young, gifted, & broke

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a brown girl navigating post grad life.

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I Need Answers- Dizzy Wright ft. Nikkiya

I haven’t really written anything here or elsewhere about Ferguson, Mike Brown, the devaluation of black life, and all of the above because its emotionally taxing. I could not really bring myself to have detailed conversation about the situation or express myself creatively about it because I”m already going through so much, and it was just a little too much to handle.

But I did want to offer this song into the space. I find it very important and introspective. Songs like this one, and many others like those by J. Cole and Lauryn Hill, have been the closest thing to catharsis for me in the midst of this situation…that and reading the tweets of dedicated organizers on the ground fighting the good fight. I spoke at Durham’s #NCMOS14 and the energy and act of being there was helpful as well.

Any way…I’m sure I’ll muster up the energy to write about it eventually, but until then I’ve charged myself (and you) to do some much required reading: The Willie Lynch letter and Audre Lorde’s essay "The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle The Masters House".

#BlackLivesMatter

Notes on post grad life w/ Evelyn From The Internets

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When I decided to re-launch this blog a few months ago, I had to figure out what its purpose was. Young, Gifted, & Broke is a name that has edified me for a long time, especially now as a recent graduate. I realized that it was important for me to document this confusing time in my life, as well as my journey through art and culture. But I wanted a broader view of what it means to be young and gifted (and sometimes broke…most of the time.) What is post graduate life like for others who look like me and don’t look like?

So I decided that I would write about my thoughts and experiences, as well as interview others who are going through or have gone through what I am living right now. I’m extremly excited to introduce the first interview in the series. Its with my internet cousin Evelyn Ngugi of Evelyn From The Internets

I know you’ve gone over this on your Youtube channel, but for those of us who are new here, how’d you get into making videos and media journalism in general? How long have you been on Youtube? Do you have any specific goals for Youtube that you haven’t reached yet?

I got into media journalism because I went to school for it, though I’ve been interested in storytelling since I was a child (which is why I went to college for it). I’ve always made videos it just so happened that YouTube was created as yet another place to upload and share them. It’s blossomed into a community more than a medium for me now! My main goal is for YouTube to continue to give me what I need therapy, laughs, education, and internet cousins.

What were the best parts of your alma mater and your major?

Best part of UT is the size. Fifty thousand students in the capital city of Texas means there’s always something to do and someone to talk to. Best part of my major was the practicality of the course work. The best way to learn about journalism is to DO IT. They really throw you into the world and expect you to figure it all out. That’s valuable!

What did a typical day in post grad life look like for you, and what does a typical day look like now?

I was unemployed, so a typical day involved sitting on the couch, running errands for my parents, a little freelancing, and a lot of Tumblr. Now a typical day involves a ton of copywriting, customer service, and figuring out whether someone’s an internet troll or just having a bad day. #socialmedia

Did you find that your friends were having similar experiences during that time? I graduated before my friends, so I have anybody who understood what I was going through. Since everyone’s graduation, we’ve all had very unique post grad experiences, but this sentiment is the same for everyone nobody knows what they’re doing, but just keep doing stuff until you figure it out.

Did you ever get discouraged during your days of being an unemployed post grad? Of course :(

Were there any defining moments during your early post grad life (regarding anything from friendship, grad school, romance, family life, job search, being broke?) I realized that it must be scary to be a parent. You have the power to make or break another spirit. My parents never made me feel bad for being unemployed, they never pressured me to compromise or settle for something just to make money. They know I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t. It must be tough to know when to be a cheerleader and when to be a coach. They aced it.

How did you meet your best friend(s)? We were all freshmen forcing ourselves to go to social functions and we gravitated towards each other because we’re magical.

Whats your favorite social media platform and why? A tie between Twitter and Tumblr. My People are inspiring, hilarious, and so multifaceted. Black Twitter has the power to make me get up and turn on the television just to follow along with my dash. Black Tumblr makes me cackle at memes and ogle at all the #magicalblackgirls.

