YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola
Apr19

YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola

Interview Conducted by Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine Part 3 of 3: Youtube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola CB Mag: Many of us see extravagant weddings. How do you advise brides to stay focused? WM: Everyone wants a lavish wedding. What I always tell people is remember you’re going to spend all that money on one day, everyone comes, eats, drinks, and has a good time, but no one goes home with you. It’s just you and your husband. The wedding is just one day. That day is going to go very fast. You don’t want to start fighting your husband because of money. And you don’t want to marry the wrong person because you want to have the “wedding of life”, as we Nigerians call it. If you can’t afford a Vera Wang dress, get an imitation dress.  If you can’t afford a 7 tier cake, get a dummy cake!  Life is too short for all of this. If you don’t have the money, it’s not worth it. Focus on the end goal which is your marriage and cut your coat according to your cloth. CB Mag: If you could plan one wedding, whose would it be? WM: If I could plan one wedding- it would be my best friend’s wedding- Nene Ntofon. She went above and beyond for my wedding. She did so much to the extent that my in-laws remember her. She took on the role of a sister and a wedding planner, and a way of me making her day beautiful is a way to repay her for all she did for my wedding. For me, planning a wedding is a personal thing, and I’ve known her since I was 7 or 8. So I could put sooo much personal touch into it. The other person would be an actress in Nigeria named Dorcas Shola Fapson She seems to be so much fun, like her snapchat is life. I’d like to plan her wedding because her wedding would be a turn up! I feel like planning a wedding like that will be so much fun, grand, tasteful but fun. CB Mag: What is your advice to young women preparing for marriage? WM: Marriage is not easy. It’s not a walk in the park. Young people need to ask themselves– Am I built for marriage? As a woman– am I confident, motivated, hard-working? A man will respect you when you have your own thing going for you. My advice- find yourself. Know who you are. Be confident and have goals. Love yourself.Also, be patient. Don’t expect it to be all butterflies. My brother told me to look...

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YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola
Apr18

YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola

Interview conducted by Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine (Part 2 of Weddings, Beauty, and YouTube with Wura Manola) CB Mag: What is your personal definition of beauty? And how do you work to portray this? WM: Uniqueness. I am obsessed with people who are able to stand out, whether it’s fashion or makeup, etc. Being confident in your own skin is also my definition. Everyone else is taken so you have to be yourself. I portray this in that I try to be unique. I don’t like looking like everyone else, so I try to dye my hair a different color. I have had grey hair, blonde hair, red hair. I love standing out. As women, we have so many issues that we are fighting in the world, such as equality,  hating your body should not be one of them. CB Mag: Do the standards of beauty differ in Nigeria and the UK? If so, how? WM: The standards of beauty definitely differ. In Nigeria, you are considered beautiful if you are light skinned. But, here in the UK, no one cares about that! I prefer the standards of beauty in the UK because here, it’s about how you put yourself together (i.e. your health, fashion sense, your hair etc.), which are all these are things you have control over. But if people define your beauty by how light your skin color is it’s harder because changing your skin color is more complicated than going on a diet or changing your wardrobe. I would say Nigeria has a lot to work on. I feel that the craze of being light-skinned to be beautiful in Nigeria is so backwards and needs to go away because it’s doing a lot of damage to women causing them to bleach their skin and it’s going to affect the younger generation. This isn’t that all Nigerians feel this way, and it’s not in ALL of Nigeria. Please know that it’s not a generalization. CB Mag: Has it always been this way? WM: Yes, because when I look at my mom’s generation and aunt I can see that some of them have bleached. They talked about it was the “in” thing. But I think the difference then is that it was a trend, but now I think it’s borderline discrimination. I’ve heard of men in Nigeria say that if you’re dark you’re dirty. There’s also an article in the newspaper about why a light skinned woman would make a better wife. Things like this baffle me. I wouldn’t want my child to grow up in a country that she thinks she’s ugly because she is dark...

