...It is during the #hardtimes when the hero within us is revealed '' - Bob Riley
#editorialshoot by Marcus Oberlander . Makeup by FaceBeatBoulevard
BP : Welcome Naiyango , could you please introduce yourself to our readers ?
NAIYANGO : Hi! My name is Naiyango and I am a Kenyan songwriter and singer based in Cologne.
BP : We discovered you through Instagram and saw an emotional post of you that talks about
your childhood. Only if you’re comfortable. Could you please tell us why your childhood
was not like “all fun” ?
NAIYANGO : Yes - it’s not that comfortable to talk about - but I’ll do it anyway: I survived being sexually
abused by two different people whilst I was a child. Sexual abuse made me feel very
isolated and worthless. I didn’t know how to talk about being molested nor whom to turn
to.. Luckily music saved my life. It gave me a space to channel my emotions and express
myself - at first through dance and later through songwriting and singing my own songs.
Also my brain did something where it just suppressed any trace of #trauma. The good thing
about that is that I was able to ’function’ without falling apart. The flip side was the fact
that I still had a massive amount of grief in me that I never bothered looking at. My self
esteem was really low and it took another blow the moment I was raped by an
acquaintance when I was 19 years old. I was so ashamed and all my feelings of
unworthiness were triggered.. Too bad I did not tell anyone what had happened. I was too
afraid of other people’s reactions. I thought they would tell me things that were worse than
I was telling myself - it’s hard to believe how much I used to hate on myself back then. I
was really down. That’s the main reason why I started writing lyrics. I poured my sorrow
into my songs.. In a way music helped me discover something good about myself. It has
helped me heal and has since then led me to self love.
BP : How do you like the idea of Black Pepper Magazine?
Adoro! I love that you’re creating a space for authentic representation of the black
community! There are misconceptions spread about black people in the media, that’s why
it’s important for us to have platforms where we can portray ourselves as we are. Thank
you for giving us a voice, for making us visible as well as for encouraging us celebrate
ourselves and our accomplishments. I wish you all the best for Black Pepper Magazine!
BP : Many of us are struggling with accepting the past. But also forgiving seems even the
hardest to pronounce. How did you deal with it as a teenager and now as an adult?
(Photo credit : Taken by Marcus Oberlander & Makeup by FaceBeatBoulevard.)
NAIYANGO : Shifting to self love made me force myself to change the narrative - I couldn’t blame myself
or act like the victim and continue to denounce my power while loving myself. And to be
clear - I wasn’t blaming those sexual predators - I blamed myself! Yes, I know it is
absolutely weird but in some dark twisted way I told myself that I had been the one who
had done something to make those people harm me the way they dd. And of course these
thoughts magnified because I didn’t speak to anyone about my experiences.. I thought I
was the only one who this had happened to. I was very harsh, cruel and judgemental
towards myself especially when I was a teenager. The hardest yet easiest part has been the
process of unlearning toxic thinking patterns. I did that through therapy, songwriting and
sharing my story. Looking at #sexualabuse and rape from different angles enabled me to
finally forgive myself. I think that’s been my most gratifying and healing experience of
forgiveness as an adult.
BP : Thank you Naiyango for being part of the first Issue of Black Pepper Magazine. One last
question. Where can we follow you?
NAIYANGO : Thank YOU for inviting me to be a part of the very first issue of Black Pepper Magazine
(I’m beaming!). My website is currently being developed and will be launched once my EP
is ready to release but you can link up with me on instagram in the mean time! I am
@naiyango and super excited about connecting with some Black Pepper Mag cioccolattas
BP : Thank you very much for your time and support . We wish you all the best for your singing
career and your future!
NAIYANGO : Thank you so much.
We #pray for victims of sexual abuse. We are speaking and declaring healing and deep comfort. We pray that all these people feel strengthened and inspired by this interview. What seems hopelessly shattered, in you can be redeemed. Make us stand firm in our beliefs that after the rain comes the rainbow . We break every chain that is holding us for being great. We declare with authority to get our crowns back ! In hope and peace we end this prayer and know that it is already done.