Has social media/the internet had any effect on how you interact with, and as apart of the Diaspora? We can be part of the same conversations from across the ocean. I’m also able to maintain somewhat of a relationship with my family through social media. It doesn’t beat physical touch, but it’s something.

Do you have any specific hopes/goals regarding your journey as a brown girl and 1st generation American in the media world, and how your path will effect those who come after you? There are so many different ways to be human. I have a different set of lenses to see the world through, so my goal is to form tangible creations based from my interpretation of the world.

What does being a “magical black girl” mean to you? It’s an internal realization of your beauty, confidence, and power in the midst of a world that thinks otherwise. And it’s working on making your outside match your inside. In that way, #magicalblackgirl isn’t an aesthetic, because there are many ways to be a MBG. Real recognize real and when you spot another magical black girl, let her know you see her!

Whats your advice to other post grads on finding work, networking, saving money, reaching their goals, etc?

You won’t find a job by applying for one online. You just won’t. It’s a statistical improbability. You get jobs by knowing people and telling them what you’re into. Networking STOP trying to network with CEOs. Network with your equals so you can rise together. Assistants, folks in jr. positions these are the people who are adjacent to the Big Kids. Saving money after you pay your bills, pay yourself. Treat your savings account like another bill. Just put it away without thinking about it. Reaching your goals understand that everything is relevant. Your career is cumulative, and you’ll only be able to see it come together when you’ve already moved on to the next thing.

Hindsight is 20/20, so just keep doing†things. Also, stop calling yourself an ASPIRING such and such. You’re either a writer or you’re not. You may be a beginner, sure, but “aspiring” makes it seem like you haven’t started yet.

Any advice for those who want to break into social media management, blogging, or media journalism? Social media management is marketing, so it helps to learn about that field. For blogging and journalism, you can’t expect to break into the field if you haven’t done†any blogging or any journalism. Don’t wait for an assignment or a job create your own projects.

Do you have any experience with coding? What are your thoughts on the recent focus on getting minorities more involved in coding? I forgot all the Java I learned in high school! For a field that controls our online experience, it’s not widely talked about, so of course it’s awesome to encourage brown kiddos to code.

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I currently intern for a natural hair website, so naturally I have to ask whats your favorite thing about your natural hair now? What products, tools, or hair care methods are you currently using? What hair colors should we be looking forward to? Currently love the SheaMoisture Superfruit shampoo & conditioner. Obia Natural Haircare and Oyin Handmade are my staple brands. I’ll big chop by the end o the year, and maybe go purple!

I love Podcast, so I’d like to ask what Podcast are you currently listening to, if any? The Read, Snap Judgment, The Moth, Black Girls Talking, This American Life…ya know, all the greats.

What are your plans for the future, socially and career wise? Basically to have everything make sense. I want to tell stories for the rest of my life.

Do you want to share any thoughts on Ferguson and Michael Brown? I had to disengage from it all because it was affecting my work. I wasn’t focusing, I was going to bed at 4am, just reading/watching/feeling. It was scary because I live in Texas of all places, and I envisioned what would happen in my community. Watching it unfold on social media first and then on professional media outlets continues to shape the way I move through the world as a Black storyteller.

You get to choose: Whats a question your tired of being asked or whats a common misconception about you?

Common misconceptions are that I’m (1) always happy and (2) an extrovert. I choose to be funny and lighthearted

Where can the people find you? I have a website that I never update www.evelynfromtheinternets.com. I’m @evelynfromtheinternets on FB and IG. @eveeeeezy on Twitter. Just search Evelyn From The Internets on YouTube and I’ll pop up!

Health Insurance is a real cute luxury.

