one in a while , I knew I had to have a big comeback, somebody I found really unique and inspiring – so I decided to base this edition around tech ,we are meeting Jordan Johnson, co-founder and CEO of the new student-based app- Magknit.

Magknit | LinkedIn

The Magknit App acts as a platform to look for other students who would like to join forces on projects or similar interests. The app aims to transform the way students’ network and collaborate whilst meeting new people.

1.Tell us about yourself

My name is Jordan Johnson, I come from a Nigerian background. I’m 22 and attend Lancaster University. I am a Christian who loves drumming and singing. I am also the founder of the Magknit App

2.Where did the idea behind the Magknit come from ?

The idea behind the Magknit app started in my second year of university. I started a YouTube called SSV which allowed me to feature different perspectives of religion and have different faiths on there – similar to BKChat but more polished I guess. I had to end it as there was a lack of resources in order to continue and I wanted to focus more on uni.
I was attending a few networking parties due to this, where I could meet people and I thought why not create an app for this ? Surely there are hundreds of students here who would love to collaborate on projects or similar interests, why is there not an app that can help with this ? That’s where the idea originated from.

3. What were the steps in getting the app created ?

I first had to create the concept. This involved myself and 6 of my friends coming together and brainstorming the idea, creating features to add to the product. We then had to conduct focus groups and lots of market research to test our assumptions.  I did lots of reading ‘lean startup’ and watched lots of videos ‘Gary Vee, Steve Bartlett’ on start-ups and business. We then went to a university innovation hub who were hell bent on us filling in lots of sheets of paper in an attempt for us to further understand our goals for the business.

We then had to prove the concept of it. This involved creating  Facebook group that allowed students, societies, businesses and charities to advertise their skills or willingness to contribute to a project. Over 110+ people joined and over 12+ connections were made however it was painfully obvious that people needed a platform that allowed them to connect on their own as I had to encourage people to post. Upon market research we found that people didn’t really come to Facebook to network but just to watch meme’s, videos and see what friends are up to.

Thinking this was enough, during the summer I went around London looking for investment with my then co-founder. A ridiculous offer was made to us after consecutive meetings with a particular investor, which we decided to turn down in order to further prove our concept in order to gain more leverage in our negotiations so that we could properly convince the next investor. So we created a basic information capture website that allowed me to get a database of people who either had an idea or project, or had a skill and wanted to connect. We succeeded within a day and managed to sign up 30+ student 5+ ideas and 3+ businesses. Allowing me to cold call and connect the people who need to be connected.

Secure Investment and Find a Team – A particular angel investor finally believed I had enough to go ahead and start building the app.  It was through aforementioned website that I found my co-founder Siddharth Notani who was a computer science student and was on the database to help build a website for a Restaurant. I convinced him to join the company and with our resources we found a team to help build our platform and since then it’s been 1 year of building the product and doing research, lots of testing and ideation. We are now approaching launch.

4. What have been some difficulties with the app e.g. creating whilst being a student? Finances, getting a team?

I would say finances had to be the most difficult challenge, every other challenge I faced somehow involved finances getting in the way. Sourcing a team was also difficult as many dropped out along the way due to other workloads/projects. I also found time to be a challenge with it as at the time I was working at Sony, so I had to balance my job with trying to make the most out of the app,making it the best it could possibly be.

Other challenges that I faced which affected me personally included me learning how to humble myself, not letting myself get too involved with the hype of it all. I had also decided to leave university at this point which was a huge challenge for me! Simply because coming from an African background, education is instilled into us from the moment we are able to walk practically ! so I had to convince not only my parents I was serious about taking this step, but also my family and friends of my parents who tend to have an opinion at times.

Lastly, I would say loosing friends. Whilst I had friends that wanted to hang out or chill on a good lad’s holiday, I was dedicating my time to working on the app. This meant I lost friends along the way.

5. What have been some strengths from the app? e.g. getting new skills, networking opportunities

There have been many strengths I have gained from the app. Mainly in leadership. I have had to become very self-aware, be able to reason well and be receptive to criticism both positively and negatively. In terms of hard skills , I would definitely say admin skills is something I have gained and developed, additional skills involve accounting, managing finances and just having a priority to learn stuff that I needed to know . I learnt many things along the way.

6. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and develop their own app?

I would say just start- there is no such thing as waiting for when you are ready otherwise you will never be. I would say this to people who are especially of a younger age, simply due to the fact that you don’t have any major responsibilities e.g. kids, spouse, house etc.
I would also encourage you to look into where there is a demand for what people need. Try and cater to people’s needs. Innovation is the child of demand.

7. What makes this app unique from other apps that students mainly use ? e.g. Instagram, twitter etc.

There are many things that that makes this app different from others. Twitter which is used a lot by students is conversational, you simply go there to voice your opinions and talk to others. LinkedIn is corporate so you tend to create a façade of yourself, whereas the Magknit app is a collaborative platform, rather than a social networking or corporate platform, the Magknit app allows you to collaborate and network with others based on your interests or projects you are working on.

8. How was your relationship with God affected by the app ? negatively/positively

Working on this app has brought me closer to God. When I go thorough hard times, troubles and doubts I look back at how far I have come and understand He will complete what he started. Being a son of Nigerians, failing university once is a curse from the devil and failing twice is an affliction. For me through business, my understanding of The Word and God has allowed me to find my own faith instead of believing in the word of God the way my parents do.

Failing first year and dropping out of my second year, working in my third year has just taught me that everyone’s journey to greatness is not supposed to be the same route or timespan and I thank him for the opportunities and lessons he has taught me along the way. I don’t demand from God; my main prayer is to ask his will to be done in my life and be humble enough to understand that I can’t understand while I’m going through it.

