Black Lives Matter EVERYDAY.

Have you ever stood up in front of your class to present, and you can feel your heart sink, all eyes on you? Your hands clammy, a heavy lump that you can’t seem to swallow in your throat? You feel your legs shaking and you try to move it, just to shake off the feeling?

You know this feeling. It’s too common. This is how I have been feeling lately while taking in all of the information in the media. Promising myself to take breaks, but wanting to be updated every minute.

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to process everything. Finding ways to be useful, share information, and not let my anger get the best of me. Last year, I found myself educating people on white privilege. I noticed how exhausted I was talking about racism- the constant need to educate. It took a while for me to realize it was not my duty to educate people on White America.

I noticed that educating people who refuse to acknowledge their privilege is a waste of time. Why do Black people have to educate White people, the same people who created this system that BENEFITS them on racism? On racial privilege? On why our lives matter? And for those who are going to their friends saying, “educate me.” Please go and educate yourself. We are not here to educate you. You have resources. For my non-Black people who are letting their families talk shit at the dinner table, use your voice. For those who are dating or married to Black people, use your privilege. Stand up. Speak up. Your silence does absolutely nothing for us. For those who love Black culture, and thrive off of it, use your voice. You can talk about Black music, and how great it makes you feel, but you’re quiet when Black people are being killed? No, use your voice. For those who constantly say the N word, and think there’s nothing wrong with saying it, where is your voice now?

For my “slavery has ended, get over it” people, what do you have to say now? For my “All lives matter” people, how do you explain our blood in the hands of White America? For my “I’m color blind- I do not see color” people, how do you explain why BLACK people are constantly being killed? For my “I’m staying neutral” people, what is staying neutral going to do? For my “enough is enough” people, yeah we know, is that all you have to say?

To really understand Black people’s experiences in White America, you must start somewhere. Reading is a great way to start. Here are some books and podcast you can learn from.


and there’s more. I will create a separate post with more books. Here is a podcast which talks about race and culture:

Now, here is how you can support during this time:

Do your part. Black Lives Matter EVERYDAY. There’s no reason as to why you cannot use your voice.


Down below, you will find more information on how to support small Black owned businesses. This was organized by Alexis Akarolo. You can contact Alexis and donate through the following link:

I will update this post as much as possible.

Last updated: 06/01/2020

Thank you for reading. Written by Diaka Thiam.

Taking care of YOU.

Note: In light of recent events, I would like to acknowledge the people who have lost their lives to COVID-19. May they rest in peace. I would also like to thank the people who are risking their lives for us everyday. And to my people who are struggling to take care of themselves during this time, I hope this helps.

Taking care of YOU. How does this even look like? How do people normally take care of themselves? I always tell people to take care of themselves, but I never know how they do it. What does your self care look like? 

During a time like this, it’s easy to fall deep into something you can’t seem to get out of. You are with your thoughts 24/7 and the distractions around you aren’t too healthy. I have struggled these past few weeks, although I considered myself a homebody. Before this, I loved being at home, but I still went out and lived life. But why is this so different for most of us? Because we no longer have our “normal” life routine. We are now forgetting what day it is or we just feel like everyday is a Sunday. For me, I’m constantly stuck in my thoughts. However, just this past week, I’ve tried my best to begin a new routine. To start adjusting. To start living, yes to start living at home. 

These are the things that have helped me thus far. Things keeping me sane and content. It may or may not work for you, but I encourage you to find your routine, your new rhythm. Do not be afraid to go outside of the box (please, do not go outside of your house to visit multiple people). Do not be afraid to use this time to REST. Oh- I hope you know what it means to rest because sometimes I forget. Yes, these are difficult times, but I am a huge believer in, we’ll make it. 

What has worked for me 🙂

FaceTime or calling my friends/family

This is so important to me. Although I’m quiet, I still need to talk to people. My family and friends are my rock. Just seeing their faces or hearing their voices brings me peace. They keep me grounded and focused. I also love making people laugh, so I need them to hear my corny jokes. 


I never had time to cook before this. I always cooked during the weekends, but now I’m like yeah the refrigerator is my best friend.

I love eating, and I’m obsessed with watching cooking videos, which then inspires me to cook a delicious meal. Cooking is so therapeutic and rewarding. 


