The Blog Spot

An ongoing series of Black narratives

My Columbia Diary

Sept, 17, 2014

I raised my fist in rebellion. I raised my fist for black power. I raised my fist for me. As I walked across the stage to accept my master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in May, I stopped in the middle of the platform. I turned my back to the audience and lifted my fist and head upward. Upon closer inspection one would notice the artwork of a black fist pasted on top of my graduation cap. The fist symbolized my defiance towards an institution that I believe silences students of color. The sign became the means to take back my power.

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Discovering X: An Evening with Ilyasha Shabazz 

February 26, 2015

On Thursday February 26, 2015 Black Diaries had the honor of sitting down to interview Ilyasha Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, on the 50th year mark of his assassination. Ms. Shabazz discussed her book, X:A Novel, and the legacy of her father Malcolm. It was truly an impactful event that Black Diaries was able to be a part of. This event was held at Columbia University with the cosponsorship of the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. If featured songs from Columbia University Choir and spoken word from Najee Omar. We also had the leadership of the Undoing Racism Internship Project speak on the student role of undoing racism in our lifetime. It was truly moving for everyone in the room. Ashe.

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Why am I Traveling?

July 1, 2015

I have always been considered to be stubborn and opinionated. I have some perspectives on things that I simply believe all the way to my core, and no matter what others say, I will probably never change my mind. More than anything, I have an unyielding confidence in my path in life. When I decide that a city, job, or goal is the one for me, nothing can make me change my mind, and nothing can convince me I cannot achieve it.

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Three Times the Unicorn

July 12, 2016




1. A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.

Before I left the U.S. to travel to multiple countries in Asia, I was told by a few people, “They probably have never seen a Black person over there before”. A few folks even suggested that I could pass as LeBron James in a few countries. Let’s just be clear on this before you get the wrong idea about where this is going- I have not been passing as LeBron James and the thought of trying to do it hasn’t crossed my mind.

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When it’s Complicated: Irresponsible Tourism and Neo-Colonialism in South East Asia

August 15th, 2015

Neocolonialism, neo–colonialism or neo-imperialism is the geopolitical practice of using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a country.

During my first day in Bali, no… within my first couple of minutes in Bali, I could feel a difference in the environment from when I was in Japan. When you Google image pictures of Bali you will likely see beautiful beaches and gorgeous temples, but when you get off the plane the reality is not completely glamorous.

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In This Very Spot

October 11, 2015

On a date that I can’t recall, at the top of a mountain with a name I can’t recall, I stood alone, looking out at the small town in Fukui, Japan. It was the first of many times that I have found myself frozen in contemplation of a series of thoughts that have become all too familiar in the time since. “Am I the first person like me- Black American, from a single parent household, that grew up in the “inner city” of Chicago, etc etc- to stand in this very spot.

Sure, this same question would be ridiculous in a place like Tokyo, but in small town Fukui away from anything touristic, this was a legitimate possibility.

I’ve wrestled with similar thoughts for years to be honest. Anyone who dreams of “making it out the hood” probably has wondered how many of us actually succeed. Now that I’ve checked the boxes for high school and college diploma, acquisition of a salaried job, received the first stamp in my passport, and move out on my own, the need to estimate how many of us made it remains a heavy thought.

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Ethiopia- “Brother”

January 1, 2016

Justin SankaraI must admit that I had some worries about coming to Africa. I had heard stories from other Black people that traveled to the Motherland previously and had been expecting to be welcomed like a long lost relative home for the first time. They had told me how they were instead confused as white or deemed just another American. My sample size was small so, while I was sure there was a great chance my experience would be different, I knew it was entirely possible this could happen.

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Omowale- from the Yoruba language of Nigeria, meaning, “the child has come home”

January 12, 2016

Zanzibar Part 1 – Omowale

Omowale- from the Yoruba language of Nigeria, meaning, “the child has come home”; name given to Malcolm X during his 1964 travels in Africa. I deeply believe that our lives are guided and if we should follow then we will never truly regret it. This thinking is at the heart of why I have the courage to travel and it is at the heart of so many of my decisions. So in June as I began to feel that I should suspend my reading of the Autobiography of Malcolm X because the timing did not feel “right”, I had no idea when I would pick the book up again. By chance, I ended up having a lot more personal time for myself while in Zanzibar when a friend of mine was unable to join me there for the holidays. The personal time and unfinished ended up being the perfect.

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February 14, 2017

Zanzibar Part 2

The night had started as simple as any other. To be honest, the only thing on my mind was sitting around, having a drink, and good conversation.Like many of the hotels in Zanzibar, the Sagando Hotel in the Michamvi area was set up as a cross between a resort and a local village. Though it was enclosed, rather than pools and fancy seating and accommodations, you saw hammocks, bonfires, and tree house like bungalows.

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An Excerpt from “Did You Tell Her That Your Kids Are Black?”

February 1, 2018

When my mother was pregnant with my oldest brother, the apartment she shared with my father on 181st Street and Valentine Avenue was broken into. Someone who robbed the apartment next door had knocked down the thin wall in their closet to get into my parents’ apartment, knocking over my father’s stereo system and robbing my mother of all kinds of things she had owned for years. Real jade pieces that my uncle brought back for her from his tour in Vietnam, money, records. When I asked my father who lived next door, he said, “One of the last Mohicans, Angie. All the white people were running from the South Bronx and had been for years. But she was one of the last white people living in the Bronx at the time who was a tenant and not a landlord.”

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