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This Gynecologist Is Empowering Our Women To Take Their Sexual Health In Their Own Hands

Chimson "Dr. Chimmy" Oleka is passionate about helping us better understand their bodies and reproductive systems.

Women's Health

Chimson "Dr. Chimmy" Oleka is passionate about helping girls and young women better understand their bodies and reproductive systems.

As an adolescent and pediatric gynecologist, she works daily to diagnose conditions, build treatment plans, and inspire by action through education. In addition to her duties as a 30-something practicing doctor, the University of Louisville graduate has spoken on topics related to fertility, sexually transmitted diseases, self-confidence, and vaginal health for organizations and entities including Texas Children's Hospital, 100 Black Men, and the Children's National Health System.

"One of the things that I really love about it is that I have the opportunity to empower and to be a positive influence on young women during one of the most critical time periods of their lives," Dr. Oleka told xoNecole in an exclusive interview. "I think [the reason] I have an interest in this topic and other topics as it relates to adolescent development is because a lot of the time, who we become as adolescents affects who we become as adults."

Featured image by Janelle Alesia Photography

What's significant about what Dr. Oleka does daily is the impact of conversations she gets to have with her patients, all 21 and under. Being a Nigerian-American with a sense of today's trends and an active knowledge of the power of music, social media, and culture has helped her connect with her patients and boost relatability. And the impact goes beyond the physical and into the mental.

"Let's say I walk in and a girl who looks like me sees that I have braids and she has her hair in braids. When I say, 'Hey, I love your braids,' I just see her become relaxed and she opens up," Dr. Oleka said. "I did have one patient tell me that I look like Megan Thee Stallion—I don't (laughs)—but I think it was nice for her that I even knew who that is. One of the questions I ask patients is, 'What do you want to be or what change do you want to bring to the world?' A lot of them say, 'I want to be an OB-GYN or a doctor.' And I don't know if they're saying that just because I'm asking but I think it's nice that they're setting their sights high. I hope that maybe their interaction with me will influence [their aspirations] in a positive way."

Raised by a father who worked as a dean in higher education and a mother who enjoyed a career as a labor-and-delivery nurse, Dr. Oleka has always held the belief that strengthening the mind goes hand-in-hand with the body.

"My dad used to tell me that knowledge is power. What you're able to learn about yourself, especially as a teenager, is empowering," Oleka says. "You develop this confidence in who you are and you find out what's inside of you is stronger than anything that's around you or that comes to you. That's what resilience is, and I love that. I have the opportunity to introduce that through gynecology. I fell in love with being able to just walk women through different aspects of the things that we go through—empowering women through education, empathy, and compassion."

Featured image by Janelle Alesia Photography

"I fell in love with being able to just walk women through different aspects of the things that we go through—empowering women through education, empathy, and compassion."

Women of color face several challenges when it comes to reproductive health, including disparities in instances of life-altering fibroids, infant mortality and gynecological cancers. One other major issue Dr. Oleka sees among young women of color is contraception coercion, which she describes as the "sabotage of contraceptive methods, pregnancy coercion or pregnancy pressure."

"What that looks like is sabotaging contraceptive methods—where you have a partner trying to actively interfere with their partner's contraceptive methods—to promote a pregnancy," she says. "[It can be] hiding, withholding or destroying oral contraceptives or a contraceptive patch or poking holes in condoms. It can also mean taking the condom off during sex or not withdrawing when that was agreed upon. And then finally the pressure [manifests as] behavior that comes in the way of threatening or acts of violence if the pregnant partner doesn't comply with certain wishes."

Dr. Oleka talks candidly with girls and young women about boosting their self-esteem and gaining knowledge about their bodies or options they have based on their goals or situation, and she's a strong believer in women advocating for and supporting one another through open conversations, consistent doctor's visits and sharing information in a way that is welcoming, authoritative and caring. The sooner women start to open lines of communication with one another as mothers, sisters, aunts, peers and mentors, the better.

"Educate yourself on reproductive health, on understanding that and really seeking to empower girls as it relates to being the most authentic version of themselves," Dr. Oleka urges. "Figure out who you are and allow yourself that space and opportunity to grow—to make mistakes and to learn from them. Once you know who you are, once you're comfortable with learning and growing, it becomes less about what people on the outside are saying or pressuring you and more about, 'Well, what do I think? What do I want to achieve?' I think [it's really about] just validating a young girl's feelings, validating their need for growth. That's the key."

To learn more and keep up with Dr. Chimmy's journey, check out her website and follow her Instagram @withlove_drchimmy.

Featured image by Janelle Alesia Photography.

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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