'Let's Afro Talk' changes perceptions of Africa and Africans

Broadcasting has taken many turns throughout the years, with technology becoming smaller, better and more affordable. Those changes have allowed students and up-and-coming broadcasters the opportunity to get their stories out online without having to fight for a spot on the airwaves.

Rising stars from Richland College, Vanessa Myron and Taiwo Adebunmi, are the creators of the YouTube channel talk show, “Let's Afro Talk.” Myron and Adebunmi are from West Africa. Myron came to the U.S. as an international student two years ago. Adebunmi came with family about three years ago to attend school, get a bachelor’s degree and become an entrepreneur.

Myron said the "Let’s Afro Talk" concept came to them in May. “We were both sitting down discussing how we could stay busy and get our message out about Africa,” said Myron.

“We want to let as many people as possible know how Africa really is, and we wanted to give an insight of some of the present stereotypes we encounter as Africans. Our goal is to bring awareness to the continent in a fun and positive way.”

Members of "Let's Afro Talk" and their guests, from left: Aishat Raimi, Vanessa Myron, Latifat Raimi, Jin Ho, Taiwo Adebunmi and Eyobed Astake.

Members of "Let's Afro Talk" and their guests, from left: Aishat Raimi, Vanessa Myron, Latifat Raimi, Jin Ho, Taiwo Adebunmi and Eyobed Astake.

Myron noticed during her time in the United States that many Americans have misconceptions about Africa. She has encountered people who asked if she lived in the jungle while living in Nigeria. “This has been a consistent question throughout my time living here,” said Myron. Experiencing these types of questions was another motivating factor that helped her begin the online talk show.

Nigeria sends almost 9,500 students to the United States each year to study at more than 730 colleges and universities. The students are usually happy and excited to start down a new path of life in the United States with the hope of becoming successful. They understand that the opportunity to be a college student in America is hard to come by. Nigerians celebrate the moments and make the best of them.

“I’m inspired by the way we are viewed as Nigerians,” said Adebunmi. “It’s not the way the television makes it seem. We don’t live in the jungle. I’m inspired by Chimananda Adichie who’s a Nigerian writer, motivational speaker, producer [and] New York Times '10 Best Books of 2013' [author]. Her story is so inspiring and helps me when I’m going through rough times.”

Myron and Adebunmi want to encourage the students from Africa to be themselves, get to know people, learn about their heritage and understand their background.

“A lot of Africans come to America and change,” said Myron. “They forget where they came from and hide in the shadows, trying to be someone else. No one wants a copycat. People are fascinated by something different.”

“Don’t fake who you are but embrace it,” said Adebunmi. “Where you came from is not where you’re staying, but it’s what has helped you become the person you are today. So share your story. You never know who you may be inspiring.”

Those interested in hearing more about the African culture can catch “Let’s Afro Talk” on YouTube every Tuesday at 4 p.m., and on Chronicle TV at RichlandStudentMedia.com. You can also subscribe to the channel to watch previous episodes.