Idara Ekpoh: Beautiful in Every Shade Stories

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 go further in detail and tell them I’m Nigerian, there’s a different list of stereotypes that go 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. 

Idara with our first Beautiful in Every Shade Story's Chisom at the University of Arizon's Open Shoot. To read Chisom's story, click here.  

Idara with our first Beautiful in Every Shade Story's Chisom at the University of Arizon's Open Shoot. To read Chisom's story, click here.  

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.
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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