I have been creating playlists during this time. I love finding new artists to listen to. I’ve also been updating my wedding playlist. I have to be ready! Music can also be therapeutic. Sometimes, it can take you to a different realm or get you active. For me, it’s either RnB or Afrobeat. 


I love searching for new things to listen to, something that can inspire me. I’m a reader, so I had to get new books to read/listen to. For my fellow readers, this is your time to catch up on the books you’ve bought. OR you can read articles online. For my non-readers, you can still read or listen to a podcast that suits your taste. Special shout out to Empty Opinions! Great podcast to listen to for my pop culture people. You can listen to Empty Opinions through this link:

Binging tv shows/watching Marvel Movies

This helped for a little while, but I got bored real quick. I’ve searched for so many shows to binge, but I could not find the right one. I’m still searching so if you have any recommendations, let me know! I have been watching marvel movies and African wedding videos. Please do not judge me.


I do not exercise. If you have a problem, abeg fight me. I love yoga though. It’s relaxing. I’m starting to wake up early mornings before I start work and do some yoga/meditation. If you’re like me and you hate exercising, join the yoga squad. Don’t be shy. For those who love to exercise, please follow my little brother’s fitness page on instagram:


I have so many art supplies in my room (I took art during my last semester of college and spent a lot of money on supplies). I use my sketchbook from time to time to draw patterns. I LOVE creating new patterns. I’m not saying paint Mona Lisa. No, I’m saying if you have the supplies, sketch ANYTHING. If you have paint, do some abstract art. Let your mind wander.


For my fellow writers or people who love to journal. Keep writing. I’ve been writing letters because why not. Am I gonna send out these letters? No. For my fellow over-thinkers, write. Write. Write. 

Makeup/Skin Care Routine

I SUCK at doing my makeup, but it’s my time to SHINE. I really want to practice doing my makeup so that I can look good. However, I have been loving the way my skin is looking lately. I’ve been taking care of my face and it’s rewarding. 

30 day challenges

These are great for times like this. You can find these challenges online or on Pinterest. I look forward to doing them. (This one is not a great example but please explore Pinterest!)

Source: Pinterest

Confessing your feelings to your crush

It’s time to shoot your shot. Tell your crush how you feel (ONLY IF THEY ARE ALSO SINGLE). When you shoot your shot, come up with the next game plan. If they’re not interested, please leave them alone and move on. Abeg, do not look desperate. 

While we’re talking about crushes, FaceTime dates

These are so cute! I love that people are dressing up and being serious about this. If you were constantly going on dates before this, my friend, FaceTime dates are for you. Something to look forward to!

Learn a new skill.

I HATE to say it, I really do, but for those who just want to feel productive, you can do this. There’s nothing wrong with practicing a skill you already have or learning a new one. Do not come for me for saying this. I said those who want to feel productive. 

And finally- REST.

This is so important for me. My sleeping schedule is all over the place and I just want a day where I can be lazy. Do not forget to rest. 

Please stay at home unless you need to go grocery shopping or go to the pharmacy. Find your own routine, and share it with me via Instagram. If you need someone to chat with, I got you. Overall, take care of YOU. 

Thank you for reading! 🙂

Written by Diaka Thiam

"I'm not African, my parents are…"

Hello! Welcome back to the Life of An African Girl in America. You’re probably wondering why I’ve started that way- I never start my blogs this way. Just wanted to start different. 

“When I was younger, I always told people, “I’m not African, my parents are…” I told people this because Africans were looked down upon. I used to care about what people thought about me. But as I got older, I stopped caring.” – Sidi Thiam (my 20 year old brother)

Can you read the title again? Okay, cool. So our topic today is interesting in so many ways. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say this line: “I am not (insert any ethnicity), my parents are.” In this post though, we’re going to talk about Africans. I hear this more from African youth. In the back of my mind, I really thought things have fully changed. Meaning- our youth have embraced their culture. If you look at people’s social media bios, you will see their country’s flag. Some of the youth I know will put Senegal’s flag in their bio. Some will wear a chain of Africa. Some will dress in their African attire and caption their photo- “for the culture.” All of this is beautiful. It makes me proud because I can see a change.

