mbakwe

In this social media era where many of us self-edit our lives to present the most beautiful picture to the world - whether it’s via staged and filtered instagram photos or witty status updates, it’s easy to become intoxicated with a version of ourselves that isn’t real or true. Some of us are more intimately familiar with who we present to the world, than who we actually are. And why wouldn’t we be? We’re in a world where outrageously high standards of beauty and accomplishment are glorified. All else is deemed inferior. But the thing is, the person that many of us hide - the flawed, unsure and complicated self. The self that is bent (or even broken) is beautiful too. The self we hide has something meaningful to contribute to the world. And this self, riddled with all its imperfections is far more interesting and divine, than the version we often present. Love who you are and where you’re at, however muddled that person and place is. Christiana Mbakwe
The plane went missing and media coverage was incessant. 200 schoolgirls forcibly taken from school and there’s silence. The girls were sitting their final Physics exam. They live in a region that has the lowest girl child enrolment in Nigeria. The girls were abducted by Boko Haram because they wanted an education. Not enough is being done to honour their courage. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag is keeping this story in the media. If it stays in the media hopefully the inept Nigerian government will act. If these girls had been kidnapped from an elite Nigerian boarding school, if they were children of the wealthy, it would be different. However these are the children of the poor, and in Nigeria’s deeply inegalitarian society they are insignificant. Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. - Christiana Mbakwe
The public’s reaction to the Bill Cosby scandal has proven that many accept the binary idea that heroes and villains are vastly different. We like to dichotomise and neatly separate types of people and their traits. The truth is messier.Within every human being lies the capacity for abhorrent acts and wonderful deeds. The reality is good people do evil things and from time to time evil people do good things.We ignore these inconsistencies because they’re disruptive. They don’t fit the simplistic narrative we have formed about heroes and villains. “I can’t believe Bill Cosby did that!” Well it’s shocking if you believe what people present to the world, is who they truly are. This is rarely the case. Humans self-edit, they lie, they act, they pretend, they hide and have thoughts they dare not share. Our heroes are villains, and our villains are often heroes. It means you can be a gifted comic who helped shift the global perception of black America and a calculating rapist who acts with impunity. It’s apparent that the collective belief that Cosby was morally superior and therefore above reproach, allowed him to violate women and buy their silence. Along with our criticism of Cosby, we should criticise ourselves for heroising some, demonising others and forgetting it’s never that simple. Whether we cast them as heroes or villains, the public figures we love and loathe are just like us - complicated.
—  Christiana Mbakwe 
There’s been something troubling me about the subtext of the narrative around Lupita Nyong’o and her ascent. I’m not sure I can articulate it properly yet. However I know I believe a few things. I believe she is being exotisized. This is disturbing. I believe many of the “she’s so beautiful” statements from the mainstream media, are akin to how humans fawn over peacocks. We view them as beautiful - however they are still not worthy of sitting at the table with us. They are our possessions and we entertain them at our caprice. I am pleased she is slaying the red carpet, however I am much more interested in seeing her have a rich, varied and long career as an actress. Whether this will happen remains to be seen. And until that happens I will remain a skeptic. I root for Lupita. I think she’s incredible. I’m just wary of a system that frequently picks the “brown girl of the moment” and discards her when something more interesting comes along. Finally, I worry that the world will suffer from Lupita fatigue before she’s able to solidify herself as an actress. I sincerely hope I am wrong - Christiana Mbakwe