Once upon a time in 90s Jakarta, Indonesia, a Liberian girl who loved Aaliyah chose “Aafrikana” as her AOL screenname. Pair that childhood with college life in Radford, Virginia and this girl knows a little about cultural diversity. Today, she uses Portland, Oregon as her creative & intellectual feeding ground to share her thoughts, fashion & love for social politics on instagram. We noticed her through instagram featuring #lezziegrams notorious for their extreme diversity, hot outfits, and tons of smiles.

We got a hold of the lady herself to find out how she went about twerking and gathering her own browntourage in a place we know to be really liberal, and also really white. A Sunday-morning Skype-sesh. No showers. No teeth-brushing. JUST RAW REAL TALK FROM THE VOICE HERSELF:



n. An act of racism disguised in the form of false flattery.


The strange thing I found is that I get more love in Portland from Caucasians for being ‘Black and Proud’ than I have and probably will ever get anywhere else. I feel like a rock star out here being Black and educated. I love it. I embrace it. In fact, I am way happier here than I ever was living in the South. Pink Bow, however, describes the rather light- hearted side of discrimination; of someone taking notice of you because you are different, ethnic and therefore, seemingly more “cultured”. I get complements on my look, my hair and my style of dress and people wanting to know where I am from. It’s great and I am not complaining; however, I can not help but get annoyed when I am out and about roaming the streets on a sunny afternoon or out with friends and I have a random stranger come up to me without warning to put his/her hands through my hair.

You see, Pink Bow describes this weird and twisted turn of events for people of color. On the one hand, I should be mad that you are physically touching me without permission, but on the other, it is so great because years ago white people didn’t even want to be around anyone that didn’t look like them. In Portland the Black and educated are revered.

I am constantly being told to apply to certain trendy local spots around Portland because I am a Black girl and businesses are in desperate need to appear more diverse. I could take the opportunity to get mad, sad and angry but then I take a look at the economy. To make this a sociopolitical issue would be ridiculous. I need the job, they need my skin tone, and so it becomes a win-win. Pink Bow reigns again. Am I actually playing into the fact that I am Black to get hired?

Now take everything I have just told you, forget about it and hear this. There is a dark side of Portland. For the past 10 years they have been in the process of gentrifying the city and oddly enough I find that none of its people seem to mind or care. I know it is something that minorities have been talking about as I have held many conversations with my Black brothers and sisters out here about it. However, I have never heard any of my white friends bring it up, and I doubt they are as upset about it as we are. A city that prides itself so much on being open-minded and diverse is quickly and quietly getting rid of any diversity it had left by raising property values and buying up Black-owned business to make way for coffee shops and condos. Is it anymore different out here than it was in the South? No. In fact, I almost appreciate the outspoken bigotry of the South.

Know that I love this city with my heart and soul and I would die if I lived anywhere else. I am merely bringing forth an observation. I am loved and I am hated in a city that would like to embrace my ethnicity, but perhaps this cannot be. Because of this I am happy and I am sad. & that is Pink Bow.


Pink Bow Racism => PBR => Hipsters.

Hipsters => Portland stereotype. Historically, hipsters were overly-privileged kids appropriating African American culture in the 40s & 50s, and THAT is Pink Bow Racism. BAM!