When I was younger this was not the case. For my Africans who grew up in America, you remember the term- African Booty Scratcher? Oh those days were terrible (if I have triggered you, I am deeply sorry). I almost hated being African when I was younger. I didn’t even have African friends, just cousins who I considered my friends. Fortunately, I grew out of that. I went to school with kids whose knowledge on Africans came from movies, television shows, music, friends, and family members. However, looking at our youth today, I envy them. I envy the fact that they are able to embrace their culture and where they are truly from (IN A GOOD WAY, please don’t come at me). 

Who can we thank for that though? I think growing up, the rise of social media increased a positive perception of Africans. But, we have to also remember the negative views. I won’t touch on that just yet. During middle and high school, I had a Facebook account. But I never saw “positive views” of Africans. I was a different child. This was before I was listening to Afrobeat and Mbalax (senegalese music). My first two years of high school, I was into heavy metal rock and obsessed with straightening my hair. You can say this was my “I’m not African, my parents are” phase. This was my phase. I am not saying this is anyone else’s phase as well. I call it a phase because I grew out of it. I started noticing non-Africans embracing other African cultures. I noticed how when other African people introduced themselves, they would proudly say, “I’m African.” I noticed my taste in music changing, no longer the heavy rock metal, but the smooth and nice Afrobeat. I noticed how I was complimented every time I wore my traditional African attire. So, I became more aware and in tune with my identity. I was born in America, but I am indeed African. 

But what about the youth that are still saying, “I’m not African, my parents are” ? What happened? Why are they not embracing their African culture? For the record, I’m talking about youth born in America. Here’s what I think: they’ve either never been to their parents country of origin or they have and just do not feel like they belong. It took time for me to realize how hard it is for African youth who were born in America. Their parents may have educated them on their culture and country of origin as best as they could, but it just never clicked for them. I understand this. How can you identify as something that you do not resonate with? 

At first, I was frustrated when I heard young people say it. Over time though, I understood why. Just like me, they were born in America. However in my case, I did go to Senegal. I came back to Philadelphia, learned English and assimilated into the “American” culture. I had the privilege of identifying as both African and American. I live in both worlds. But, as for some of our youths who were born in America, they may not have this same privilege. Again, how can you identify as something that you do not resonate with? I am not saying my young African people cannot still identify as African just because they’ve never been to their parent’s country of origin. They can. An example is my younger brother who I quoted in the beginning of this post. He was born in America, but has never been to Senegal or Mauritania. However, when he was younger, he did use the phrase, “I am not African, my parents are.” What changed?

Here is my question though, is this a phase? What is going on now in these middle and high schools for our African youth? My goal is to dive deeper into this by looking at the research that may exist. If it does not exist, I will definitely conduct research on this (hopefully). 

I think we’ll continue to hear this line for a while. Do you think there will be a change? My hope is for older Africans to be a great representative for our African youth. How can we help? How can we be mentors?

This is not the end of our conversation. If you have thoughts or questions, do not hesitate to reach out! I am all ears, and excited to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Thank you for reading! More posts to come!

Written by Diaka Thiam 🙂

“Meet my Suitors?”

I have a new fear, and it’s something I can get over. However, I think it will take time. I recently had a conversation with my mom and cousin about marriage. Let’s pause right here: I HAD A CONVERSATION ABOUT MARRIAGE WITH MY MOM. MY OVERPROTECTIVE MOM. My “I don’t want to see you around boys” mom. My “you can’t have boys as friends” mom. Yeah, I was honestly shocked by this conversation. But, the conversation took a turn, twist, jump, and spin that I did not like.

On this day, all three of us were sitting in the kitchen (my cousin and I were attempting to cook nem- senegalese “egg rolls”). I don’t remember how it started, but I remember my cousin asking my mom about this caste system in our culture. When she first told me about this caste system, I shook my head no. I told her my parents did not believe in it. Basically, I can only marry within my “family.” If I go outside of my family name, I am out of line. Code for, I can’t marry someone richer than me or who’s last name holds more power than mine.

I know you all remember my first marriage blog post. I had mentioned that my mom only cared if I married someone who is Muslim and African. Well…

I had never been so angry in my life. For the past few years, I spent talking to men who were Muslim and African. Now the game has changed. My cousin and I became quite discouraged after the conversation with my mom. When my mother told us about the caste system, I told her about the men I was interested in. She immediately said no.

