ON HUMANITY, ART & STORYTELLING - AN INTERVIEW WITH PEARL ADA

Humanity and kindness


Hi, pearl. Please introduce yourself


Hello:) My name is Pearl Ada and I am a storyteller.



You recently started a website - a free resource hub where people have access to resources and information on the dangers of sexual violence and abuse. Tell us more about it and why you thought this was such an important step to take, Did you receive any push back whatsoever before and after it was created?


Consent Haven is a free resource hub for all individuals, organizations, and groups that are interested in abolishing the normalized culture of sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. We tackle rape culture through consent education.


To be honest, I started Consent Haven out of desperation and I guess helplessness. The plight of the girl child in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is something I just can't wrap my head around. It's alarming, to say the least. With the rape and murder of Uwa, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Are my conversations about this enough? Am I part of the problem? I found myself struggling with these thoughts...I was really losing sleep for days, then I spoke to a wise friend of mine about it..:) He gave me an assignment, asked me to brainstorm - to come up with something I can do. That's how Consent Haven was born. I had all these pieces of information I wanted to share, so I got to work. I reached out to some creatives including you Roseline...:) Thank you for helping me out...


I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of it worked and that's okay...no one owes me anything

In regards to push-back, I actually didn't receive any while working on it. I just lost a lot of sleep - because it was a one-woman team from the creation of the website, its design, the resources and all that. I am used to not sleeping much anyway...(laughs) I got a lot of praise from friends and family after its creation, I was truly grateful for that but to be honest, that wasn't what I was looking for.


With Consent Haven, more than anything, I just wanted people to share the website and its resources. I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of that worked...(laughs) and that's okay. It just reminded me of something I have always known, the fact that no one owes me anything and that I need to work really hard to have a platform, build an audience so that when I share projects like this, it can reach people.


6ft 3


I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you!

 



We are breaking others in search of relief... & when you hurt beauty you hurt yourself... These lines are excerpts from your spoken word poetry 'The person who tried to break me' and 'You are ugly' These lines made me wonder how people hurt people without realizing that they too are undergoing some sort of self-destruction, can you speak more to this? Do you think the world is losing the essence of kindness?


Hurt people hurt people. That's a fact. It's really difficult to see someone who is at peace with their body, mind, and soul wreaking havoc in other people's lives. When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others. It took a while to get here but when a person hurts me, the first thing I think is damn, this person must really be hurting. When you know and feel beauty, you give beauty, you speak beauty, you show beauty. That's how I see the world. Is it a correct view? Dunno. (laughs)


When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others

 

Is the world losing the essence of kindness? Nah, don't think so. Although it seems the world is just getting darker and scarier, I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you! That's the mindset I try to live by. Will I meet people who will make me question humanity? Of course! But when I am open to good, I will come in contact with it. As a woman thinketh, so is she.


Art can change the world


Do you Believe Art can change the world? You are so multi-talented, I've seen you dance, you write so well, you have very powerful vocals and you do spoken word poetry, among other things. Which of these Art forms do you love the most, which one is more liberating for you.


I think Art can and is changing the world. I speak from personal experience. I am deeply moved by art, there's just intense beauty in it. I have learned so much from engaging with different art forms and also from creating it. It's one of the most powerful things in the world. I love storytelling, be it through music, dance, spoken words, poetry, drama, I feel so free and happy when I get to tell stories. Truly, all these art forms make my heart race   (laughs) But there's one that makes it beat a little faster than the others, and that is Acting.


I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form 

 

I am an aspiring actor, I love it so much, it gives me butterflies.  To bring the human experience to life on stage, on-screen - that's my dream. This is the only occupation I don't mind being identified by - Pearl the Actor:))) I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form. I can geek out breaking down a scene or talking about an actor who inspires me. I even have a list of actors who I learn from. For me, watching a movie is a study session, I break down scenes, think of the actor's choices, the director's view  It's manic really. (laughs)



First class law graduate


You are first-class Law graduate! As a law student, I know this is such a big deal and it is not an easy feat. How was your experience studying law outside Nigeria and what do you think Nigerian universities can do better in terms of providing quality education. Also, any reading tips for law students who are struggling to get their grades up.


Thank you! My experience studying in the UK was beautiful, truly. It really wasn't easy but I didn't have to go through unnecessary hardships and all that. At the core of their education system is the wellbeing of the student, something which the Nigerian system completely lacks. If you put a student first, they do better, they excel but when a system is designed to attack your effort and hard work, it's just terrible, it's not conducive. The Nigerian universities need to put the student and their needs first, before profit and politics.


Honestly, I don't know if I am the right person to give study advice, but I would say you should know what kind of student or learner you are. Are you a visual, auditory, or verbal learner? Do you do better in groups or alone? Figure this out and fix yourself where you can thrive. I never made notes in class because I learn by listening, never missed a tutorial or seminar because I learn through discussions, barely attended lectures..(laughs) I don't like group study, so I studied alone most of the time. I preferred my room to the library. Just figure out what works for you. You don't have to do what everyone does. Not sure this helps. :):)



How to handle lonliness


What is your experience with loneliness, at what moment in your life did you feel it more and how did you cope with it?


Funny enough, my most lonely moments were around people. I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world Never been able to fit in a clique or group, so my most lonely years were during primary and secondary school. I hadn't come into myself then, so I always felt lost and just wrong. I don't think I coped with it at all then, I was just trying to survive day to day. I only realized how much I was struggling later on.


Why are you so particular about the Humanity of people, how has this acknowledgement that human beings are fundamentally flawed helped you navigate through life?


