Friday, April 30, 2010

HaJ's first live radio interview on Harlem Talk Radio

Well y’all I did it! My first live radio interview on Harlem Talk Radio discussing the creation of Tickles.Tv and Home of the Urban Chameleon was last night!

Thanks to all who listened and those of you who even emailed me great feedback. I was really trying to keep it together as my mom's Bichon started licking my toes half way through the interview...does anyone ever factor in these kinds of hurdles along the entrepreneurial journey? What can I say…

Incase you missed it and want to check it out, go to

Look for the audio player along the right side of the page (see image below) and click on

7:pm Diva Talk

Hope you enjoy!

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon Came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Harlem Talk Radio interviews Tickles.Tv & Home of the Urban Chameleon Tonight!

Urban Chameleon news

Creator & Founder of Tickles.Tv and Home of the Urban Chameleon, HaJ, will be interviewed on Harlem Talk Radio tonight at 7:05PM (Est).

HaJ will talk about new projects, upcoming events and perform a live reading of an Urban Chameleon story. WHAAAAT.

Tune-in and listen at Scroll down and look for the audio player on the right side of the page (example of icon below) where it says, 7PM Diva Talk. If you are not near a computer you can also listen in and participate in the conversation by calling 347.838.9934.

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Black Vegans

by today' Urban Chameleon contributor HaJ

Most of us have at least one Black friend who is vegan.

These days, Black people are so progressive even some meat lovers opt for the vegetarian special being more conscious of hormones and chemicals used in animal products. Buzzwords like, “I’m cleansing” have become more frequent in social gatherings. However, I will say my parents were on the organic vegetarian train way before the food industry discovered ways to make hot dogs and hamburgers from lentils. They, in fact, used to have our organic fruits and vegetables delivered from a health food store in Park Slope Brooklyn to where we lived in Bedstuy “Do or Die”. Shout out to Brevoort projects.

But it's been years since tofu and seitan showed up to a party on my plate. In 7th grade I transferred from an all white private school to a majority Black public school. So as you can imagine the surplus of chicken eating that I witnessed sky rocketed. It was at that time that I tasted my first piece of chicken. It was fried and delicious and came with French fries. It was so good I didn’t know what to do with myself. Suddenly, my world made sense as new taste buds that I didn’t even know I had, awakened. I then began to taste all kinds of chicken, BBQ chicken, curry chicken, lemon chicken, honey BBQ chicken, Bombay chicken, Jerk chicken, coconut chicken, chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, chicken rice, chicken salad, chicken nuggets, chicken wings. I realized that chicken makes up at least 95% percent of our lives. So if you're not eating chicken…WHO ARE YOU?

Since then I have not turned back. Today I eat chicken, steak, lamb, goat and I’m an hour a way from trying pork. Maybe not, unless you’re Latino that memo that all Black people in the north (and or influenced by Muslims) got about pork being the devil’s meat is still looming over me. The point is I now love meat so much that I look at vegans and feel no connection.

The other day a friend of mine who turned vegan about 5 years ago had a birthday party. She hangs out in some serious vegan circles. A couple of us meat lovers attended a prior party right after work absolutely famished, looking to shoot a bow and arrow into the first thing on four legs we saw move. It was to our surprise that there was not a single meat dish in sight. And vegans love to try and fool meat lovers by recreating traditional dishes like pot roast, arroz con pollo, and cheeseburgers with soy products to see if we can taste the difference. WE CAN! One brotha at the party, who was clearly still hungry from the lack of protein, drew the line when Rice Cream was served for dessert. He put on his coat, walked down to the nearest Bodega and returned with some Haagan Daze ice cream made from the cow.

Needless to say, at the birthday party those of us who eat meat knew to EYOMB (Eat Your Own Meat Before). However, we were wowed by how even more vegan this party was. For instance, there was this one brotha that was so vegan that he brought his own kale to the party even though my friend already had kale. I had to ask, “What’ wrong with your kale that he had to bring his own?” She responded, “My kale is slightly steamed and he only does raw.” Another brotha I was talking to revealed to me that his shoes were even vegan. I was not ready.