Not to my mother. But this was my reaction.

I don’t like that my parents still hold onto to these old traditions. I mean, I respect it to an extent. However, some of these traditions need to go. To me, this caste system should not be in place. Why should I allow this to stop me from marrying the love of my life? Why should I fear who I bring home to my family? For so long, I’ve lived my parents dreams. In all honesty, it ends here. I cannot continue to live their dreams, I want to start living my own. And, I am not saying it should start through marriage, but it must start somewhere.

When I think about it, and this box that I have been put in, I am so limited. I’ve talked about this box before. I might just start calling it the box of limitations and expectations. Of course, I won’t go against my parents. It may look like it if I brought home someone who they most definitely will not accept. But, in the end, my goal is to get out of this box.

The day I introduce my suitors to my parents is the day you all will never see me again. The thought of introducing them is terrifying. But as I am getting older, I’ve learned to go around my parents on certain things. I know that the conversation about marriage will continue with my mother. I pray that they accept whoever I bring home (iA).

If you are in my exact situation, introduce who you want to your parents, but be ready for the backlash. Be ready to support the one you want to marry. Be ready to have long and continuous conversations with your family. Be ready for the consequences.

To my suitors, brace yourselves.

Thank you for reading! (:

Written by: Diaka Thiam

“10 Lessons…from an African girl.”

I am ashamed of myself. I promise in 2020, I will be more consistent. But I am happy to share my 10 lessons of 2019. I am not going to lie… some of these lessons I had to keep learning. 2019 was an interesting year for me, and I am ready to welcome the new year 🙂

1. “A little bit of change won’t hurt…”

I struggle with change. But recently though, I’ve learned to accept it. I was so used to a specific routine. To me, change could be anything. It can be something so minor but also something drastic. I’ve had both minor changes and drastic changes happen. I learned that I don’t want to stay where I am, no matter how comfortable I get. I want to be challenged. I want to learn to adjust to whatever change that comes my way. I started this year with expectations but those expectations have changed. I know it’s hard. You are so comfortable where you are, but is it helping you grow? Is it helping you discover who you truly are? Your potential? Change is hard. Any type of change. But guess what, change can be good. So welcome it, embrace it with open arms.

2.”Healing is not an overnight process…”

You know how many times I have wanted to heal overnight. I know it’s impossible, but still. Have you ever watched Teen Wolf? In Teen Wolf, when the werewolves got hurt, they would heal immediately. I know, it’s a terrible example, but let a girl dream. I’m still learning about the healing process. This year, what I did when I was supposed to be healing, I would heal with the people that hurt me. Meaning, after being hurt, I would forgive and instead of me to heal on my own, I would go back to the same people that hurt me. Thinking about it now is making me cringe. Here’s the thing though, some of us do this because we’re afraid. It could be anything. I know for me, I was afraid of losing those people, which is why I kept going back to them. This of course did not help me heal whatsoever. It made things a lot worse for me. Please, do not delay your healing process. It takes time but you need to put in effort. One day you may be good, but the next day, you will feel horrible. Healing is not a one time thing. As you heal, remember that you are constantly evolving. Find out what it means to heal. It may be different for you. Know that this is not the end. Keep going.

3.Having expectations for people and they don’t know about them… how sway?!”

Expectations. You have to let go of them. They will have you overthink. They will have you ruined. When you have expectations for someone, you have to let them know. You can’t get mad that they did not meet your expectations. I am guilty of this. I’ve had expectations for people in my life and they weren’t aware of them. Every time they disappointed me, they would wonder why I was behaving in an odd way. Or why I was giving them the cold shoulder. If you’re going to have expectations for someone, you have to make sure to tell them. And make sure, they are realistic expectations. Make sure you also meet that person’s expectations. It all just starts by having a conversation.  

