Hey. So we have been making some noise about changes we want to make and the time is finally here. First off, happy New Year! Weird right? We celebrate our new year on our founder’s birthday instead of January 1 like other normal people do. We think that our Founder, Ramatu Ada Ochekliye, is pretty stubborn about her unwillingness to celebrate major events and holidays. We think she is weird but if she is reading this (and we are hoping that she is too tied up with the number of people sending her wishes), we want you to know that we love you! Happy birthday Boss lady! Now that we are done keeping our jobs, we are excited to announce some major changes to our platform. First off, starting from today, we are no longer SHADES OF BROWN NIGERIA. We got married and following tradition, we had to change our names. From now henceforth, we decree and declare that we shall be addressed by our new name; SHADES OF US! (Why thank you. Thank you. No need for the flowers and underwear. It is just a name change). So how did we arrive at this? It was through a very long and windy road. When we started SHADES OF BROWN NIGERIA, we wanted to discuss issues affecting ALL black people; from the lightest albino to the darkest person. We chose to use BROWN instead of BLACK because it was the mid color and because the earth is brown. We wanted to show that we are as beautiful as the earth and we are fertile, supportive, enduring, powerful, angry sometimes and so much more. When we went searching for the name, there were lots of companies bearing SHADES OF BROWN and because we were sure that is the name we wanted, we added Nigeria; even though our scope was bigger than that. But we knew that when we were ready to get our own website (and stop being cheapskates and freeloaders), the name might become a problem. We even got some busybodies people who told us that we were using another’s name and we knew it had to change. So we started cracking our brains to see what could still embody the essence of our platform. After much debate and bouncing the name around, we decided that we like the ‘SHADES OF’ part and wanted to keep it. The last word became the issue. Since we were talking about issues that affected us, we decided to go with the obvious; US. When we decided to pay for our own domain, SHADES OF BROWN was unavailable (as expected) but SHADES OF US was; though we could only get the domain. We paid for it and we were ready to go! Another problem came up and we realized that many people were using Shades of Us too. We were like, ‘suck it!’ We were done trying to be the good guys. Moreover, if it was such a problem, we wouldn’t have been allowed to pay for the name. Abegee! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Having done that, we knew we were going to be making some big changes so we proceeded to change our social media handles and design a tentative logo. See, let us start warning you! Don’t laugh at our small design; it will get better jare. Kizzes! Also, having run the podcast and vlog for a year – albeit inconsistently – we came to the conclusion that keeping the podcast on Podbean was not viable and we let our subscription expire. This meant losing all our subscribers and even all the content we put up. Not to worry; from now on, we will feature the podcast on the blog and it will still have the same feel. We are also going to embed our video logs in the blog so all our content can be found on one site. You will also see that our new look is more dynamic and easier for navigation. You will not have to flip page after page to get to a particular post. You know we like you yeah? Eventually, as we develop, we will categorize our posts for even better navigation. We will also bring you more interviews with people who are trying to change the African narrative and whose work are gradually shaping minds for a better Africa and a better world. This year, we are opening the blog up to guest posts. We want to move from being a one-person-idea to a family of shared experiences. We want to see the Africa you see and share the problems that weigh you down. This means that you can send us posts, poems, long read, scripts, quotes, illustrations, pictures, movies and the likes. We know people like to be paid and we have to put this out there now; we cannot pay anyone. What we will do is appreciate consistent contributions with small gifts that wouldn’t break the back of the camel. We also want to be more hands-on with our work this year. We want to move from talking about the issues to solving some of these problems one person at a time. This means that we will create programs for the people we care about the most; women, children, orphans, people from dysfunctional homes, the abused, the disadvantaged in the society, the physically and mentally disabled, the poor and so much more. We believe that it is no longer enough to just talk about the problems that affect us. We MUST do something if we are to create any form of change. The onus lies on us. As a result, we will seek and form partnerships with organizations that have similar goals and core values and we will work towards creating the change we want to see. Right now, we will be working with SAVE OUR WOMEN FOUNDATIONand WOMEN REGAINING VALUE. We will also be glad to work with foundations you think are geared towards changing the narrative

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