Now because I love food I will always check out the buffet table at any event regardless of the expectations; besides there were some yummy delights and my girl can cook. However, there were a number of dishes that a few of us party members gathered around tried to identify. Since different people brought different dishes and none of those people seem to be around, no one was able to identify what all the dishes were, including the birthday girl; except for the kale she made. There was one dish however, that actually looked like chicken. The first thing I thought was let me find out that tofu is making chicken wings now, as I would not expect actual chicken wings to be at this party. For 5 min we all stood around trying to figure out what it was. We smelled it, stirred it and poked it. Meat lovers didn’t want to taste it and run the risk of it not being meat and vegans didn’t want to taste it and run the risk of it being meat. I decided to channel my vegan days and break this mystery for everyone. To my was actually chicken wings. The other meat lovers dug in. I asked my friend, the birthday girl, who would dare bring an animal into this holy vegan house? She replied, “Probably my mother.”

Seconds later my friend’s mother comes around the corner. Happy to see her, I greet her and say, “Mrs. Hopkinson, I heard you brought the chicken!” She replied, “Oh yeah, you can’t have no party without chicken.” Later in the evening, when it was time to sing happy birthday, a vegan cake was brought out to accompany the tune. The cake was actually quite delicious, but that did not matter to Ms. Hopkinson who immediately came around to everyone’s plate, regardless of vegan status, to a la mode your piece of cake with some real ice cream.

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black by Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

for more information on Tim Wise visit

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Friday, April 23, 2010

Remembering Gang Starr's MC Guru - R.I.P

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Janelle Monae featuring Big Boi - "Tightrope" (video)

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor Q's Newz

Sheesh!... there was a rapid fire succession of video premieres that I wanted to cover but I simply could not get to them all --- well I could have, but I opted to interact with actual human beings as the week wore on instead. So here I am, a little late, finally getting around to doing a post on the new one from Janelle Monae.

The R&B girls really put it down on the video front last week what with Kelis' Eurodance mysticism, Erykah's controversial naked late night R&B, and Janelle's James Brown-ian funk party all racking up YouTube hits with a quickness. The ladies more than made up for the double disappointment from a pair of dud Usher videos and a weak one from Janet.

"Tightrope" opens with Miz Monae delivering the first verse in her uh, "suite" at the Palace of The Dogs, an asylum where dancing is considered subversive behavior and strictly forbidden. As the video progresses, J. Mo meets up with her similarly hot-footed homies before spending the rest of the clip executing choreography that would make the Godfather of Soul proud. The vid is a rapid-pace mix of retro cool tuxes, naked ankles, and some serious jaw-dropping gliding not only from the crew of spandex-tight dancers, but from Money Monae herself --- was I the last to know that homegirl could put it down like that? Not content to simply be a highly stylized dance performance, the video also features a subplot involving 'Nelley being pursued by two mirror faced grim reapers who apparently want it to be "lights out!" for her and her happy feet.

What's interesting about "Tightrope" is that it looks and feels equally modern as it does authentically retro. Sure there is a definite back in the day vibe about the whole affair, but it doesn't seem as time warp stuck as say, Raphael Saadiq and that whole 60's R&B thing that he has been doing for a couple of albums now. What will be interesting to see is how Janelle's image evolves as this schtick grows old with audiences rather quickly and she runs the risk of pigeonholing herself if she stays with it for too long. In the meantime, she can take pride in one-upping an artist who is supposed to excel at these types of choreography-heavy videos as he is too busy singing about "boobies" and re-hiring the one trick pony lighting director from "Yeah!". Grade: A

click here to see more from Q's Newz

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon Came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things That Make You Say "OH SH*T"

We just love a good e-mail forward.