Listen friends, if you weren’t aware, health insurance is a real cute luxury. I  found that out real quick while in college, especially during my last semester. In North Carolina (and probably most other states) you have to have health insurance in order to enroll in college. Either you submit proof of outside insurance or you are forcibly signed up for the schools insurance plan. After a series of unfortunate events, I gladly accepted the later and paid student health a monthly visit to pick up my Aderall prescription. ECU’s student health was clutch. I got a great price on all my prescriptions at the student pharmacy, plus preventative care was free. It especially came in handy when I quite randomly acquired Mono during Fall 2013 and felt like I was on the edge of death right as classes began.

I come from a generally middle class family and i’ve wanted to be in the health care field since i was 4, so to me health insurance was just something that you always had. Oh, but no. ECU kindly snatched their insurance coverage from me this Spring once I became a “distance education” student, as i completed my public health internship full time off campus. So I found myself a 21 year old with ADHD, prescription glasses, and other health care needs with no one to help me pay for it. Now, I’m a generally health person, but I do have my basic prescriptions and I like to go in for my standard doctor visits at least once a year. I was kind of horrified when I realized this wasn’t going to be the case. I was even more horrified when one of my wisdom teeth became inflamed and I couldn’t go to the dentist. My mom couldn’t put me on her plan because her monthly premium would increase exponentially. Our Governor, Mr. Patrick McCrory, refused to expand Medicare in North Carolina, so although I would have qualified, it was a no go there. I went to a local health insurance navigator in Greenville to see what my Affordable Care Act (ACA) options were, and I have been stuck on that marry-go-round for the last few months. I took a class about health care policy and insurance, in which we spent an entire unit learning the ends and outs of health care reform. I definitely think the ACA Is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately the bureaucracy involved in applying, the glitches in the system, and my parents combined income made it almost impossible for me to find any affordable options. I’m sure its helping someone, just not me. The entire ordeal has been incredibly overwhelming and I have been on the pursuit of health care for the last 8 months to know avail. 

Rewind to last week…its not always what you know, but who you know. An old teacher from high school called me to let me know there were job openings at the organization he worked for. It was one of those situations where this person is willing to vouch for you and hand you something they feel that you are worthy of. I sent over my cover letter, got an interview, and then the job within a week. A full time position with benefits. BENEFITS= HEALTH INSURANCE= TURN UP! So now, I’ve decided to forgo grad school for this semester (which is a story for another day), and work full time as a field organizer doing organizing work around politics and voting rights. Its all very awesome because its new and a big step in the direction of adulthood.

I got a new apartment, a new job, and yes, health insurance. This entire ordeal has taught me that I’m not entitled to anything. Its all luxury. Its all blessings. Providing health care is something that I’ve always been passionate about, and although we all should have a right to health care (and health insurance), unfortunately thats not the case…yet. So for now I have to work hard, I have to plan, I have to back up plan, and even then things may not work out. But when they do be grateful for it. The ability to take care of myself and my health is something thats really important to me, so hopefully I never find myself in this position again…but I’m aware that it could definitely happen and I’ll figure out how to prepare for it just in case. Just another part of being young, gifted, and broke, I guess. Now, I’m going to go finish the list of doctors appointments i need to make.

Betonite Clay has been a popular product in the natural hair community, many using it in place of shampoo to cleans their hair. Bentonite Clay is a multifaceted product that can be used as a facial and to fade scars on the body. Many people rave about its healing properties and its detoxifying and defining benefits for hair. Going with the trend, I purchased a tub of the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay from my local Vitamin Shoppe about a year ago. I have since used it to cleanse my hair and as a facial, but I’ve never really gotten into the hype. Most people mix Aztec clay with water, apple cider vinegar, or aloe vera juice, all of which I have tried. I’ve always found it to be a little too messy to apply and difficult to fully wash out. Recently I got the urge to make my own mudwash because after almost two years of being natural I still haven’t gotten up the audacity to purchase Terresentials Mud Wash. A few of my friends love Terresentials, but it’s a little too expensive for me to invest in as a broke post grad. Through Youtube and Pinterest I’ve seen people making their own mud wash using Aztec clay and I decided to give mines another chance in this recipe.

