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FEATURE: Ubuntu Talks: My Web Series Demystifying Black Experiences Through Conversation

My name is Chelsy Monie and I am a communications and art history student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I was born in Washington D.C but spent most of my life in Cameroon, and then Tanzania, before moving to Canada. Growing up in Africa, I never felt the need to define my blackness. My actions and experiences as a black person were never questioned or threatened. Everyone was treated equally and with the upmost respect regardless of the color of their skin. That drastically changed when I moved to Canada. Here, my whole identity was looked at under a microscope. Not only did my blackness begin to mean different things, but it also proved to be a limitation.

By Chelsy Monie, AFROPUNK contributor


My new experiences in Canada as well as recent events concerning black lives led to the creation of my YouTube channel, Ubuntu Talks. Ubuntu is an ancient African philosophy that involves compassion, human virtue and community. Loosely translated, it means: "I am what I am, because of who we are”. With this channel, I seek to practice this philosophy by bringing people together and creating a community-wide conversation about black lives. I think that it is important for us to define ourselves, instead of letting social institutions wrongly define our lives. Inspired by the people around me, this channel has become my way of contributing to the black community.

A new topic is introduced every week. Each video tackles a specific hardship that we go through as black people; be it our hair, accents or identities. The people that I interview are easy to relate to because they are young men and women who are trying to understand their place in society. Though my focus is on black experiences, I am also interested in how other young adults view black lives. After all, our interactions with others influence the way we are perceived. I want people of other races to be able to use this platform to voice their opinions, as well as educate themselves.

Discussions like these show how ridiculous and untrue stereotypes really are, while simultaneously breaking down the mystification and exoticization of black communities. I want to show the world that black people are beautiful beings. We are proud of our melanin, and we deserve to be regarded as equals.

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Comment by Justice Skeletion Milk Taylor on July 9, 2016 at 8:51pm

Yes! Growing up in Detroit i felt the same way. we had such a mix of diverse poeple there....growing up i did not intended to challenge what "black ness" meant i just wanted to express my self... moving to California is awhole notha story....it was the first time i had every seen a flyer for all white meetings about racism or had to come to the knowing that not everyone understood my perspective... but thanksfully there are many treasures of poeple everywhere.. but i still get to "challenge" poeple even if thats not my intention.. its just to be me and comfortable in my own skin...thanks for this! (p.s poeple in CA are nice been up there a few times a" lol) 


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