Josephine Amusa (CAS’18 – International Relations and Spanish) started her blog, Black Girl Navigates, as a response to the vulnerability she felt while studying abroad in Spain. Her goal was to not only work through her own frustrations but to provide comfort and humor to others going through similar experiences. Now, Josephine is preparing to reboot the blog to speak to young adults just starting out in their careers.
INNOVATE@BU: How do you create innovation?
AMUSA: I speak from the heart. I bring my authentic narrative as a Black woman to the forefront of every blog piece that I write because that way, other people are able to take a look at the world through my everyday lens. There is no better way to create innovation other than being unapologetically myself. There’s only one of me in the world and that apart of what makes Black Girl Navigates truly innovative.
Who or what inspires you to create impact?
I am frequently inspired by other creatives and game-changing industry women like Yvonne Orji, Bozoma Saint John, Luvvie Ajayi, and Issa Rae.
Tell us, how did Black Girl Navigates get started?
I was studying aboard in Madrid, Spain and I was so overwhelmed by all of the ways in which my blackness made me vulnerable. Honestly, it made me so frustrated. I hoped that if I wrote it all down and shared it with the world, someone else could take comfort or find humor in my experiences.
What problem are you hoping to solve with your blog?
There is a lack of visibility of Black storytellers – and I’m trying to change that! Black Girl Navigates was born from a deep desire to document the ins and outs of Black womanhood. It was also born from a feeling of discomfort that Black storytellers weren’t being heard when we have so many (amazing) and powerful stories to share. So I decided to throw my voice in the ring!
What has been the biggest challenge or obstacle you had to overcome in your role or for your new venture? How did you do it? What did you learn from the experience?
It’s interesting because I have been my biggest cheerleader and my biggest obstacle at the same time. Often times, I’ve had thoughts that Black Girl Navigates was inadequate. That it was not having an impact on people and that no one actually read my blog. I don’t think I’ve overcome this obstacle yet – as a creative being hypercritical of your own work is pretty normal. You care so much so you want to put out the best.
What helps is those messages and emails from readers who thank you for a blog post, or who say they can’t wait for the next one! Those motivate me like no other.
Who do you turn to for mentorship and advice?
I don’t have a mentor yet, but when I’m in a creative rut or unsure of how to grow my brand I look at all of my favorite creatives and see what their next steps look like. That usually gives me a good idea of where to go next.
What is one major accomplishment you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of the level of authentic engagement that I have maintained with readers. I will always respond to an email or message or direct message because that builds community and that’s my ultimate goal for Black Girl Navigates.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own innovation journey right now?
Failure is inevitable. Still, the way that you move forward after failing is determined by you and you alone.
Two years from now, what do you hope to be doing? What keeps you motivated to get there?
Wow! I hope that Black Girl Navigates and Josephine Omolola become the face of the next wave of Black millennial bloggers.
What’s next for Black Girl Navigates?
Right now I am planning a blogging series called, The Art of Being Solo. This is a series that will tell all about the struggles of moving across the country after graduation, of living in a new city of dating when you’re not in college, and of creating your own happiness when as of now, the world seems a little upside down.
What’s something others might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a published author!