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YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola
Apr17

YouTube, Beauty, and Weddings with Wura Manola

Interview Conducted by Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine All things related to weddings excite Nigerian YouTuber, Blogger, Vlogger, Wedding Planner, and Stylist Wura Manola who’s destined to become a force to be reckoned with in the wedding industry. On her YouTube Channel Get Wedding Ready she discusses how to save money while planning a wedding, wedding day beauty tips and tutorials, how to select your wedding party, and much more! In addition to her love for weddings, Wura is confident in her own skin as a woman. This, she believes, is the standard of beauty more women need to set for themselves. Learn more about Wura in this exclusive interview as she talks about beauty, weddings, marriage, self- esteem, and social media.   ColorBlind Magazine: What is the benefit of being a YouTuber? Wura Manola: One of the benefits of being a YouTuber is being able to reach a larger audience. I started off blogging about my wedding journey, and I got frustrated because I only got 500 or 600 views. I felt like I was writing and no one is reading my blogs. So, I asked myself ‘how can I reach more people?’ and that’s when I decided to start my YouTube channel. Now I reach people all over the world from places like Hawaii, France, Ghana, Gambia, Germany, Jamaica, United States. For me, reaching that amount of people is one of the greatest benefits and connecting with people from all over the world Also, I’m recognized as a voice in the African wedding industry. People send me emails asking my opinion, which I feel is good because it shows I’m making an impact. I’ve only been doing it for 7 months and have almost 2,000 subscribers. I’m not at the point that I can quit my full-time job, but the recognition and reaching a larger audience and growing my brand have been benefits of being a YouTuber. CB Mag: How has YouTube helped you market your brand as a wedding planner, entrepreneur and blogger? WM: YouTube has played a great deal in marketing because I showcase my work; I put up work of weddings I’ve done, and my wedding. It’s free marketing for myself. I receive lots of emails from people asking me to plan their wedding. As an entrepreneur, it’s helping me build my brand as a wedding planner, YouTuber, and wedding blogger. In addition, I’ve been asked by people to be interviewed and to collaborate with them and to blog about their services. CB Mag: Behind the glamour and fame of YouTube comes challenges. What have been your challenges? WM: This is a difficult question because...

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Determined to Define Elegance
Jan27

Determined to Define Elegance

Written by Leah T. Johnson/ ColorBlind Magazine  “I’m only holding two photos in my hand,” Tyra Banks says in a serious, quiet tone. “But only one of these photos is the winner. Only one can be America’s Next Top Model…” Moments later, the winner is announced, gasps and screams for joy replace the silent anxious space that existed only seconds ago. Tears are flowing, and hugs are given. A new beauty has been crowned, and is poised to begin her journey as a model. Rana Ellison, a native of Detroit, may have never stood before supermodel Tyra Banks, but she does know a thing or two about modeling. Ellison formerly lived in New York and has worked in the commercial, fashion, and sports industry of modeling. While most people are aware that the modeling industry can be cutthroat and capable of a “dark side,” many have not experienced it as Ellison has. “It goes beyond looks and I saw that a lot of women were hurting. Mainstream media drives out sexuality,” Ellison said, even mentioning that as a model she struggled with her weight. What pained her most was there was no outlet for these women who took gorgeous photos, but were suffering from low self esteem and other issues. Ellison knew that in order to provide a remedy she had to remove herself from the situation. She wanted to create a platform for women, a group where they could come together and express themselves. This desire birthed the nonprofit Saving Her Elegance (S.H.E.) in June 2015.     “Saving Her Elegance isn’t a faith-based organization nor is it the common nonprofit that only wants volunteers…we like to be heavily involved with everyone and feel like a family. It’s a lifestyle,” Ellison said. One of the programs offered is “She Can Be Me” which allows ladies to shadow those in professions they are interested in. Maishunda Welborn, a 21 year old from Detroit, who wanted to be a professional stylist was chosen for the program. After being selected for this opportunity based on a video she submitted, Welborn was flown to Tampa, Florida to assist with styling for a runway show at the You Deserved to Be Loved Summit. She assisted Kelly Reeds Boutique as a lead stylist. Welborn received exclusive tickets to Beyonce’s concert in Florida. Currently, Welborn is finishing her degree in Fashion and will graduate May 2017. True to her roots as a model, Ellison incorporates fashion and modeling, in the S.H.E. photoshoot. Ladies are selected for this high fashion photoshoot by stating in writing what S.H.E. means to them. S.H.E. also offers programs for anti-bullying...

