I’M A LEGAL ALIEN By Margaret-Mary Joseph
Dear NE readers,

Nigerianentertainment.com is read by people all over the globe; however it appears to be geared towards people based in the United States. Seeing as it is the one month out the year where the country all of a sudden directs its attention towards the minority known as Black people, NE in the streets wants to see how other Africans in America view their experiences living here. One of the interviewees resides in London -she’s our special exception.

Even though Black history IS American history and having a separate month in itself to celebrate it shows the discrepancy in American values, we’ll try to ignore that for this list (or more like entry, because its not all lists per se) and focus on what our beautiful interviewees have to say.

The ever-lovely DAMISIWAJU did not give me advantages because we had communication issues; so don’t think America has not been good to her because I know it has.

Nigerians in America: The Initial Problems
The weather: Coming from a 200 degree zone (okay maybe not 200 degrees, lol) into winter can be quite tough for many of us, considering that we come from a place where its HOT all year round.

The Accent: Okay, because we don't sound like "The Americans" we have an accent, and they can't understand us. The truth is, we speak plain and simple English, and you don't need too much effort to understand what we're saying.

Our Names: Most of our names are pronounced-as-spelt. But the minute someone sees a name with so many letters, they do not even want to try to read it. We end up being called things that aren't even close at all to our real names.

The Culture Shock: Okay, here don't think too deep into culture. I'm refering to more basic stuff. For example, many of us are used to being driven around by drivers back home in Nigeria, we're used to depending on our parents for almost EVERYTHING up until we get married (yes!Call us big babies!!). Upon getting to America, we somehow have to find our way around, and become independent. This is really huge for some people.

Damisiwaju is in her early 20’s (she also appeared to omit those specifics), lives in Columbia, Maryland and is frequently seen gracing the MODIVAH runway.



Access to education is easier in this country

Financial Stability

Enables me to build a future for myself in Ghana

Exposure to people of different cultures.


International traveling difficulties (family members).

Racial Discrimination from all people (whites AND blacks).

Familial ties have been cut off because of long distance relationships. We are scattered all over the world (Ghana, London, and even here in the states).

Diminishing cultural practices – I don’t know too much of my cultural practices except for a couple of dances.

La Kaye Eberechuku Ijeoma Mbah is a 29 year old Photographer from Baltimore who gives us a ’Mixed’ spin on the topic.

I think I have an interesting perspective on this topic because I am truly African-American. My father is Nigerian and my mother is from North Carolina and I grew up in the states. 4 advantages from my perspective are:

My name has meaning. In college, a lot of my friends changed their names or dropped what they considered to be their "slave names". Mine, on the other hand, is really from Africa. That gives me a sense of pride. It makes me feel unique in a world full of Smiths and Johnsons.

I can readily trace my family tree and my roots back to Africa.

I didn't grow up with my father. So as an adult, I'm just beginning to find other Nigerians my age to socialize and network with. There are many many Africans in America and I'll get to learn about my heritage through my peers. It creates a sense of family-an unspoken sister & brotherhood that Americans don't quite understand.

Africans have the best music and throw the best parties. Cool DJs are just now figuring this out and gravitating towards playing more world music.


I constantly have to combat stereotypes about Africa. To this day, people still think that all of Africa has wild animals running around. While that's true of some areas, people don't realize that much of Nigeria is contemporary-with working electricity and running water! I guess people are ignorant because they only see what's presented on TV. I'm so glad I got to visit and see the truth for myself.

A major disadvantage for African children growing up in the states is that they will only learn one language. I was always impressed with my sisters who grew up in Nigeria speaking 3 languages: English French and Ibo.

My father is constantly trying to marry me off to strange men.

I'm not quite sure how/where I fit in. I feel shy and a little ashamed that I don't know more about the customs that I think I should know. I'm uncomfortable asking other Nigerians because maybe they won't understand that I didn't grow up immersed in the culture.

Toyo-C (Toyosi) is a 5”7, 20 year old Londoner who is so exceptionally beautiful, we had to blur her picture! This lovely young lady is studying Manufacturing Engineering and Management, on her way to making big bucks.

I love living in London, as it has become a home away from home for my family, a lot of my friends and myself. Almost all the goodies made and available in Nigeria like indomie, milo, virgin hair cream, expressions extensions, etc., are accessible to us here now. As opposed to waiting for that family member very good friend that would be willing to bring it all down from Nigeria for you!!!

The ease of mobility by tube, bus, train is unmatched compared to most countries which makes socializing, working, living life generally etc so much more enjoyable and straight forward.

Most of my peers attend universities in cities all over the country, the pace in London is very well different from these cities but I love the fact that I have the choice of going out into the “country-side” to school and when I come home I can enjoy all the things the city has to offer such as the night life, the various forms of entertainment available during the day and at weekends.

Last of all, London is full of people from so many backgrounds and cultures; I have made friends with people of different races, ages and social backgrounds. An experience that may not have been as accessible to me back in Nigeria.

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