The 20s are all about creating the world you want. If you want the world to be the want you it, the you, yourself have to make it that way. Be the person who says something; be the one who does something; be the one who is something. You have to be. No one else. The world on changes if we change and do better. We have to try harder. Do a little bit more. Go that extra mile. Change does not occur unless we are the ones to enact it. Cosmogonies are stories of world making - write your own.
*Instead of telling about my time with Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, I thought I would share would you the piece I wrote for my journalism on her.
Creating the World You Want
An interview with Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie - By Joseph Oteng
“Yoga, peppermint tea, chocolate twice a day, reading books, and natural hair YouTube videos,” Chimamanda joked as the secrets to finding peace in your life.
Chimamanda is an accomplished writer, activist, and public speaker known for her July 2009 TED Talk entitled “the Danger of a Single Story” and even more recently her speech, “Why Everyone Should be a Feminist” who has come to embody the post-colonial West African ideal. She has published four novels with Americanah in talks to become a live-action film with current sensation Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o attached. She has played a substantial role in debunking the western myth of Africa as godforsaken, poverty-stricken, black abyss.
Chimamanda visited the University of Vermont for a keynote speech as well as speaking to various classes, departments, and selected students. She signed books, took pictures, and most importantly asked those who came to see her what their stories were and how they were creating their own worlds.
In her TED talk she said, “I questioned why I was chosen to do the talk. I did not fit in with the rest of the Africans speaking that day. They all had stories of gratitude of those who had helped them, sponsored them or aided them in some way. My story was different.”
She continued, “I decided to talk about something that I cared about and asked what I lecture my family and friends about. I wanted to talk about the Africa that I know. I knew I had to claim the space as my own.” When she finished her speech she was astonished to see audience members giving her a standing ovation and erupting in emphatic applause. “I was just happy that they wouldn’t stone me for not continuing the same narrative they had been socialized to expect,” she said, “I felt relieved after leaving the stage but it awkward. The sponsors didn’t know what to say to me. I hadn’t needed anything from them so they shook my hand and kind of walked away.”
Chimamanda shared story after story talking about blackness, hair, feminism, identity development, and general just good life advice. In her undergrad experience at Eastern Connecticut State University said, “I babysat for a Jewish family with three kids. I loved those kids. One day I went to pick up the five year-old, Josh, at his friend’s house. I came inside and they were coming down the stairs. His friend was taken aback, looked astonished and exclaimed ‘Mommy, she’s black.’ His mother shushed him and took him away. I was so angry his mom, she could have taught him something valuable then.” She continued with, “Another time I went to get Josh from a playdate and his friend asked him, ‘Is that your mommy?” Chimamanda relished that both reactions exist in various forms but often we [as people of color] on talk about the problem of racism but fail to talk about the solution. “I wish I had said something to that little boy’s mother,” she said.
“I understand power is concentrated in whiteness but I was not born to be somebody’s teacher, however, if not me then who is supposed people about me and people like me. It’s a burden that you have to carry,” she said, “I don’t have an option to be anything but positive about myself because this country often says otherwise.”
“You can choose what you laugh at and what’s not funny. You can choose. You can create the world you want,” she said. “Anything you see or hear that makes your identities a burden needs to be removed from your life. Don’t let those who don’t you [or about you] define your identities,” she quipped, “There’s so much room in the world, make it your own.”
“I don’t like to talk about the BeyoncĂ© thing, but just like her I woke up like this. Come in to your own and claim your space as your own,” she finished.
My blog question for the day is ... what is your ideal world? Mine would be a place where me, myself, feel not only safe but valued, wanted, and loved. It's a place where people are celebrated for all the identities they hold and one where my future children would no longer face the daily hardships that I did.


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