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Managing Money on Her Own Terms
Jan16

Managing Money on Her Own Terms

Written By Leah T. Johnson/ ColorBlind Magazine  A vacant, ordinary two-family flat is much, much more to financial guru Aja Williams. This type of home symbolizes the birth of financial capability- a step above financial literacy. The ownership of this cherished location is the vision for Aja’s Real Life Finances, a business spearheaded by Williams, to work with those who need assistance with finances, making smart money decisions and of course the “B-word”- Budgeting. Her desire to give back stems from a true understanding of personal financial woes. Cutting Back and “Letting Things Happen” Although Williams credits herself as being a disciplined person, the characteristic hasn’t always manifested itself in her dealings with finances. She believes her financial woes early on were caused by a “lack of wisdom.” Williams recalls making the decision to purchase a home at age 22 for herself and her son, Vincent Long Jr.  She worked at Ford Motor Company, drove a truck, and sent her son to private school. This was “Adulting” at its finest. However, things soon spiraled out of control. Her house note, home insurance, property taxes and finances increased and spun out of control within a year  to 2 years. “I recall going into a room in my house and saying ‘Lord, it has got to be more to life than this.’” Moments later, Williams was creating her first budget at age 26 using an excel spreadsheet. Ironically, this is the same spreadsheet she uses today. She used the “Snowball Approach,” to pay off her debt, from the smallest to largest amount. Williams forced herself to shop at thrift stores, avoid going to the hair salon, and to save any money she received. That same night, Williams promised herself she wouldn’t borrow anymore money. Lack of finances resulted in utilities being cut off from time to time until payday. “My heat was off, my son was sleeping in jogging suits, and the next day I was standing in line at DTE and my feet were freezing because I was cold the night before,” Williams recalls. “But I paid my bill, and I didn’t owe anyone afterwards! I didn’t have to go give my mom any money.” Despite an uncomfortable situation, Williams and her son endured and she felt the heavy debt slowly lifting. “Sometimes that’s the problem; we need to just let things happen… you’re not going to die, you’re not going to go to jail… just let stuff happen so you can get to where you need to get to.” The Birth of A Business “Being in debt was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt outside of losing someone...

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Candid Hair Talk
Jan12

Candid Hair Talk

 Filmed By Leah T. Johnson  Starting off 2017 with a new hair video! It’s a candid hair talk! Enjoy!  

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Hidden Figures- Lesson Learned
Jan06

Hidden Figures- Lesson Learned

By Leah T. Johnson/ ColorBlind Magazine  Black History Month and Women’s History Month came early this year. It was completely unexpected. I was ill-prepared, and launched into space via the new film Hidden Figures. This movie gave me an early present in the form of a history lesson i didn’t know I needed, as I watched the story of three African American women who worked for NASA. at the Langley campus in Virginia and helped launch America into space. Admittedly, I’d become a little irritated with the films about Africans/African Americans Hollywood has created and pushed into mainstream for the past few years. Of course, it’s great for the seasoned black actors and the rising stars. but I wondered ‘how many times does the story of the fight for civil rights need to be told? How many ways does it need to be presented in film to prove that black history is American history? Is all this hoopla surrounding black films really necessarily? Enough is enough already. In addition to those feelings, I’m still frightened of the movie Apollo 13- a movie I saw when I was way too young. I remember my heart pounding through the entire film as it was too suspenseful for my nerves. I’d since turned a cold shoulder to movies about outer space. Hidden Figures, however, removed my growing dismay toward black films, and I settled comfortably into the film’s setting at NASA. This movie is about much more than astronauts and rocket ships. It’s about Education. Hidden Figures makes being educated extremely appealing and noteworthy. It makes having a brilliant mind- and not being afraid to use it- attractive. In a selfie-obsessed world where young people run to take the perfect picture in the bathroom mirror, Hidden Figures shows the opposite. For those women running (sometimes literally) to the Colored bathrooms at NASA to relieve themselves also meant putting brains over boys, and it was their brains that made them truly beautiful. Even in bathroom stalls they calculated numbers, looked beyond the obvious math problems, and vied for positions and pay they knew they deserved. These women were the first of their kind as Mathematicians, Engineers, Supervisors, and Influencers on the operations and success of NASA. The film gives just enough details about their personal lives, including their husbands who loved them and were attracted to their wit, perseverance, and intelligence. Considering that my alma mater unveiled its upgraded Science Building last year, It was perfect timing that the University offered pre-screening passes to Hidden Figures, and a special program highlighting the S.T.E.M. field. I brought my dad as my date, and I...

