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The ‘I AM’ Series explores the inner lives of Nigeria’s outlier communities

Tunji ameen

We are preoccupied with outlier communities. There is something so fascinating about people who do not fall into the box of ‘normal’ that we find ourselves treating them as oddities or worse, alienating them altogether. But Chidera Muoka in partnership with the Niyi Okeowo studio is taking a different approach, they are giving them the choice to speak for themselves, as part of a Youtube series called, ‘I AM’.

The first episode focuses on Tunji Ameen, a model who is also albino. He is fascinating and charismatic and it is a delight to hear him talk about himself.

“There is no childhood memory that made me feel unique until I got to the boarding house in secondary school, where I found out that I was exempted from duties. When I asked them, they told me that I was different….” – Tunji Ameen.

Growing up as an albino, Tunji was taunted with words like “oyibo pepper”. Seemingly harmless words sang and said by kids, sometimes with the intent to cement the notion that he was different from the rest of the kids because of his skin tone.

Yet, Tunji is more than his skin tone. My first impression of Tunji – who is actually an MC and producer -was that he is bold and driven and unafraid, and this why I asked him to be a part of the I AM project. We wanted to give him a platform to tell his story and break the ideology that different is something to be ashamed of.

We often judge based on sight, and never really give people a chance based on our preconceived notions of these people. We see a person with a disability working hard and living their best lives and immediately conclude that they are the exception. Whereas, we only see it this way because it’s something different from the events we have determined to be “normal”.

The I AM series is an on-going series by Chidera Muoka in collaboration with Niyi Okeowo to showcase unique individuals who are plus-size, have tribal marks, or have physical scars. To capture them in their most vulnerable form and share their amazing stories.

We’d love for you to come on board of this series and support by sharing the stories which we’d be sharing weekly.

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