Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Race is on: Essay #1

The History of Race. My version.
Essay #1
by Kate Hallet

So growing up I have several memories of the idea of race.  I mean, they say that we begin to develop our ideas on race as an infant and I have a very vivid memory generally so I think I am a pretty good person to write about this topic, especially since I think my views are very liberal considering my upbringing and just generally I am very liberal when it comes to this issue.

First off, I grew up in a very small mostly Czech (as in the former Czechoslovakia) town in Minnesota.  Minnesota being in the North, the mentality is a bit different but it's a very White state to begin with.  My town is very very White.  Growing up a lot of my best friends were not White but these were the only types of minorities we had in my town.  I had a best friend who was Korean American but his parent's are White and a friend who's Colombian but her parent's too are White.  So in my town the only reason that you were often not White was because you were adopted or you were a migrant worker (as in a Mexican working for one of the factories nearby).  Now, at one point, we had a Black family living right next door to us but my memory of them is very fuzzy, I don't remember if they were mixed, but part of me remembers the Mom being White and the Dad was Black and they had six kids too, but again, fuzzy memory and by the time I entered School they didn't live there anymore; I could call my sister or brother for more information but it's not so necessary I think because this goes to prove my whole point.  There was literally no one of color where we lived.  At that time this place was approximate 2,000 people.  My hometown is about 45 minutes drive to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

I grew up in a Catholic household, the largest Catholic church being on the adjacent block to our house, but we were not strict about Catholicism by any means.  My Mother only went to church on holidays (and even that was rare) and my Dad went every Saturday to a church that was a 20 minute drive away from our house because they had the shortest sermon and a bar across the street that had good pool tables, or maybe it was darts.  We never said grace at dinner and I still don't remember the prayer.  I did go to catechism classes, was baptized twice (once at birth and once in first grade), had my communion, and my confirmation.  My Mother was a Democrat and worked in a factory.  I spent most of my life with my Father being very present in my life, he was home most of my younger years and raised me, he's illiterate, obsessed with the news, movies, and bowling.  I grew up eating mostly Czech food at home and used to sit with the old neighbor ladies and listened to them gossip in Czech about the others in our town.  Growing up, I was an observer, I listened and watched everything going  on around me, soaking it in, and then I would stay awake at night decompressing it all.

I watched a lot of tv and films growing up, like a lot of them, like a lot a lot, and still do.  Nevertheless, a lot of what I learned about Black people or any other group of people, initially I learned about it from tv or film.  I watched the Cosby Show, In Living Color, A Different World, Martin, Living Single, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the LL Cool J show (can't remember the name, Hangin out with Mr. Cooper, and more.  I don't recall reading any books with Black characters but I read a lot; I wish I read as much now.  I was a voracious reader as a child/teenager/and young adult.

My parents were definitely racist but not like KKK type racist.  My Dad often used the term, "niggerbox" when referring to a boombox/radio (but only a certain type of them).  My Mom would call Brazil nuts, "niggertoes" but she would tell me not to call them that.  I don't recall them ever using the term, 'nigger' ever though.

My first time being friends with a  Black person was in middle School when I used to visit my cousins who lived in the city.  They had a few Black neighbors where they lived or maybe two, not a few, lol.  Man, I had such a crush on that boy.  We all did.  He was smart and handsome.  In middle School we also had a mixed kid for like half a year, I remember him so well.  His Mom was a single Mom and he name was JR.  He was a grade below me but he was the same age as me.  I think I maybe spoke to him once but of course, we all had a crush on him because he was different than any of the other boys.  This was around the time that the movies Sunset Park, Above the Rim, Friday, and Bad Boys came out.  I was a basketballer too, so I could relate.

Growing up, I realized very early on that I didn't think the same as everyone else but I didn't realize how different politically I was compared to where I lived, I am not sure how I was so blind to that until college but my part of Minnesota is very Republican, although my Mother and most of my Aunts and Uncles are Democrats so maybe I just didn't see it.  And I was prejudiced at that age too.  I thought of myself as superior to them because I saw a lot of them as country hicks or white trash.  Therefore I am not better than a racist.  Nevertheless, I did realize that I was different and though differently.  But I still don't understand why I am the way that I am.