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daughter of supermodel, Iman, talks about her weight issues in Glamour Health and Fitness

In this article of Glamour Health and Fitness, Zulekha Haywood, daughter of supermodel Iman, talks about being 330 pounds and getting gastric bypass surgery. The irony is that being smaller has bigger problems…

"It’s hard to explain how it feels to lose so much weight so fast. I tell my friends that it’s like becoming famous overnight—suddenly all eyes are on you. But there’s more to it than that. The difference between Stacked Zu and Slender Zu is like being a fluffy Angora cat and then suddenly being shaved. Being naked feels really naked now. I’m slender, but there are lots of folds and limpness where the voluptuousness used to be. No amount of clever lighting and push-up bras can disguise the fact that my breasts fall to my abdomen when I take off my bra, and men want to know why. The old me was unabashedly voluptuous and sexy, no explanations necessary."

Imagine You Are the Daughter of a Supermodel.

Now imagine you weigh 330 pounds. That was real life for Zulekha Haywood, and this is how, somewhere between size 26 and size 6, she found body happiness.

March 3, 2010

by Zulekha Haywood

I awoke the morning of my twenty-eighth birthday determined to make it my most fabulous year yet. Tonight, I thought, I’m painting the town red in that slinky cap-sleeve number that shows off my dĂ©colletage.

I opened a birthday card from my ex-boyfriend Eric,* who had remained a close friend. Inside was a top-five list of why I was the most wonderful woman he knows. Number three: “Because you always let me shower first—in case the hot water’s tricky.” When Eric used to spend the night, I’d tell him to shower while I made the bed and put on coffee. “The hot water’s tricky sometimes,” I’d assure him, flashing him a smile.

But the plumbing in my building was fine. The truth: At 330 pounds, I had developed heel spurs and swollen knees that made it excruciatingly painful to stand up after lying down for eight hours, so getting out of bed was always an orchestrated event. I’d send any man who slept over off to shower, and once the coast was clear, I’d swing my legs out and put my feet on the ground gingerly, allowing the blood to return to my feet and legs. After a minute, I could stand. After another minute, I was comfortable enough to start walking.

Reading Eric’s card was a powerful reminder that, while I’d done my very best to love my super-plus-size body, I couldn’t keep lying to myself or anyone else. The physical pain I’d endured in my twenties could not continue into my thirties. I had to lose weight.

But how? I have more or less been on a diet since I was eight years old. None of them worked. An overweight kid and already dining for sport, my first was the “Basta” diet. At home, my mother, Iman, a beauty icon and devotee of clean eating, would whisper basta (“enough” in Italian) when I was in danger of overeating. The choice was always mine, and I usually put down the fork. But I also got hip to late-night snacking, raiding the refrigerator and cupboards after midnight. At school I routinely traded lunches, and when I was old enough to buy my own, I would pass over apples for Hostess Apple Pies. We always had plenty of nutritious snacks at home, but there was nothing more satisfying than savoring a secret Twinkie that I exchanged homework answers for. In the end, all I learned from basta was how to make PB&J in the dark.

“Eat Like a Pig, Run Like a Horse” was my second diet—this one courtesy of my father, NBA legend Spencer Haywood, who might eat his weight in turkey bacon, then burn it off by spending more hours on the court than he did sleeping. Convinced I just needed a sport that I loved, my Olympic-gold-medal-winning father tried to groom me as a power forward. When it was clear that I had no natural aptitude for the game, we tried tennis camp. I actually enjoyed tennis and didn’t mind practicing four hours a day every day. (Not to mention all those cute boys in tennis whites!) It was so hot and sticky that summer I subsisted on cold watermelon and lemon ices. I dropped 30 pounds and returned to school in skintight Guess jeans, thrilled by the squeals and high fives my girlfriends gave me. I gained the weight back by Christmas, plus another 20 pounds. Turns out I had to keep exercising four hours a day or seriously watch what I was eating to sustain the weight loss. My father blamed my lack of discipline; I blamed the Dairy Queen. We were both right.