For more about the Magknit App:

W:
https://www.magknit.co.uk/
T: @MagknitApp
F:@magknitapp
IG: magknitapp

Ghana : Why Everybody Ran Back !

screenshot_20200105_2145297750561452270751778-2

After seeing this pic on the gram, I knew that the Year of Return in Ghana had to be my next topic I blog about. You guessed it, over 1.5 million people took plane, ferry, catapult or whichever method of transport to get themselves from all over the world, to the sunny and vibrant lands of Ghana. From Ludacris to Cardi B and her infamous chichinga incident to even the Queen B’s mother herself spent new years in Ghana.

Of course, I was watching like a lot of my friends from my phone via SnapChat and Insta stories. Whilst I was drying my eyes of the tears due to not doing up enjoyment like everyone else, I do feel glad that I somewhat saved money. Prices skyrocketed to over 1 grand, and that’s just the tickets alone. If you didn’t get transport and accommodation sorted also, then I guess your bank accounts definitely felt the pain! Nevertheless, 2019 was the definitely the year of African awareness and self-consciousness.

The Year of Return

I actually had to find out from a colleague what it was and why it meant so many people were returning home ( they need to teach this during BHM in schools ).

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.”. yearofreturn.com

In hindsight, it was an invitation of all descendants from years and years of slavery to come back to their original roots, original heritages and come back to their true homes. The project has many goals and targets. One being for people to come and experience culture and enjoyment in their hometown, another to celebrate the freedom that Africans all over the world currently have and also to boost tourism as it can be a leading indicator to business and investment.

What does this mean for Ghanaians, Africans in general?

For me, I think it brings a new sense of emotion and patriotism for not only Ghana, but for Africa as a whole. If you think about it, Africa definitely wasn’t the dream spot that people wanted to spend their Christmas season at. If it wasn’t America, it was Canada. If it wasn’t the UK it was somewhere in Europe ! But the fact that thousands of people dream about going home to see the places where their parents were born and raised, really brings a sense of change and greatness.

Afro Nation, the festival which features many African and Caribbean artists sharing the beautiful and lovely music that Africa has to provide is also a massive contributor to many people going to Ghana. The festival celebrated the vibrant and emerging culture of Africa and it has definitely had an impact on the younger generation all over the world.

Overall, I am proud of where Ghana and Africa as a whole has transformed and come to be in this current year, it’s rise in popularity, public perception and view has made it a number 1 tourist destination. Who would of thought- not me ! and who knows, mabye Ghana will be seeing me this year after-all ! *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading !

Double Standards.

Hello! and welcome back to another long-awaited blog post. One of the reasons (amongst many other reasons) that I haven’t blogged in a while is because of lack of topics. 2019 has been quite peculiar if I must say (blog post coming on a review of 2019 soon), it’s been hard for some but also amazing for others.

Now, I love me a controversy, and I have posted blog posts about controversial topics in the past, but I have never dared myself to talk about a topic that has caused many mixed opinions. I thought this would be a great way of introducing the topic of double standards that girls and boys have and how it has affected us in our daily walks of life.Anyway, time to get my Wendy Williams on!

giphy.gif

So, if you haven’t heard already, TI stated that he takes his daughter Deyjah to the gynaecologist to check that her hymen is intact. At first, I thought it was rather funny and awkward that her daughter had to endure that, since its rather a personal thing to go through, having your father involved with that inspection is probably the last thing you would want to do. I decided to go on and read more about this (as if I already don’t have a lot of stuff to do) and it began to feed my interest even more.

One website stated that it was an absolute invasion of her privacy, at the end of the day her body belongs to herself and that it should remain this way, with information about her personal body parts remaining between herself and her doctor.

I also had to check up on what The Real girls said by watching their YouTube clip as I knew they were going to speak on this topic. And I found their views interesting also, with the majority stating they opposed T. I’s decision and said it was a disrespectful act against her daughter, whilst Jeannie gave her view, by stating that as young girls we get exposed to things early and it leave sus to become promiscuous, therefore you can’t blame her Dad for worrying !

ti gif

(Cheeky GIF, I know)

This led me to discuss with some of my friends about the double standards that boys and girls may go through, after all the majority of comments were actually against T.I as he doesn’t actually give the same energy to his son who is only 15 years old…

The Workplace:

This year, being the year that I started a placement, meant I entered the life of “corporate”. I now know the major difference between women and men. Yes, we are entering 2020 and equal pay is something we are still fighting for and when we are going to achieve it- who knows!
A lady I work with actually said to me “ be careful when you go into meetings, they will most likely make you quiet and be the note-taker for the duration of the discussion” and my mouth actually dropped open, to think that in this day, I may ( God forbid) have to endure that really shocked me.
On the other hand, I must say that I am proud of the amount of SH-E-O’S that are arising, whether it’s influencers, hair businesses, MUA’s, fashion designers etc, ladies are really changing the game, and gone are the days where we would be limited to smaller roles such as – note takers.
I guess the double standards we face hasn’t disappeared over time, we still have to chase after roles such as promotions and CEO positions whilst having other duties at home.

The Home:

Now this may be a cultural thing, and me writing this, I can only speak for the African culture that I know of. In my previous post about Growing Up As The Only Girl. I talk about being raised in a house amongst boys, made me the “second mum of the house” and even at age 20 going on 21 this role still applies. I think the double standard here is that in our current society, women are going out nd making money in comparison to before where they were expected to stay at home and cook and clean. However they are still expected to be the foundation and the sustainer of the home by keeping it in perfect shape whilst, boys or men are not expected to do so. I guess as time goes on things may change, and with the fast rise of technological gadgets, we won’t have to rely so much on women to fulfil roles around the house.

Thanks for reading this short post, and for being patient with me during my times of inconsistent posting !

 

awkward get me out of here GIF by Talk Stoop

Remain blessed !