We need to have more conversations around mental illness. It’s 3.11am in the morning and my phone is blowing up, I curse under my breath and pick up. It’s my friend Clarine and she’s breathing heavily and crying intermittently. The sleep clears from my eyes and I’m struggling to decode what she’s saying. She says; […]
“I pray this winter be gentle and kind–a season of rest from the wheel of the mind.” –John Geddes The change in season—especially towards the end of the year—can be joyous and festive for some people. In November, some will enjoy great—or not so great—food and company of their families and friends during Thanksgiving. […]
Ike Slimster was born and raised in Nigeria, moved to America in 2006 and currently based in New York. Visual artist and producer, “Ike slimster” an alias under which he uses to explore his fields of interest, from art, music, comedy to design. Ike slimster also co-owns the creative agency Vistoria Studios, which specializes in online video content production.
His art is bold, eccentric and random but culturally saturated, exuding pride in his background and unconventionally fusing artistic themes and styles.
His work seldom displays the anatomy of women, in very body positive and uninhibited paintings with subliminal messages cloaked by vibrant themes and colors, such as the rosescale series. Experimenting with facial structures, body parts, and alignments.
Though his art takes the forefront, Ike Slimster channels his creativity into comedy, instrumental productions, creative direction for online content, video and photography, he has worked as creative director and producer with companies such as western union, ebay, okayafrica and currently works as an editor and producer at a media journalism studio.
– Ike Slimster
Okey K. Enyia is a native of Chicago, IL. and currently serves in the Division of Strategy, Policy, Planning, and Requirements at the Department of Health and Human Services – reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. He is also Founder & CEO of Enyia Strategies, LLC – a health policy consulting firm that provides advising, research support, policy analysis, project management, and legislative strategy for individuals and entities seeking measurable ways to influence policy on issues related to health equity, health disparities, social determinants of health and health in all policies.
As a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Health Policy Fellow (2014-2016), he worked for Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). During his time with Senator Murray on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee he played an instrumental role in signing into law the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Chicago State University. Prior to that, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Biochemistry from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
His new book “Indisputable: The Story of a Favored Son” can be found on Amazon and Kindle or on his website www.enyiastrategies.com. The book takes the reader on a journey of finding purpose by overcoming adversity. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, music, reading and giving back to his community as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
– Okey Enyia
Erada is a proud Nigerian, born and raised in Lagos, but she moved to Michigan her sophomore year of high school and has fell in love with the city ever since. She has an undying commitment to community, people, and helping the youth. She loves performing poetry and has being doing so in the heart of Detroit for almost 3 years now.
In the fall of 2016 she had a mental breakdown steaming from years of repressed emotion from past sexual abuse. From the breakdown she got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD. After a brief stent in a mental rehabilitation center she found her way back to life with the help of writing and poetry. She included in her healing process the preparation of a book she was would later call “lost girl” a collection of poems and short stories to explain some of the things she was feeling from the abuse she suffered. Lost Girl ; seven is available on Amazon for purchase.
She discovered her passion for helping and giving back when she took a year off college and volunteered with a non-profit called Enjoy Detroit. There she learned leadership skills and compassionate giving. She is passionate about expressing creativity, education and how helping the youth discover their creative side can help them live a prosperous life. She also loves dogs, reading, cooking and relaxing with friends and family.
– Erada Oleita
My name is Chidiebere Nwachukwu, born in Lagos Nigeria from Imo State. Moved to the United States at the age of 9 in 1998 . Graduated from highschool in 2006, Undergrad in 2010 Bacholor of Science in Business Administration in Computer information system, Masters of Science in Computer information Systems ’18 Currently working in the IT Dept for the Kansas City Public schools. One of the founders of Discover Travel LLC, better known as our Flagship trip DiscoverGidi. I enjoy traveling, working out and hanging out with my friends.
– Chidi Nwachukwu
Wasaba SoulQueenWu Sidibay is an Alumnae of Lincoln University. She graduated in 2015 with a BA degree in visual arts and then pursued a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary anticipating graduation on May 13th, 2019. Wasaba is a gifted artist, singer, entrepreneur and minister. She is the founder of I.A.H. Collective meaning I AM HERE Collective, which has a mission to affirm the humanity, experiences, and the significance of all of its participants by means necessary. This mission is achieved through workshops like Self Love Day, scholarships, community service and engagement projects and partnerships. Wasaba says that she believes in people and she believes in our human capacity to be and do the good we wish to see in this world today. With deep self-reflection, community support and the power of radical of love we can change the world one life at a time.
In her own words,
One of the best lessons that I have learned in this life is the power of making a choice. When I learned that I could choose life even when it felt like life wasn’t choosing me be back. I recognized a power in me that wasn’t defined by my circumstance but was a gift from the Most High God. That kind of love makes me fight harder for others and myself. I am worth it, all of us are!
– Wasaba SoulQueenWu Sidibay
Kelechi Ubozoh is a San Francisco Bay Area poet and mental health advocate. Kelechi frequents many Bay Area readings like Lit Crawl, Beast Crawl, Birds of Paradise, Lyrics and Dirges, Get Lit, Passages on the Lake, Voz Sin Tinta, Nomadic Press, Liminal, and Bay Area Generations. Check out her live performance. She is featured in The SAMHSA Voice Award Winning documentary, The S Word, following the lives of suicide attempt survivors in an effort to eliminate stigma of mental health issues. Check out The S Word Movie Trailer. Her story is also featured in the Live Through This Project.
“If you are a Nigerian struggling with a mental health condition, remember that this is a “health condition” and just like you would take care of your heart, you should take care of your mind without judgement. Please know that you aren’t alone, and that you can get better.” -Kelechi Ubozoh
Dozie Oheri is the Founder/CEO of Choose to DO, Inc. a nonprofit that mentors underprivileged youth. She has a family member diagnosed with schizophrenia.