This week, resident blogger Dami Fawehinmi interviewed activist, writer, blogger and student Kemi Adediran who is also known as Urban Declaration. Kemi uses her platform to educate her followers about international politics, campaigns and gives advice on how to navigate spaces as a minority. She tackles topics from womXn’s rights, to the Black identity, student experiences and more. Every post and video is produced with genuine and passion and drive for change; it was an absolute honour to interview her for this piece.
Tell us about your journey to Urban Declaration.
I have always loved conversation and storytelling, but I noticed that some of the conversations I was having with my friends and others were not being discussed in the online spaces I was part of. Being a media student, representation online is fundamental to me, so I decided to create a space in which conversations that have been neglected or simply ignored could be discussed and explored.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You do not need to meet the standard of yourself that others have put on you. You doing you, simply because you want to ‘do you’ is completely fine.
What do you believe will drive change in the Black community?
I have thought about this question a lot; when will our community rise up globally in solidarity together? When will local, national and global conflict end between Black people? Personally, whether people like it or not money is powerful, our community needs its own economic freedom, to drive change from within. It needs its own economic foundation, to create institutions and platforms for Black people by Black people.
What is your biggest failure?
Good question, I would say my biggest failure and something I continue to do is undervalue myself, whatever I do. I never see it as anything other than Kemi doing what Kemi does, and I never add value or significance to it. It is important to recognise your achievements and step back and tell yourself, you are doing GOOD! (this is a prep talk for me too).
What is your biggest success?
Choosing to do what I love. Being from an African household, there is a pressure to be the doctor, lawyer or engineer. But, I knew that I wanted to live a life that would bring me happiness each day. Deciding that from a young age has already made my life so fulfilling. This is not a choice everybody gets but doing what you love is honestly one of the greatest joys of life.
What three pieces of advice would you give young Black activists?
Firstly, you do not need to go big, you do not need to go to every campaign or rally, your activism by buying Black goods is activism none the less. Secondly, we need more people like you, who care about Blackness. Never minimise the importance of your presence - we are trying to make a global movement! And lastly, you come first! Before any activism, your mental health and happiness should be prioritised. Activist work can be draining and sometimes, it can seem like you're shouting at a brick wall, getting no response back. Don't wear yourself out, take self-care seriously.
How do you seek out opportunities relating to your field?
There are many ways, but the best ways is to connect. Go to networking events, make friends, join collectives or societies, invest in people. This is how I have gained most, if not all of my opportunities.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Hmmm, I’ll have to keep things on the DL but the future of the blog is bright!
Would you like to add anything?
Continue to love your art, your activism, your Blackness- the true revolution starts with your presence.
Kemi Adediran AKA Urban Declaration @Urban.Declaration
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