4. “Reach out when you’re in need of help or just someone to talk to…”

I’ve been told that I am strong, but to be honest I never believed it. I didn’t believe it before because when I’m weak, I try to deal with it all on my own. I deal with a lot of things on my own or seek professional help. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help from friends. Some will say that’s what you’re supposed to do. Sometimes though, it’s hard to reach out, especially when you’re stuck. However, it’s always best to have a support system. A small group of people who can be there for you when you really need it. Don’t abuse it too much though because everyone has problems they’re dealing with. If you do not have a strong support system, look at the people in your life who you know can help you. This doesn’t have to be just your friends. When you’re down and you really need help, please find a way to reach out. Because there are people who care about you.

5. “You’re not always the victim… so stop it.”

You ever been in a situation where you were the victim, but then after the situation has ended, you still continued “playing victim.” Yeah, stop it. I’ve done this before and it took me a while to be cognizant of it. It’s very easy to play victim after you have been the “real victim” before. You were hurt before. Someone manipulated you. Someone did you dirty. Yes, I get it. But, my dearest friend, when you’re in the wrong, take accountability. Take time to reflect and realize where you went wrong, and what you can do to resolve the situation.

6. “Your time will come.”

And it will. I have always rushed the process. Every process. I had a plan for everything. But, I realized that wasn’t fair for me. Most of my plans always went south because God had something else planned for me. It took time for me to accept that. You cannot rush any process… just because you have seen your friends somewhere in their life and you want to be there as well. However, you don’t know how long it took for them to get there OR what obstacles they had to go through to get there. Your time will come. It’s all about being patient and not being too hard on yourself. We all have our own books, stories, chapters. We’re all in a different chapter, pages in our lives.

7. “Rejection looks pretty, right?”

You don’t think so? Rejection is interesting because it’s something most of us fear. This past summer, I was rejected from a lot of things. From jobs to my love life. You would think I would’ve given up, but I didn’t. It’s humbling, to be honest. It made me take a few steps back. When I graduated this past Spring, I knew my potential, but I let it get the best of me. You would think that because you worked your ass off, things would come easy afterwards. Ha. I was wrong. I am not saying rejection is good, but it does humble you. In a really good way.

8. “Sometimes, people just aren’t happy for you and guess what? That’s none of your business”

It’s not your business. There will always be people in your life who aren’t happy for you. You can take it personally, but you can also let it go. One of the most important things I’ve learned so far is that YOU are your biggest supporter. I AM my biggest supporter. I published a book over the summer and not everyone in my life was happy for me. When I graduated, not everyone in my life was happy for me. Yeah, I cried about it, held a grudge, but I let go. It’s not easy of course. You want the people in your life to be happy about your accomplishments and goals, but remember that not everyone will happy for you. And guess what? It’s none of your business. Take your wins and celebrate yourself.

9. “It’s okay to outgrow people but that doesn’t mean you’re better than them”

You can outgrow your friends, family, strangers, whomever, but you are not better than them. Some of us outgrow the people in our lives because of our unique experiences. The situations, the heartbreaks, the crazy predicaments life hands us can help us outgrow some people. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is to make it seem like you’re above those people. You’re not. They may also outgrow you. Also, what you do with that newfound growth matters. Do you use it to help those in your life or do you gloat? Do you cut those relationships off or do you stay? I’m still learning this myself. And, I think it’s a lesson I will continue to learn in 2020.

10. “Why are you hard on yourself when society is already hard on you?” 

I am so hard on myself. It’s something I have tried to work on for so long, but I just constantly beat myself up for EVERYTHING. I’ve seen people who are younger than me do this and it breaks my heart. I’m a hypocrite though. I tell those young people to stop that, because the people in this world will do that for you. I tend to do this thing where I do not follow my own advice. But you get the point. People in this world will be hard on you, so why do you have to also be hard on yourself? When I say being hard on yourself, I mean, self sabotaging, negative self talk. Telling yourself you’re not good enough. Beating yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made. All of this creates more baggage for you. It’s heavy. Eventually, you’ll have a difficult time carrying this baggage. You will bring this baggage everywhere- into your relationships and workplace. However, it’s a lot of work to stop being hard on yourself. For me, I’ve taken baby steps. One of the things I started doing was looking up or creating positive affirmations. Setting the intention. Looking at Diakha, and saying my affirmations. When I make mistakes, I reflect and process everything I learned from those mistakes. It’s hard, but you can do it. 

These are my lessons. I really want to know what you have learned this year! Remember to take it easy. Enjoy your life. And share all the love you can. 

