Black women continue to fight on the front lines to save those in need. With the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine, there has been documented evidence of the racist treatment of African students who are trying to flee after the invasion. The videos circulating the internet show the Ukrainian locals preventing Africans from boarding trains and crossing the borders to leave the embattled country while letting non-Blacks pass.
With so much outrage over the clips, two Black women decided to do something about it. Just like many of us, British friends Patricia Daley, 29, and Tokunbo Koiki, 40, saw what was going on online, but they particularly connected with one woman’s story.
Twenty-six-year-old student Korrine Sky documented her arduous journey to flee the Ukrainian city of Dnipro where she shared videos of several attempts being made to prevent her from reaching safety in Romania.
We have reached the actual border experiencing some threats of violence from some local Ukrainians who don’t believe we should enter. This man keeps circling our car pic.twitter.com/kWw5DjkcL0— Koko 🇺🇦 (@korrinesky) February 28, 2022
Once she was safe, however, Patricia and Tokunbo contacted Korrine and they began working together to help other students who were stuck in the eastern European country. In an interview with Sky News, the trio revealed that so far they have raised over £500,000 ($60,000) and helped more than 500 African students flee the country after many of them experienced the same racist treatment that Korrine shared on Twitter.
"People said they were pushed, sent back, and physically assaulted on both sides of the border in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland," said Tokunbo, who is a social worker. The ladies noted that the students were terrified as they shared their harrowing experiences.
"I do think they have been treated differently at borders because of their skin. Racism is now happening even in situations where there is war,” Patricia said.
Black Africans are being treated with racism and contempt in Ukraine & Poland. West cannot ask African nations to stand in solidarity with them if they cannot display basic respect for us even in a time of war. Ignored in a pandemic and left to die in war?!! UNACCEPTABLE.— Dr. Ayoade Alakija (@yodifiji) February 25, 2022
A total of one million people have reportedly fled Ukraine and according to BBC, Africans make up 10,000 of that number. While many of them such as Korrine found safety in Romania, others have entered neighboring countries like Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. But there are many that are still trapped in the country in cities that have now fallen under Russian control.
BBC interviewed several students including one who said that ‘the university ignored our pleas and concerns for over one month,’ before chaos broke out and instead told students that they would be fined if they missed classes.
While Patricia, Tokunbo, and Korrine have teamed up to offer support, African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana have also responded by making flights available for students to return to their home countries.
Featured image by Craig Stennett/Getty Images
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Snoop Dogg’s Daughter Cori Broadus Shares How She Navigates Online Hate With Her Fiancé's Support
Over the last few years, social media platforms, mainly Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, have been used to highlight important moments in one's life, including personal and professional achievements.
But unfortunately, for some, this experience can be seen as an adverse one stemming from the negative comments on one's page. One person in particular who has endured the dark side of social media is Cori Broadus, the daughter of veteran hip-hop rapper Snoop Dogg. The model has revealed in the past that she has been cyberbullied for years over her physical appearance and relationship with photographer Wayne Duece. Some of these remarks ultimately led to Broadus' mental health struggles and a suicide attempt. But with the support of her family and now fiancé Wayne Duece, she overcame the pain.
Broadus and Duece, who have been together since August 2018, got engaged last year. During her appearance on The Karamo Show on April 6, Broadus opened up about the negative reaction she received from social media users after announcing her engagement online and the overall lesson she wants to share with others.
Broadus On Her Engagement
The 23-year-old shared that something that was meant to be a joyous occasion in her life turned out to be the "saddest" after revealing the news online because of the comments surrounding how she looked and Duece's loyalty.
"It made me very sad because, like, this is a happy moment, you know what I mean. This is something I wanted to share with the world. I actually waited like a day because I knew just being in the public eye, you know, people are going to say things. Whether you post something good or you post something bad, it's always going to be somebody who has something negative to say," she told Karamo Brown. "So it really brought me to a place where I don't wish on anybody because it's supposed to be the happiest moment of my life, but when I read the comments, it made me the saddest girl in life."
Further, in the interview, Broadus mentioned some of the trolls' remarks. The list consisted of many accusing Duece of using her because of her father's celebrity status and others talking about her weight and skin tone. Broadus added that the changes she has gone through with her physical appearance are because of her lupus diagnosis.
Cleveland Clinic describes lupus as an "autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain" throughout an individual's body. Depending on the specific type of lupus one is diagnosed with, it could negatively impact the individual's vital organs ranging from blood to the brain. The site also states that there is no cure for lupus. One can adjust to living with the disease by managing one's health and taking medication, to name a few.
Broadus was first diagnosed with lupus by a medical professional at 6 years old and stated that due to the condition and the prescribed medication, her weight would fluctuate, and her skin tone would change.
Broadus On Accepting Her Weight And Her Skin Tone
As the topic shifted to colorism and weight, Broadus expressed feeling like an "outcast" from her family and friends because she had darker skin and a rounder appearance.
Broadus also recounted moments where she would lie in bed with her mother and cry because she didn't want to be "dark" or "big." During one of those times, the entrepreneur stated that she had "to learn how to just love" herself regardless of what anyone says.
"I used to cry to mom 'like I wish I was lighter.' I was 12 years old, crying in the bed to my mom like boohooing. Like, 'I wish I was lighter. I wish I wasn't dark. I wish I wasn't big,' she said. "I started gaining all this weight because I was put on steroids, and you know steroids make you hungry and make you eat. I love to eat regardless. So that's just kind of where all of that just came about. I mean, even to this day, I still look at myself sometimes, I just have to learn to just love me for me naturally."
Broadus continued that despite her lowest moments now as an adult dealing with the discoloration of her physical appearance because of lupus, she still tries to find the positive by using encouraging words like "you're still beautiful."
"Like right now, my skin is going through a hyperpigmentation from my lupus, and there are some days I just looked in the mirror and cry like, 'why is this happening to me?' But it's like you're still beautiful. You're okay. You're going to love it. [If] this is the new her, you got to just embrace it," she stated.
Broadus Advice To Others
Broadus disclosed that despite all she has gone through with cyberbullying, she wants others to know that the only person's opinion that matters is their own. She went as far as to say once an individual becomes comfortable with themselves, that is the only time their negative view would change.
"My goal now is to talk to young women, talk to young boys, so this stuff can be instilled in them when they're younger. Because if I had this stuff instilled in me when I was younger, whatever anybody had to say about me wouldn't have mattered — because I know how I look, I know how I feel, and I'm fine with it," Broadus said.
To date, Broadus and Duece are still currently planning their upcoming nuptials and have officially set a wedding date.
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Feature image by @princessbroadus/ Instagram