“I want to make a difference… where do I start?”

Helloooooo my wonderful readers! Based on the title above, you are probably wondering what this blog post is about. We all want to make a difference, whether it be big or small. However, some people never know where to start. Or others know a cause they want to support, but do not trust some organizations. I have been there. BUT you should not let that stop you from doing something. Helping one person can go a long way. There isn’t “one specific way” to help anyone.

Think about a time you helped someone, did service for your community, or something along those lines. Think about the way it made you feel.

Why am I telling you all this? My cousin told me about an organization called Senegalese Scholars Initiative or SSI. Before officially joining, I went to one of their meetings, learned what the organization was about, and met the amazing people behind it. One of SSI’s mission is to help young students in Senegal, specifically young Senegalese boys known as “talibes.” For most of them, their families cannot pay for their education. Many of these young students are on the streets begging. SSI wants to raise money to provide these young students with school supplies and clothing.

Would you like to make a difference? Would you like to help these young Senegalese boys get the education that they deserve?

Here is where to start: https://www.gofundme.com/f/senegalese-scholars?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=cl_dn_cpgn

Once you click on the link, you will see more description about the organization and their cause. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me!

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.” – Writer unknown

Follow their social media as well!

Thank you for reading!

Writer: Diaka Thiam (:


Ah yes. The colorism conversation. After completing my thesis, I knew I wanted to write a post about colorism. To give some clarity, colorism is the discrimination based on skin tone. But for this blog post, I wanted to take a personal approach to it. I wanted to talk about my experience with colorism.

The first time I was made aware of my skin tone was when I came back to the United States. I was in Senegal for three years, from the age of five to eight. When I came back, my skin was darker. Everyone noticed, of course, including my mother. To give some context, my father is light skin and my mother is dark skin (we’ll talk about this more).

People began to talk. People that saw me before I went to Senegal. A woman saw me and asked my cousin if I was Diakha. My cousin responded, and the woman called me ugly in our language. I remember constantly glancing at the mirror in my bathroom wondering how I could change this skin tone. Change this dark skin. How could I become lighter? 

Yet, I knew how I could become lighter. I saw my own mother do it to herself. The lightning creams became a necessity, her best friend. In Wolof, we would say “ngoul” (it means “dark”, probably spelled it wrong). My mom said I was always ngoul. Her tone. It was her tone that got me. The way she would say it, with disappointment. As if she was saying, “how can you be my daughter and be this dark.” As I watched my mother become lighter, I became angry. I did not know that this was colorism. 

When I entered high school, my self-esteem was low. But that’s common amongst teenagers. I hated my skin tone. I hated how dark I was. At the age of 15, I craved to be light. I wanted to change my skin tone, I wanted to at least be light skin. I would be in the shower, trying to scrub away this dirt, nonexistent dirt. At the time, I wasn’t complimented on my beauty. So, I convinced myself that I was indeed ugly. One thing I never thought about was using the lightening creams. Though they were easily accessible, I refused to use them. I saw what it did to my mom and my aunts. They hated their dark skin tones as much as I did. And it’s not their fault that they hated it. It’s the way people have made them feel for being born with a darker skin tone. Along with the fact that being light skin is viewed more desirable, beautiful.

The first time I learned the definition of colorism was during my high school internship. We worked on a project and created a video talking about our experiences with it. It was the first time I thought about what it was like being dark skin. It was an eye opening experience for me. From that day, I never looked back. Meaning, when I glanced at the mirror, I saw something different. I did not crave to be light anymore. I began to educate myself on colorism, it’s history and impact on Black people. As I am writing this, I am fighting back tears. I am ashamed of myself for ever hating my dark skin. 

In college, my appreciation for my skin tone grew. I noticed how other dark skin people talked about their love for their skin tone. I noticed a change in social media. Being dark skin was trending. We were starting to become “chocolate.” Our skin tones were being associated with food (still is). At first, I didn’t think much of it, but when I started working on my thesis, it bothered me. Why are we being compared to food? Even with makeup foundations, the names of the foundations for dark skin tones. To some it’s a good thing, but to me it’s sad. We’re only desirable when associated with food. 

Why am I telling you all this? Colorism is still significant. It’s an issue ingrained within the the Black community. Yes, I know it’s in other communities as well but I’m only speaking of my own. There is this divide, light skin and dark skin. When I was completing my thesis, I remember looking at my data for people with medium brown skin tone. For some reason, we do not talk about people who are brown skin. Our conversations are always centered around light skin people and their privilege, and dark skin people and their disadvantages. All of these conversations are important. However, these conversations never lead to anything, a solution, something. 

But like I said in the beginning of the blog, this post only focuses on my personal experiences with colorism. My mom eventually stopped using the lightening creams. But I don’t know how she feels about her skin tone now.

Though it took time, I am happy with my skin tone. I feel comfortable with my skin tone. It saddens me though that there are people who are not comfortable with their skin tone. It saddens me that there are women with dark skin who bleach their skin and use lightening creams. But, I must highlight that there are women with dark skin who LOVE their skin tone. I do not want you to think that all dark skin women dislike their skin tone.

You may have noticed that I only talked about dark skin women. As for the men, that’s another conversation. This is where I will end this post. But, this is not the end. If you have thoughts on this, please feel free to comment or message me.

Thank you for reading.

Writer: Diaka Thiam

African Woman’s 20 Somethings.