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Sister Sister Talk: Hair and Beauty
Dec12

Sister Sister Talk: Hair and Beauty

Filmed by Leah T. Johnson and Lena Johnson/ ColorBlind Magazine  My sister and I have teamed up again to do a requested wig review and to share a new beauty product we like! Please enjoy the video!!

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Beauty, Style, and Snacks!!
Dec06

Beauty, Style, and Snacks!!

Filmed by Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine  Hi Everyone!! Please enjoy my latest video as I share some of my favorites from the month of November!

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I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Mentoring Inspires, Encourages
Nov25

I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Mentoring Inspires, Encourages

Written By Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine  All Photos Credits for this story- AJ Photography  There isn’t much that Latonya Garth can’t imagine.  Fittingly, her Nonprofit Inspire, Motivate, Achieve, Grow, Intervene, Encourage (I.M.A.G.I.N.E.) Mentoring Program of Michigan celebrated its 6th year of operation with a gala in Detroit. The formal affair was complete with live music (including songstress Angela Davis, whose smooth voice effortlessly resembles that of neo-soul artist Jill Scott), entertainment such as modern dance and poetry highlighting the false world of social media, and powerful shared reflections. “Ever since Ms. Garth has been in my life I have committed to what I said I would,” said Reflectionist Sykenya Jackson, who will attend Macomb Community College in February 2017. Jackson was followed by Lauren Sowell who mentioned that the sessions “Know Your Worth” and the “Five People Factor” through I.M.A.G.I.N.E. have really helped her. Sowell is a detox nurse at age 24. Although she is a young mom and regrets the effects from her former lifestyle, she remains determined, and moved many in the audience to tears, including Garth. The woman of the evening was introduced and began her speech by having her daughter Micah recite the I.M.A.G.I.N.E. proclamation. It became apparent that Micah, aged 2, hears those words recited often. “I want everyone to know I have two babies, one who is two years old, and another child that’s six years old on life support (referring to I.M.A.G.I.N.E.) I’m also a stripper,” said Garth who quickly glanced at her dad, Michael Garth, after making that statement. She knew she had to explain herself. “I.M.A.G.I.N.E. allows me to strip off the person that comes in the door, and then build them back up.” To her dad’s relief, he yelled “Well, strip on then!” followed by laughter from the crowd. Garth wasn’t ashamed to admit that she had not intended to be the keynote speaker for the event. But doing so was just what she needed. It was as if her speech was a form of catharsis for her.  She spoke about not letting others get in the way of your dreams. She effortlessly and honestly reduced people to three categories saying “Don’t ever let anyone change you… people are either for you, against you, or in your way.” Garth, who has had much success in 2016 by visiting over 20 different places on behalf of I.M.A.G.I.N.E. admitted to some disappointments. For example, the former building for I.M.A.G.I.N.E. was an “emotional decision” she learned from and that “it’s ok to take a step back in order to take a step forward.” Above all, Garth made it clear that “the dream...

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