I wish I could give you a grand reason but it's just an innate thing. It's really an I was born this way situation. I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility. It shows up in everything thing I do and say. For me accepting that people are fundamentally flawed helps me love people better, helps me afford them grace I don't always do this, but I keep trying to be better.


Body shamming is bad


Some people have chosen to cower and shrink themselves because society has termed them as being overly sensitive or just doing too much. Can you give any words of Affirmation to these kinds of people?


There are a lot of unhealed people in this world you see. Hurt shows up as jealousy, envy, low-self esteem, gossip, and even ignorance. When you understand this, it becomes easier to ignore the naysayers. People will always have opinions no matter what you do or how you do it, so why not become your highest self?.   Just boldly live your one beautiful life because las las, they will still talk(laughs) Also, you are not alone! Everyone has a tribe, people who they can relate with  You may not have met or heard about them yet, that's all.

I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility.

 


Do you consider shamelessness to be a good thing? If yes, how do we eliminate the culture of shame? How helpful is shamelessness in chasing and actualizing one's goals and dreams?


I think the problem is that when people hear the word shamelessness, they immediately think of someone who goes around doing just what they want, how they want, not caring at all how their actions negatively affect other people There's a disconnect because this is not what we mean by it.


As humans, we are interconnected, whether we like it or not. Also, no person can survive alone in this world, we all need each other... A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves. They acknowledge the importance of advice, care, and community but realize that no one can want the best for them more than they do for themselves. They know how to sift through opinions, they are experts at blocking out the noise, and they know how to learn from advice without letting it control or damn them and their dreams. Every great name you know today lived shamelessly, they blocked out the noise and did what they had to.


By the way, people who are in tune with their bodies, hearts, minds, and souls don't shame others. It doesn't even occur to you. So, if you participate in the culture of shaming others, there's something fundamentally wrong - and it's not with the person being shamed :)


Body shamming tall girls is wrong


Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem and body shaming? How did you handle it, especially in this society where beauty is being defined by unrealistic standards.


Sure! I am 6'3. Growing up, my height was all people talked about. Both Adults and children teased me Girls are not supposed to be like this, who will marry this one? She's this tall and she's not even that pretty too, how will you kiss your husband? You look like you are going to break, she's so huge! ....

I struggled a lot, I did not feel feminine at all, finding clothes and shoes that fit was a hassle, and boys weren't even checking for the giraffe girl. I mostly felt like an alien    (laughs) Of course, this isn't the only reason but my self-esteem was non-existent.


It took a while but I handled it by redefining beauty. Beauty is something that I am, not something that I have to prove. I am beautiful and enough just because I exist. That sounds radical but it's true.


I don't need to be defined by anybody's standards. Nature chose me. God chose means (laughs) Things are different now though, my height is still what everyone talks about but it's now all about my aura, how elegant, powerful, and graceful I am. Isn't it funny? There were no drastic physical changes, I even got taller but people's attitudes towards me are different. When I walk into a room, you can tell that I operate differently. I believe I am beauty, so I radiate it, and you have no option than to acknowledge it I now carry myself like the queen I know I am.


A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves.


What is your current job and what is your dream job? I know mine is to relax and be receiving unsolicited credit alerts, yours?


Yes to credit alerts! I currently work as a freelance content creator. Acting is my dream job. I wanna be a businesswoman too - hopefully, all these will lead to countless credit alerts (laughs)


Humanity is important


I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world, Never been able to fit in a clique or group,


Tell us Five Random Facts About you, What do you do for fun


  • I think out loud, so I talk randomly

  • I make lists and notes for almost everything

  • I listen to music in various languages

  • I hold a lot of dance concerts in my room. I intensely dance for an hour or two for my imaginary audience...

  • I love corn - boiled, roasted, dried, popped    corn is corn



Lastly, Any advice for young people trying to find themselves?


Be intentional about the growth you hope to see in yourself, however, don't rush it. It takes time to unlearn - and growth occurs in stages. Take things slowly and trust the process. Once there is a clear intention - a clear plan, things will fall into place.



Millenials should get rid of anxiety 


Thank you for having me! 

6 comments

  1. 'Beauty is what I am, not something I have to prove'

    That one I read aloud. You already know this but your point of view and perceptions are beautiful. I really appreciate reading this and I pray you both get to the 'unsolicited credit alerts' stage

    Thank you so much for this Roseline, and thank you Pearl

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    1. Thank you so much for reading this and connecting with it... Yay to credit alerts:) I wish you the absolute best ❤️

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  2. Okoronkwo Valentina19 December 2020 at 12:10

    About the university and getting good grades advice. It’ll totally work In a private or public school abroad. Not here. Lectures don’t even say things you can listen to sometimes. It’s really tough. Thank you for the advice tho. It’s something I’m open to trying. First class , oh my!!. Brainss. Keep it up babe

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    Replies
    1. I am so sorry about that.... I am definitely not the best person to be giving this advice especially to students in the Nigerian system... You all deserve so much better❤️... I wish you the absolute best in your studies... Thank you for your comment:) ....

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  3. This post made me tear up a little. I just realized that I too have a lot to unpack. I thought body shaming was only done to plus sized women. The world is becoming Unkind but like pearl says Evil can never outdo good I loved this interview...so insightful

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  4. Thank you so much for reading❤️...I wish you the best on your journey to healing and unpacking. Unfortunately, all types of bodies are shamed... But people are becoming more careful about it, since it's no longer socially acceptable... Yayy!

    ReplyDelete

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