I am currently 26 years old with three degrees. My first one is a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with focus on Spanish, French, and Political Science. My second one is a Masters of Arts degree in Public Policy Analysis. And finally, my third one is a Master of Science degree in Computer and Information Systems security.
I speak four languages, English, Spanish, French, and Greek. I own a motivational clothing brand business and offer free consultation services regarding all types of life problems and career.
I have worked as a waitress, night club receptionist, a flyer distributor, a hair stylist, a sales associate, a summer camp coordinator, an accountant’s personal assistant, a customer service representative, a Spanish and French tutor, a graduate assistant at an Immigration Services office, a gym monitor, a gym receptionist, and lastly as a Junior IT technician.
After all that education and work experience, I am proudly letting you know that at the moment, I’m a low-paid professional basketball athlete and ambitious entrepreneur!
My family....well, my dad took off when I was 3 months. My mom/soldier/hero/life stuck around and raised me and my two older siblings. Money...was never a consistent part of our lives. Sometimes we had just enough and other times we didn’t have any. It’s crazy how many types of recipes you invent, when you barely have any food in your kitchen.
I remember when I used to wear sneakers as slippers to school because the shoes I had were not my size. Other times, after I was laughed at, I would force my feet in the shoes and suffer from excruciating pain in my toes. When I started playing basketball, I remember wearing my shoes until they had holes in them or until they started to rip apart. During sales, the sizes didn't matter. If it was a basketball shoe and I could force my fit in, I was good. For everyone that has ever wondered why my feet look like they do, here's your answer.
Sexual harassment, alcohol dependency, suicidal thoughts and attempts, “finessin” people...I have lived that way and been all of that, but today I’m here writing this blog post for my own business, blog, and brand.
And let’s note that not only I overcame the poor situations I was born into, but I was doing so so well that it built the envy, jealousy, and hate for people (or thieves) to come and break into my apartment and take everything I had worked for during all those years and stages of my life.
So, I went from living in the hood, being poor and barely having enough to having everything I needed, helping others, but then sent back to 0 because...life happens and because I am pretty damn dope. If people are jealous of you, imitating you, hating on you and the list goes on that means YOU ARE PRETTY FREAKING DOPE. I currently lack 90% of the things I had and need, but my mind, grind, and work ethic are rich as a bit***.
Now, what was the point of telling you all this? I just have one question...were you impressed by my story?
Did I have to tell you I’m black to impress you?
If I were to state, I am a black woman with three degrees, instead of just stating I have three degrees, what would that imply?
She managed to get all these degrees and she’s black too? Oh she’s a boss! In other words, black people have a harder time getting these degrees or getting degrees or studying or what?
Every statement that ends with...”aaaand she’s black” indirectly implies that a black person shouldn’t be able to accomplish that specific achievement or that a black person would have a harder time pursuing such goal.
Where am I going with this?
They say, “No one can make you upset without your consent.”
Similarly, one ethnicity cannot bring down another ethnicity without consent. Slavery happened and it’s over. However, as black people, we still suffer from mental slavery . There’s absolutely no reason for us to keep trying to prove that our people can do “x” or “y” too. Note I said “too”. It’s like we are reinforcing this mentality of certain things are harder for us to achieve.
Be an engineer, be a lawyer, own a business without the need of trying to prove anything about your color. Just do it and just be it.
Bringing equality doesn’t come from a constant comparison and downgrading races, but from the following:
- SUPPORT YOUR RACE (don’t preach and celebrate black pride, if you are not elevating and supporting businesses of your race).
- GIVE BACK TO YOUR RACE ( donate, pass on knowledge, help, identify where help is needed and actually do something about it).
- SHOWCASE YOUR RACE. (This doesn’t mean upload Instagram pictures with the #melaninpoppin. It means upload a picture of a beautiful place in your country or your roots. Let the world know why Africa is beautiful. Educate the world on our culture, food, health tips and more. )
Instead we see videos of people claiming they are not black going viral. Videos of fights going viral and the list goes on.
We can choose to complain about and blame slavery, police brutality or the news for injustices for the rest of our lives.
Or we can just excel and let those who are educated and open minded enough celebrate us, talk about it, and elevate us.
There’s this story about a cheetah being called to race with dogs. The cheetah denies the invite, stating that she does not have to race to prove that she’s faster because she knows she’s faster. So the cheetah remained unbothered and didn’t worry about racing or even giving the other animals the hope that they could possibly beat her or even deserve to be in the same race with her.
When you know your worth, you don’t have to prove it. Let’s showcase the beauty of our roots, countries, and culture to the world instead of comparing our academic achievements or positions in jobs. We are all humans with the ability to learn, read, take tests, create, innovate, perform, and excel!
For those who don’t know me...
My name is Jessica Raphaelia Oluwaseun Oluwabumi Teniola Ogunnorin! I was born and raised in Greece, my parents are Nigerian, I lived and studied in the United States for 7 years, and have been traveling the world playing basketball the last two years. Oh, and I only have a Nigerian passport because the Greek government is just....
That’s a story for a different time. In the meantime, if you have the connect, please help me get my Greek passport!