In this first episode of CEU Chatroom, Funmilayo Akinpelu (HIST '21) starts with a prologue in which she reflects on the thoroughly devastating changes her skin underwent upon coming to Budapest from Nigeria. She vaguely connects the dots between her own personal case of terribly blotched skin and George Floyd's killing in the US, an event which, alongside others, have culminated in the amplification of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chioma Nwosu (SPP '20) picks up on the conversation in Act One by narrowing in on the skin-based prejudices in her home country Nigeria and how even her own sister has had to contend with several issues related to this. She also expresses her strong opinion about hair on the skin and the beauty it embodies for her.
Ian Salvana (POLS' 20), the speaker in Act Two, recounts a deeply personal experience of dealing with being physically assaulted by three Mongolians because of a weird contention over being Chinese or not. As this happened during the heat of the COVID-19 lockdown, it reflects the localised power dynamics of colourism and its entanglements with other sociopolitical and even health-based factors.
Esther Ebimoghan (LEGS '20) beautifully renders a poetic ode to black skin in Act Three. For her, the black skin is amazing, bold and beautiful. And isn't she just right?
Chitrangi Kakoti (Gender Studies '21) chit-chats with the host Funmi in Act Four on why being comfortable in one's skin is very complicated and so difficult, especially when there is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to deal with, sickle cell to battle, nagging relatives to contend with and several dressing mirrors in shopping malls to stare into.
Benatare Omemu Kingsley (ECBS '20) gives a controversial take in Act Five about the (im)possibility of getting rid of racism on a global scale. According to him, victims of "subtle, racist jabs" might have to learn to look the other way because it ain't gonna stop anytime soon. He also has an ample lot to say about the myth of black virility especially in the European context and how his own relationships in Budapest have fared due to this myth.
Prince Kwaku Addo (SPP '21) in Act Six converses about when he came to really discover he was black and how this changed the way he came to perceive his skin. He reflects on colourism in Ghana and strongly opines that all curious stares, frowning faces and insensitive remarks are not exactly synonymous to racism. Also, Prince speaks on how his skin has an uncanny love affair with cocoa butter.
In Act Seven, Tijana Rupcic (HIST '20) unapologetically touches on the age factor and what this means when it comes to embracing one's skin. For her, when you are a teen, you can worry to the ends of the earth about every pimple on your face because teenage life is specially built for that kind of hassle. But when you are in your 30s like she is, "dude, get over yourself already," she says.