Once I got to college my whole world changed, however, almost everyone on my floor was White (and I was on a coed floor) my School was not.  We had a large minority population and a massive population of international students (one that I became very involved in quickly).  My freshmen year I became a student government senator and eventually the cultural diversity chair.  My first friend at college was a Malaysian Chinese guy who we became incredibly close almost immediately even though we had a significant language barrier.  I dated men from all over the globe and my friends were from everywhere and all walks of life.  That became my normal.  Anything since then has been odd to me and I feel like the older I get and further from Minnesota I get I get more and more segregated and that scares me and makes me sad.

I've dated White guys, Black guys, African guys, Japanese guys, Asian guys, Arab guys, and I'll say this.  Guys are guys.  Plain and simple.  Do I have a preference?  Yes, but my preference is not based on color of skin.  I've spent most of my life not seeing in colors and recently, color has been thrust and forced upon me.  Living in Brooklyn has made this happen (not even Nigeria!!!).  More on this later though, not this essay.

I've brought home Black and Asian guys home to my parents.  Yes, I prepped them in advance but my Mother never gave me a talk on how they may not get me or their family might not accept me.  We never did that.  My Dad doesn't really care any which way.  If I'm happy, he's happy.  I don't really think he sees in color.  His life philosophy is very different than others.  Maybe that's where I get it from but I don't think so.

I took many racial issues courses and courses related to such discussions and was cultural diversity chair for one year at my university and one year representing my School on the state's board of trustees.  I am well schooled in racial issues, the topic, the definitions, the ideas, and more.  Plus, I do find it interesting but the first time someone told me that there was such a thing as different 'human' races didn't happen until I was almost 28 years old, and was uttered from the mouth of a good, well educated, friend who's in the medical field and understands DNA and genetics.  I was shocked and appalled.  I couldn't believe it.  I was like wtf???  For real?  How could you think there's any race other than the human one?  There's one.  That's all.  But after that I realized she wasn't alone in this way of thinking and I feel like this way of thinking is more and more prevalent.  It's totally absurd.  Please see the definitions I got below by googling it.

race 1

1. group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognizerace as a biologically valid classification, in part because there is more genetic variation within groups than between them.
2. group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the Celtic race.
3. genealogical line; a lineage.
4. Humans considered as a group.

This comes from  So there is no biological difference amongst the human race.  We are one human race.  There is not a Black race, a White race, etc...  We are one.  Why must we continue to shut one another out?  Why do we differentiate amongst ourselves?  Why???  I just don't get it.

And if this is technically a thing, because there really is no such thing, it's a made up thing, since slavery and since WWII, but genetically speaking, there's no difference amongst us.  We literally are the same.  So if this is the case, why must I choose a race when I fill out a form in this country (USA)?  Why?

Do you feel there's really such a thing as different races?  Why or why not?  Do you think that the powers that be know that by creating racism diversion it will continue to suppress the masses and they will continue life in their own status quo?  I'd love to hear others comments.

Good night and Peace and love for all of you!

Kate Hallet

The Race is on: Prologue

A little Prologue: aka the warning!!!

This series is both a long time coming and has been written in my head over the past few months.  Those of you who know me in real life know that I am a no holds barred/no nonsense person.  I tell it like it is and how I feel.  This series of essays is even more in line with this belief than probably ever before.  If you are racist and in denial, have hatred for others generally, it is not advisable to read this series.

Where this series came from?

A lot of places.  Really.  I mean, it is expected from me, really.  I mean, I have a mixed kid who doesn't look like me and often people give me advice about how to raise a Black child.  I am in an interracial marriage.  Most of my friends come from very different backgrounds than my own.  I don't see along color lines.  In Brooklyn, I am often the only 'whitey' in a room at a lot of Black/Afrocentric events or restaurants for that matter and depending on the store.  I get looks when I walk down Flatbush Ave either with my man or my child or even alone.  And mostly because this is a hot topic that is controversial that people are not talking about enough and are not taking in the correct direction and because recently someone had the audacity of saying that I have jungle fever which I think is the most racist thing anyone has ever said to me.  So for all these reasons I am writing this series of essays because I really do feel that I do need to speak out.  The time is just right...