I initially viewed Naptural85’s recipe for DIY mud wash for some guidance, but ultimately I decided to wing it and come up with my own mixture. I never measure things and I’m too ADD/impatient to follow directions so I brainstormed ingredients I had in my cupboards and started mixing. I decided to use Aztec clay, honey, apple cider vinegar, glycerin, castor oil, water, and a little conditioner.

Read the rest of this post at CurlyInCollege

"mental health, transitions, anxiety, and strolling"

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the internet lately. Partly because I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing with my life and its good way to procrastinate…but also because I realized that my passion for art and culture are things that can tangibly be built upon using the internet. During one of my many adventures through the interwebs I decided to look up a video by Cecile Emeke referenced on Black Girls Talking about selling out as a black actress. Its apart of Cecile’s “strolling” series, in which she follows young black brits and discusses a myriad of pop culture and social issues. Its fascinating….breath taking actually. I sat pantless and indian style on the floor going through just about every video in the series screaming “yasssssss” internally and externally. The commentary and insights are just so relevant! They are things i want to say, things I disagree with, things that enlighten me, things that me and my friends would talk about.

This particular episode of strolling struck me in particular because the women above poses a brief but important point. It kind of seems like depression and anxiety are a default for young 20 somethings. I’m 22, a recent graduate, I’m not exactly sure what moves to make in life. Its dreadful feeling like you are not doing enough, like you’re doing too much…the sheer fear in not knowing can be suffocating. I remember sleeping my last semester of college when I got too overwhelmed with life. I’m starting to realize that sleeping and eating are my coping mechanisms for stress. I think its even harder for me because I’ve known what I want to do with my life since I was in pre-school…but knowing the destination doesn’t always mean you have the map to get there. Although its not posed as such, its totally a mental health issue. Why don’t we talk to young people about the mental implications of navigating the world as an independent adult. I think its especially important for young black people because there are so many other opportunities for anxiety that present themselves. I sometimes wonder if my natural hair will ever be a problem for me while interviewing for jobs. I wonder about my place in a workplace as a woman. Not to mention the agony that comes with just reading about the terrible sh*t that happens to people of color in the world on a day to day basis. I’m currently trying to look for an apartment, meet the goals of my current job, and prepare for nursing school, while processing the fact that a 17 year old brown boy just got murdered cold in his own neighborhood, and his people are being terrorized in their own community for mourning his loss. Its a lot. I guess, I say all that to say that sadness shouldn’t be the default. We need to prepare our young people to cope with transitional periods like graduating college or finding a job. We need to treat periods like these as detrimental to mental health because they are. This conversation is not one thats being had and its so normal to be depressed and stressed out while at this stage in life, which is kind of scary. 

Any who, watch the “strolling” series. its dope. 

Kidada Jones: A photo appreciation

I live for Kidada Jones. She is the lessor known daughter of Quincy Jones, sister to Rashida Jones. Kidada isn’t as widely known, but she is a model, actress, and brand ambassador for Disney. She’s well respected in the fashion industry due to her extensive modeling and styling career in the 90’s. I actually found out who she was during a bout of random googling after watching the movie “The Faculty”. She was intended to play Ushers girlfriend in the movie, but her plot line was cute. I further fell in love with her when I found out the flower tattoo she has on her shoulder was once a portrait of Tupac’s face and that she would have been his wife if the unfortunate event hadn’t occurred.

None the less, she that was Hilfigures muse, Aaliyah’s homie, and a wayward member of a 90s California brat pack of sorts, seems to be a simply dope and inspired person. I’ve enjoyed reading some of her old interviews, and not to mention seeing many of her professional and candid photos. 

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She can most recently be seen along side her sister in RUN, Beyonce & Hov’s kind of epic summer tour promo video. 

P.S: Kidada and Rashida have some interesting commentary on their life as mixed race young people. They discuss colorism and “passing” as white in various interviews. Kidada’s experience has been vastly different to Rashida’s due to her skin tone and hair texture. Their group interviews are worth a read.

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