Read full article on

Click here for: How the Urban Chameleon Came to

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Best Friend’s Past Could Be Your Future

by Aireka Muse

Your girlfriends ex boyfriend, is he fair game?

Regardless of the horrible statistics about black women and dating, when it comes to finding a partner, there are just not enough of us educated, professional black people to go around. As a black female, I try not to focus on the numbers and stay positive and open. As we saw with Helena Andrews, being black, bitchy, and bitter, gets you nowhere. With all the hype about online dating, I still believe in finding love the old traditional way, meeting someone randomly, and feeling that spark. Therefore, I was more than pleased to hear that recent study found there is a 70% chance of finding your life partner through social circles.

As James Fowler, PhD states in his book; Connected, The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, if you have 20 friends and they each have 20 friends, one of those people are likely to be your future spouse. The obvious logical reasoning behind this is that we tend to hang around like-minded people. College educated folks, hang with college educated folks. Artists tend to have artist friends. In each little female clique, most friends talk the same, often dress the same, and carry the same morals. Similar people coming in different packages. If this is the case, then I am led to a more controversial question, if we are more likely to find our potential life partners within our social circles, are we limiting our dating potential by calling ex lover’s off limits?

Now hear me out first before you get upset. I am not at all suggesting that your best friend’s boyfriend that she dated for 10 years or your boy’s girl that left him at the alter is fair game. I am suggesting, maybe that guy that you went out with a couple times, but just didn’t have that connection with, could possibly be a better match for your best friend. Or your girl’s two-year relationship that “just didn’t work out” could possibly be a perfect match for you.

Regardless of the “black female dilemma” I’ve heard black men suggest finding Mrs. Right can be hard too. The Champ at mentions “the process of finding an available, attractive, and compatible mate can be just as baffling, confusing, frustrating, disheartening, and even occasionally depressing”. Finding compatibility is different from a numbers game. Numbers give you more chances but it also gives you more opportunities to get it wrong. Why not search where you know you are most likely going to find what you are looking for? If you are a size 20, you by pass Forever 21 and go straight to Lane Bryant. If you love sneakers, the last place you need to shop is Charles David.

I’ve played the same “what if” scenario with my girlfriends and I always get the same response. What if you were happily married, and one of your friends became acquainted with an ex. Would you give your blessing? “Hell no”, “No way”, “ Seriously?” are the various replies that I always get. We see our past loves as possessions, something sacred to us and only us, even if we have successfully moved on. But I have always had a different perspective on this. If I tried, and it didn’t work out, more power to you girlfriend! Who am I to stop possible love? Especially when I have been there and done that and know that is definitely not for me.

Recently, I went out on a date. The guy was nice, educated but just not for me. He felt the exact same way. When I came home, I called my good friend that I thought he would be perfect for and asked if I could hook her up. She was appalled and declined because I already went out with him. One hour at a café was all that I spent with this man. Could we possibly be holding up dating rules and regulations that could be blocking us from finding the perfect mate?

I bet if we all just took a second and thumbed through our mental rolodex we probably could find a past hook up or love that could be a really good match for a friend. Can we be mature enough to put our ego aside and hook up a friend? Think about it, it could most likely be a better situation then imagined. Have you ever been in an argument with a lover or wondered what he or she was thinking? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to turn to someone for advice who actually knew exactly with what you were dealing with?

As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. It’s worked for eBay and Craig’s list, maybe it will work for our dating life. For the majority of us, love is literally just around the corner, we just have to be willing to receive it. Let’s not miss out.

To read more from Aireka Muse visit

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon Came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whitney Houston Faces Serious Taiwanese Competition

Urban Chameleon Moment

Get your Urban Chameleon moment ON right now by watching this Taiwanese boy absolutely MURDER Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. Let's just say Ms. Houston might want to sit this one out.