When I had turned 22 (like six months ago) I asked myself a crucial question. What is it like to be in your 20s as an African woman? I had to reflect because as an African woman who is now 22 years old, I’m overwhelmed. There’s so many things happening during this time. At this point, I feel all sorts of emotions and I’m constantly overthinking. And I love when people tell me to stop overthinking. How can I stop? But no seriously, it’s been a rough journey (I know- I’m only 22). I’m constantly thinking about my future, pleasing my parents, worrying about the friends I have, romantic interests/marriage, taking care of my family meanwhile trying to take care of myself. You see where I am going with this?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a manual book for the oldest daughter. And, there isn’t a manual book for the African daughter. I’m not going to lie, being in my 20s so far has been a weird but beautiful experience. I wish someone would hand me a book to read so I know what to do. As an African woman in my 20s, people are expecting a lot from me. My parents are expecting me to be this bomb ass daughter. A daughter who cooks, cleans, and caters to their needs every day. The interesting thing is I’ve gotten so used to pleasing my parents, I no longer question my freedom. I want to be free. You may ask, what does it mean to be free for an African woman like me? To be there for my parents, but to also be free to do what I please. To make my own mistakes and learn from them. To make my own decisions. To step out of this box that I have been placed in.

This box that I speak of is significant. I am in multiple boxes in which I can’t seem to leave. The first box is the one my parents have placed me in. As I get older, the closer I reach the edge of the box, I am shoved back to the center of it. The edge of the box is my freedom. The center of the box is starting my mission of getting out of this box all over again. And this is applied to some of my relationships as well. Every time I get closer to the edge, I am shoved back to the center. What’s holding me back? The expectations, the responsibilities, and the rules.

Being in my 20s, I am working towards becoming self-aware. After graduating from university and being sick, I’ve become more aware of the things happening in my life. Becoming more self-aware means being aware of my bullshit. I have been. There are certain characteristics about myself that needs to be changed. I don’t like that I’m always telling people, “I’m working on it.” But am I really? How do you start working on certain things about yourself? Things that we now say are “toxic.” I once believed that I could work on these “toxic characteristics ” of mine but as I get older I’m realizing that I’m lying to myself. 

There are steps to this though. Steps to become self-aware. Being self-aware does not mean just being aware of your actions, flaws, thoughts, etc and that’s the end be all. No. That’s only part of it. That’s like 10% of it. I’ve started to learn that when you are aware of those aspects I mentioned above, you need to do something about it. That’s the part that I struggle with. I thought I had it—- the equation: noticing your actions, flaws, thoughts, emotions + doing something about it = self-aware. But is this really a realistic equation? Is this how one becomes more self-aware? What does it even mean to be self-aware? For me? For you?

So far, what I have learned is that you are meant to grow in your twenties. When I say that, I mean that you are meant to feel uncomfortable. I don’t remember when I’ve been comfortable (well when I was like 11 and didn’t have to pay bills). My goal for now, as a 22 year old woman, is to be self aware. Hold myself accountable. Process my emotions and thoughts. Be present. I’ve given up on myself for so long, I no longer want to do that. And most importantly, try. Try to step outside of this box my parents have placed me in.

Keep going because the journey does not end here.

Thank you for reading!

Writer: Diaka Thiam (:

“Where’s your husband, Diakha?”

I know, another blog post about marriage. I’m sorry but when you’re a 22 year old African woman, you are constantly asked about marriage. I recently had a conversation with an aunt of mine and this conversation left me confused. This is how the conversation went down—

Aunt: do you have a husband yet? 

Me: no not yet but auntie I’m gradu-

Aunt: no do you have a husband? Are you talking to anyone? Do you want to get married? 

Me: yes aunty, of course, but I’m gradua-

Aunt: You should be married by now. Start talking to someone. 

Me: But I am graduating.

Aunt: Oh really! Congratulations, when are you graduating?

She was really disappointed that I wasn’t married yet!

That is it. At this point, I am beyond frustrated. I just wanted to tell her I was graduating. That’s something right? That’s an accomplishment right? Yet, marriage is the biggest accomplishment for an African girl like me. Not to my parents, but to others. I thought about what my aunt said. Did I want marriage? Yes, of course. Did I want marriage now? No, not really.

Although I have seen many of my mates get married, I am happy for them. However, the one thing that gets me are those aunties who like to compare. They tell everyone how you’re not married yet. This always makes me feel ashamed. It makes me feel like I have not accomplished the biggest thing for an African woman. But, in this new world, things are changing for African women like me. The woman has to define what her accomplishments are. Why do we let ‘society’ (meaning us) dictate what our accomplishments should be?

As an African woman, I have my own aspirations and desires. I have my own goals. My aunt had asked me if I wanted to get married. Of course I do. I would love to settle down with the love of my life (note to my future husband reading this, prepare yourself). I want to start my own family. However, I do not think I am ready. When God says that I am ready, things will fall into place for me.

I am not going to lie to you and say I do not care about being asked where my husband is. I do care. When you’re asked multiple times, there’s this pressure. The pressure eventually builds up and causes you to be anxious. Makes you constantly think about your future and how much of a failure you are. But please, to my African women who feel this way, do not let this stop you from doing the things you love and being patient. Do not let this pressure you to rush into marriage. If you really are not ready, that is okay. And if you are ready, that is okay too. Do not let people tell you that you are getting too old for marriage and no one will marry you. It’s bullshit.

So at 22, while I wait for my husband, I will focus on myself.

And to my husband, wherever you are, please come claim me because I am tired of being asked where you are.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Writer: Diaka Thiam