Thank you for reading 🙂

Writer: Diaka Thiam



Yesterday, I called my grandmother 

I asked her what it meant to be an African woman, 

To hold and protect a household, that you’ve built. 

To carry a household on your back with a single yirame, 

Tie it to your chest and your stomach, 

To quiet it down whenever it cries, pacing yourself with calmness and ease 

To feed it when it’s hungry, 

To never scream, 

Even when you’ve been told multiple times that you are just a woman, 

To claim the kitchen as your safe haven because you’re just a woman. 

But you’re more than that. 

Yesterday I called my grandmother, 

I asked her what it means to be an African woman, 

You are worthy.

black and blue

Every time she closes her eyes, she’s hoping to see that five year old girl, running freely 

A smile spreading across her face, 

Never having to worry about anyone touching her. 

Black and blue, now when she closes her eyes, she sees you, your darkness right beside her,

Coddling and holding her too tight,

Black and blue, when she closes her eyes, she sees you on top of her, your hot breath on her neck, your hands in places where it shouldn’t be 

Black and blue, when she closes her eyes, she’s telling you no, 

she now hears your laughter, 

she now sees you. 

For who you are. 

The devil in you. 

Black and blue , she now sees you. 

“You shot your shot, and missed?”

There is always that one person you will risk it all for. Not ALL, but you know what I mean. This is the person that changes things for you. The person who sparks this stupid confidence in you. Confidence you didn’t even know you had. So what did you do? You decided to shoot your shot. You had the ball. You knew when to shoot. In the back of your mind though, something told you to not embarrass yourself. But, you did not let that stop you.

So, you shoot the ball. And you miss.

He didn’t shoot the ball, but this was me during the summer.

During the summer, I met a few people who I was attracted to. When it came to shooting my shot, my confidence always fluctuated. For example, when I was an undergrad, I met this guy at an event. He was dark-skinned and a little tall. I think I was 19 when this happened, but I remember telling my friends that I was attracted to this guy. I was staring at him like the creep I was. I thought I was looking at him in a flirty manner. Of course, he noticed. Two of my guy friends at the time decided to walk me to him so I could shoot my shot. We walked over to him and I started a small conversation with him. He had a friend with him who knew what I was up to.

Knowing that the conversation went well, I asked the guy for his number. He gave it to me, which surprised me. Mind you, I was feeling good. In my head, I was like, “YES SHAWTY WE DID IT.” But we really didn’t do shit. I literally walked away like this:

Yes, I shot my shot, but I failed. I failed because he wasn’t really interested. I texted him the next day and I KNEW he wasn’t interested. So I moved on. Now, during this summer, a few people caught my eye. I’m getting older and I didn’t want to be scared of shooting my shot. Rejection happens. We know this.

The first person I shot my shot with automatically friend zoned me. No, I’m not embarrassed by it. I was actually glad they did that instead of leading me into something nonexistent. The second person was my risk. Unlike the first person, I actually told the second person, I liked him. I honestly did not care about how he was going to respond, I just wanted him to know that I liked him. I was testing things out. After I told him, he seemed surprised that I liked him. To the point where he asked why I liked him. I wasn’t phased by this at first. So, I tell him why I liked him. He thanks me and changes the topic. At that point, I was like what the fuck:

After that encounter, I told myself to take a break. I knew that if I shot my shot with another person, I was just going to continue to embarrass myself. Of course, I was shooting my shot with the wrong guys. I wasn’t looking at the ones who were actually interested in me.

If you like someone, there is nothing wrong with telling the person. You may be scared of the reaction, but at least you tried. I recommend waiting for cues to see if the other person is feeling the same way. I’m not an expert, but I just wanted to share my experience and what I have learned. If you don’t go for it, you will never know if they like you or not. You don’t have to be bold and straight up tell the person you like them. You can do things for them, giving them clues, but only if you have that patience and time.

Does this mean I am going to give up? Hell no. But I am taking a break. For those who want to shoot their shot and need a sign, THIS IS YOUR SIGN. Go for it and thank me later. If you miss, do not come for me. For my next shot, I will make it (we speaking it into existence).

Written by Diaka Thiam

Thank you for reading! 🙂

“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:

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 (: