Friday, January 18, 2013

Interview with Ndubisi Okeke, president of Johns Hopkins African Student Association


Ndubisi Okeke, President of the Johns Hopkins African Student Association


Johns Hopkins University is one of the prestigious schools in the country and just like every other school, it has its own different student organizations. One of which is the African Students Association. Ndubisi Okeke, a student of Johns Hopkins is the current president of the organization.
 
      Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Nigerian American, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I’m a public health studies major at Johns Hopkins University and I hope to become a cardiologist in the future. I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life. I’m also a big sports fan! 

·        Briefly enlighten us, what is the organization “Johns Hopkins African Students Association” about?
We are an organization dedicated to the education of the entire Johns Hopkins community at large of the different cultures that comprise the African continent. We also work to provide a network of support for African students at Johns Hopkins. We are a service as well as social organization that educates as well as entertains. We try to be whatever the students need us to be.

·        Johns Hopkins University is one of the prestigious universities in the country and people have very high expectations for anything associated with the school. Do you feel any pressure as the president of one of the organizations of a prestigious school?
The University’s reputation doesn’t factor in a whole lot when it comes to the pressure of the job. Like any leadership position, this is pressure in a sense when things go right you get a pat on the back and when things go wrong all fingers point to you.  I’ll admit I tried to handle too much on my own early on because of this. I had to learn to rely more on the people around me to successfully run the organization. The e-board has done a great job supporting me and executing their duties so the workload is distributed.

·        Your organization’s E-board is not strictly Africans as some might expect. This is great because it shows how you have brought in people of other non-African cultures.  Looking beyond the E-board would you say your organization has done very well with bringing many people of non African cultures into your organization and making them interested your organization?  
The diversity we have at our ASA meetings is one aspect of the past semester I am most proud of.  The JHU campus is a very unique place; a predominantly white institution with a significant amount of international students and small but strong minority communities. The e-board made it a point this year to try and increase the diversity of our members while not forgetting our purpose and target audience.  We have been able to attract members from all regions of Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and of course the U.S.  

·         African students face different struggles on campuses especially those with the ‘African Accent’ and some other traits indigenous to Africans. How has your organization helped with such struggles?
ASA has always been a place where students can come to learn something new, discuss something interesting, or just chill and hang out.  Hopkins is a great place for international students and students of different cultural backgrounds.  African students don’t necessarily struggle because of their culture, but our role is to provide a relaxed environment where they can be comfortable with who they are and express their cultural side.

·        What has the African Students Association done and still do (events held/steps taken..) to educate others , rid misconceptions of Africa and make other non-Africans interested in learning more about Africa and being a part of the different African cultural activities?
Education is one of the main reasons for the existence of our ASA. Every meeting we highlight current events and interesting information happening in Africa. We then have a presentation or discussion on a certain topic of interest from music or sports to heavier topics that effect the continent today. Our annual jeopardy event is always fun and we recently have been able to get professors to come and speak.

·         Do you network with other African Associations at other schools? What are some of the other schools you most commonly network with/have programs or events with?
We network with most of the schools in the DMV area and we are all very connected.  We have meetings in the summer to discuss dates for events and other general ideas for collaboration. It gets pretty exciting during “ASA season” when all the schools are having events towards the end of the fall and spring semesters. It’s an opportunity to go to other campuses, meet new people, and see what the other schools have been working on.  We all try to communicate as much as possible to create an ultimate DMV ASA experience.    

·         How do you juggle your responsibilities as a student with your responsibilities as the president of the organization?
I alluded to it earlier in the interview but the simplest way to not drown yourself with stress is to trust the people around you. Just because you have the title of president doesn’t mean you’re superman. I and everyone on the executive board are students at school before anything else and we took on the additional responsibility of running an organization. The only way it works is if everyone does their part.  It does get difficult depending on the time of year and what we have planned but the best part is there is always help!

·         Every organization has its goals/purpose as a whole. As the president, what are your personal goals for this organization? What would you like to see happen during your term as president of the African Students Association?
I think the objective is always to do more and get better. I want to keep increasing the diversity of our members and be able to appeal to both Africans and non-Africans. I also want to get more of our students to off campus ASA events. It’s a great way for them to get away from their school work and engage with different people. I think we have done well so far but we will always have room to grow.

E-Board of Johns Hopkins African Student Association


Interview with Ebuka Unogu 'Teeklef'..young, hardworking and dedicated to his music






 He is young, hardworking and dedicated to his music. Some know him as Ebuka and some know him as Teeklef.



Tell us a bit about yourself…Who is Ebuka Unogu?

A life loving and appreciative human.

Every artist has a story of how they started, their journey from then to where they are today. What is your story so far?

Basically believing in myself and my abilities even though the situations I faced at the time didn't agree with my beliefs. You can listen to my story on my mix tape - #NOBIS. Track 17.

What artists have influenced you?

Michael Jackson, R.Kelly, Ne-Yo, Enya, Drake to mention a few

Your stage name is Teeklef, how did that come about?

I came across an unusual music piece and decided to take the name after the Treble Clef symbol. The notes prior to the symbol are legacies artistes before me left and then there's me. The notes after the symbol will be legacies I left for other artistes to follow.

Your recent album is titled NOBIS with 17 tracks, why the name NOBIS? And what was your inspiration for this album?