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Misperceptions About Africa: It’s a Continent Not a Country People

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

So imagine this. You, in all your “power to the people”, “back to the motherland” “I’m embracing my African roots” glory, decide to take a trip to Ghana for a study abroad program. You are excited to finally leave America, for the first time, and really learn about your roots and your African brothers and sisters and taste true West African soil. You tell everyone who will listen how excited you are to be leaving the over commercialized country that is the United States of America and return to the motherland where all is pure and natural. You get rid of all your designer clothes, because they really don’t care about labels over there. You cut off your perm (yes, your long ass hair that you’ve been growing since you were twelve) because they are not weak enough to succumb to the temptation of “creamy crack” back in the motherland. Cell phone, gone. Designer purses, don’t need them. Those cute nine-west boots, bye bye. You wave goodbye to America one last time from you seat on the plane. Then, you sit back, relax and prepare yourself for your 14 hour flight to Ghana.

Fourteen hours later, you get off the plane and walk onto the tarmac at Kotoka International Airport. You are dying to kiss the ground. You are so happy to finally be there. And then you walk into the airport and WHAAM..wait…what…was…no…no did some girl speaking in Akan just walk by in a perfect Beyonce weave with apple-bottom jeans and boots with the fur. There goes another one rocking a cute Rihanna-like bob and skinny designer jeans tucked into a pair of mid-calf Ugs…yes Ugs. As you pass person after person, rocking the latest in what you consider “American fashion” and not a one has a fro or is wrapped in Kente cloth, you are getting angrier and angrier because you gave up all your stuff for NOTHING.

So the above is a true story. I laugh as I write it. The same way I laughed my butt off when my classmate came back from Ghana genuinely upset about the lack of “African-ness” in Ghana and how she couldn’t believe she cut her hair and gave up all her stuff for that. I probably shouldn’t have laughed. In fact, I probably should have clued her in before her trip that the Dolce & Gabana purse I had that she admired so much was a gift from my mom purchased in a mall in Abuja, Nigeria. I should have probably mentioned that half the hip hop, R&B, Pop CDs I owned at the time were purchased while I was home in West Africa for the holidays. But far be it for me to burst her bubble.

A different person might have been offended or put off by my classmate’s misperceptions of Africans but I guess having grown up the way I did I was just used to it. I was used to having to explain to people that Africa is a continent not a country, that I don’t speak “African” because that language doesn’t exist, that I didn’t grow up in a mud hut but actually lived in a nice house with running water and real functioning toilets (imagine that!). And don’t get it twisted, these misperceptions (which is my nice way of avoiding saying ignorance) are not unique to African Americans. I encountered the same issues in England, France…pretty much wherever I went.

Interestingly enough, being a Nigerian raised both in the U.S. and in West Africa, I noticed the opposite was true as well. Some Africans had equally misguided perceptions about African Americans. To them, anyone or anything that came from the States was “better”, “amazing”, “the best”. I remember, I came home to West Africa from school in England one summer and there was a new guy in town. He was all my friends could talk about. He’d moved there from Washington DC and had all the latest clothes, and hip hop CDs and drove a Nissan SUV. For the longest time I didn’t even know his real name because everyone simply referred to him as Da Rula (as in The Ruler, The King, The Bomb). Seriously people? Da Rula? All because he came from the States, had flashy stuff and some swag? Never mind that you could probably find the same CDs, jeans, etc….here at a local market for a third of the price (ok fine maybe not the street-side local market but you could find it somewhere – like at the mall). Never mind that your parents all had BMW’s or Mercedes compared to his Nissan (not to knock Nissan because I drive a Murano now and love it). None of that mattered because he was Da Rula so everything he had was just better just because he was from the United States. The irony of our disconnect.

click here for: How the Urban Chameleon Came to be

Have your Urban Chameleon story featured by e-mailing