On a side note, I've been reading a lot on the subject and this has really affected my life and how I see things now.  I actually regret reading a recent book because I feel like it has spoiled my mentality a bit and now I think I am more paranoid than ever.

I welcome the comments, no matter what.  I always post them but I do moderate them because of spam and advertising but please do not post anonymously.  Be honest.  Have some balls...

Also, I will not be tweeting or face booking that this series is happening until I have all the essays up on my blog.  So if you are a long time reader, you get a sneak peek...

Enjoy!  Let the discussion commence.

Good night,

Kate Hallet

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Family Business part one

For those of you who read this blog regularly but don't know a lot about me will learn something new tonight.  I currently live in Brooklyn, NY and my family has its own business. 
We are in the Creative World and we create Art, mostly visual but not exclusively. 
The artist in our family is Mr. Laolu Senbanjo.
If you've never been to our site you should check it out here:
I'm about to do a shameless plug, which might not be that shameless because this is my blog afterall. 

So this is a sneak peek at Laolu's latest Series, "Take a Walk in my Soles."

Watch out world because nothing is safe anymore. 

Laolu will draw on just about anything, including your don't say I didn't warn you!

Take a Walk in Laolu's SOLES!

Limited Edition Artistic Series

Laolu has decided to take his Art literally everywhere. He says that no place is safe, not even shoes.  He's made several pairs of one of kind shoes that each foot has its own story.  You can walk in these shoes and share their story with the world.  Some of the feet even have Yoruba Proverb art on them.

Shoes start at $250 and are only available for a limited time.  You can order them through the form on the website or email

ome and get your own pair just for you today.  Get a piece of Art to share with the world and support African Art and a family business.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Assorted Meat - the Web Series

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So I know everyone has been talking about the latest web series that can only be seen on youtube, Assorted Meat.  Now, I won't lie to you all.  Afterall, I am biased more than a little bit because I am lucky to be attached to one of the actors involved, but if you've met me in real life you know that I am an opinionated woman and am a tell it like it is kinda woman.

This series is definitely worth the watch.  Now I know that Oluseyi won't be happy with what I am about to say, because no one really wants to be criticized but, this show is really really good, although I'd change some things around, but overall it's very funny, interesting, love the topics, the characters and I get excited each week to watch. 

Have you seen Assorted Meat, yet?  What are your thoughts?  Who are your favorite characters?  What would you like to see done differently?  Does it seem realistic to you?  Yes or no?
I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts.  In case you haven't had the chance to check it out, click here:

Good night and happy binge watching!

You can find out more info on and click acting.  

Upcoming African Musical Festival: AfroDreamFest comes to NYC

I am pleased to announce to you that AfroDreamFest is bringing itself to New York City this year.  I am thrilled to be assisting with this event.  It's going to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! 

Let me not be too wordy (as I usually am) and let me get right to the nitty gritty.

What:  AfroDreamFest 2015 in NYC
May 22nd @ Meridian 23 (161 W 23rd St, New York, NY) 7:30 pm - wee hours of the morning
May 23rd @ Silvana (300 W 116th St, New York, NY) 8 - 10 pm.

Who (this list is not complete, it is ongoing):
Eli Fola (AfroJazz)
Tosinger (Folk/R&B)
Ayanbinrin (Talking Drum)
OgaSilachi (AfroR&B)
Laolu & the Afromysterics (Afrobeat, Soul, Reggae)

AfroDreamFest is a celebration of African music and features African musicians from both the continent and the diaspora.  Check back soon and I'll be posting more about all the artists involved!

To get your early bird ticket from me!!! email me at or go to eventbrite

More info is at or

Come check out some amazing African music in New York!

Don't forget to come say hi if you come by!

Follow us at @afrodreamfest on twitter and instagram. 