Although a lot of people have compared that project to an album, I didn't mean for it to be that. lol. I guess that's a good thing huh?

Speaking about the inspiration behind the tape, the aim was to be as diverse as possible. Showcase all my talent(s) musically in the best way possible. NOBIS simply means No Beat Is Safe.

Besides the songs on your recent album, you have released a few other songs and you have released a video to the song “Hala”. What do you have to say about these accomplishments you have made so far? And where and how can people listen to and buy any of your singles and album?

I've only been in the game for 2 years and to watch the demand for my "products" grow is something that humbles me every time. I put out "On a C-Rius Note" (EP) two years ago. Hala was one of the singles from the tape and based on the fact that I had appealed to a more African audience at the time, it was only right that I shot a video for that song.

You can listen to my songs via my website: www.teeklef.com

I also have a few singles for sale on iTunes, Amazon, Zune, Google play to mention a few.

What was the last song you downloaded on itunes? And if you could choose one artist to work with on a single, who would it be and why?

Honestly, I don't download music from iTunes. I prefer to buy physical CD's and rip them into my library. The only album I've ever downloaded was the soundtrack to the motion picture "Blood Diamonds." This was because I couldn't find the hard copy CD anywhere else. lol

Tell us a bit about the “NO BEAT IS SAFE TOUR”?

After working on the project, my team and I decided to put a few shows together in different cities in the states and call it a tour and what better name to call it than your newly released mix tape?

Any projects you are working on that we should look out for?

I've been executive producing a few albums for some of my industry friends and also knocking out collabos I didn't have the time to get to while I was working on NOBIS. I'm shooting some visuals off of the mix tape and I should resume work on my next project come January; or sooner.

Lastly, from the time you started till now, you have done quite well for yourself. I know you still have more you wish to accomplish. What is your goal for Tklef records and for career as an artist?

Being in a position where I can basically do what I want musically, be it singing, rapping, producing, songwriting to mention a few, I'm looking to put together a team of "musicians like me" and we'd work behind the scenes creating records for industry acts to help them further their careers. As an artiste, I just want to represent my life stories the best way possible (musically) with hopes that it'll inspire someone. It's Klef Records by the way..




 

It's Free for you..



His Grace
Yes! His Grace…
Who’s Grace? The Grace of God

What is Grace?  According to the Merriam Dictionary, Grace is defined as “an unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. A special favor.”

Romans 3: 23-24 (NKJV)For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”  

It was His Grace that he made available to us freely that we might be redeemed. Aren’t we just so lucky that He gave it to us freely and we do not have to pay for it. Imagine if we had to pay for it? We most certainly could not afford it.
Some people might wonder. What if I fall over and over, is His grace still available for me to each time? Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! His grace is available to you anytime as long as you want it. 2 Corinthians 12:9And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”

We live in a society that makes it hard sometimes for us to stay firm in the path of righteousness but one of my uncles once told me many years ago, he said ‘We cannot please God, or walk this path of righteousness on our own strength, we need the strength of God, the grace of God to be able to please Him”. Every day is a struggle, we sometimes go through the day and might have done or said something that we are not aware was unpleasing to God but each day we can ask for His grace..It is not all about how many times we fall but that we know what we have done is sinful to Him and we are willing to repent and ask for His grace.

It is by His grace we are healed, we are made whole, we are restored. It is by His grace we are alive today.

Remember His grace is sufficient for all and is free to all. Even as we receive this free grace each day, ask for this free grace anytime and every time, we should also learn to be thankful for His grace “Thank You Lord for your grace which you have made sufficient for me”

May the grace of the Lord continue to be with us all.
Shalom

OBAMA! Presidential Inauguration



O.B.A.M.A!!

Give me a second to do my dance and song “Obama, Obama, Obama, oh yea! Oh yea!” 

Last year November, Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States of America and this month he will again be inaugurated. This year his inauguration falls on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s Day which is Monday, January 21, 2013.

This is the 57th Presidential Inauguration. 

On Monday the ceremonial swearing and parade will take place. To get tickets for the swearing-in ceremony you will need to buy tickets. Check this link for tickets info http://inauguration.dc.gov/page/inauguration-events

For the parade, you don’t need tickets to attend but you will only be allowed accommodation until there is no longer space for more people. If you do buy a ticket for the parade, you know you are guaranteed accommodation during the parade.  

For information about the inauguration such as items that are prohibited during the parade, transportation, visitor information, tickets and more please visit this site http://inauguration.dc.gov/page/inauguration-events

MLK Day



Martin Luther King Jr. Day.....

Everyone knows these popular words “I have a dream” 

Well those were the words of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a great man who fought for racial equality in the United States through non violence.   

This day which is always held on the third Monday of January is a day to celebrate Him. 

There is a big stone monument called the ‘stone of hope’  at the West Potomac Park in Washington DC. If you can, pay a visit to this park and take some pictures :)
Martin Luther King Jr. 'Stone of Hope' in Washington DC


This year, the federal holiday would be on Monday, January 21, 2013. Most people have this day off work and school which is nice but even as we get to relax at home, let us not also remember Martin Luther King Jr and what he fought and died for.

If you would like to know more about who Martin Luther King Jr. is and what he did you can get more information by clicking this link.