Upcoming African Event in Brooklyn: Jojo Abot first heard about Jojo a few months back.  When I first listened to her music, I described her music to a friend as the African Bjork.  I have yet to tell her that to her face, but I see that as a compliment.  Go check out her show!  You won't regret it.  

Come Check out Jojo Abot Ghanaian Singer-Songwriter this Wednesday May 13th at Meridian 23 (161 W 23rd St, New York, NY) featuring Nigerian MoRuf (opening).  Tickets are $15.

More info at

Go check out this cool venue, this amazing music, and tell them that Kate aka Moremi sent you!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why do so many people think Nigerians cannot speak English?

This post should be directed at Americans, but when I reflect on this topic, many non-Americans also have issues with understanding that Nigerians speak English as well (such as Germans, Koreans, Indians, and Brits).

Ok, so here's why I bring this up.  A friend of mine who's Indian (India Indian) American (born in the states and grew up in NY) and works with lots of Nigerians asked me about a friend who's Nigerian and asked if he can speak English.  I was like, "yes, of course.  English is the national language of Nigeria." She was like, 'yeah, but where he grew up, do they speak English?"  I was like, "yes, I have never even heard him speak in Yoruba come to think of it, I'm not even sure he can."

I was absolutely flabbergasted, like for real.  I mean, ok, I'm from a very small town in Minnesota, so I get that someone from my hometown or somewhere similar might think something so ridiculous, or even a White person from a city, okay, I'll let it slide, there are many ignorant people out there.  But she is Indian, who's boss is a Yoruba Nigerian man, whom she's friends with, so like, wtf, like, really?  I was appalled and embarrassed for her.

Nigeria is not francophone Africa.  I am pretty sure she knows this.  Nigeria had the brain drain in the 70's and 80's and therefore many of my professors at my university were Nigerians.  Nigerians are smart.  They are spread throughout the world in many different occupations and they all speak English, most not even with a strong accent, not nearly as strong as the average Indian, if I might add.  I am not Nigerian, not by birth anyway, and not technically anyway, but I do love Nigeria for all it's shortcomings, I do love this country and consider it my second home and I am offended when people do not think that Nigerians can speak English.

When I lived in Yola, yes, most people do not speak English, they speak Hausa, Fulfulde and other languages, but some did speak English.  I know that probably got even better as the University became larger, but that is the North and most Americans are unlikely to encounter a Northern Nigerian person in their lifetime, let alone one that doesn't speak English, unless they happen to find themselves in Nigeria, and at that point, they will know that Nigerians do speak English.

I mean, hello.  All those Princes that email you everyday claiming to have millions of dollars that they want to send to you write to you in English, abi???  lol.

Anyways, that's my rant for tonight.  I am always shocked by the ignorance of this world.  But then again, I had to google the meaning of chivalry a few days ago because I honestly did not know the actual definition.  But at least I admitted I didn't know it!

I digress. 

AfroDreamFest NYC 2015

AfroDreamFest 2015 will be hosted this year in New York City with an amazing lineup.  More info to be had here at: and your tickets can be had here:
or email me at for tickets as well. 

AfroDreamFest is an annual touring concert that celebrates and promotes neo Afro-fusion genres of music from the African continent and in the diaspora to celebrate African Liberation Day (May 25) ! Previous ones were held in Atlanta and Houston and they were an awesome experience for both the artists and the afromusic loving audience!!! We are coming to NYC this year.
Afrodreamfest NYC 2015
TWO Venues/ TWO Dates - Make your choice or come to both for good measure :) 
7.30 pm Friday, May 22 Meridian 23
161 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011 
7.30pm Saturday, May 23 Silvana
300 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

Featuring Afrobeat band Laolu and The Afromysterics, Afrosoul/folk artist Tosinger, AfroRnB artist Ogasilachi , Afro Jazz Artist Eli Fola and Ayanbinrin- Africa's foremost female Talking Drummer

Getting back on track...

So life in New York is always crazy.  Like always.  This is good and bad.  You have to surrender to this city sometimes and just accept that you will always be busy and that you need to pick and choose what you want to do and how to live your life or you will go CRAZY!  I mean, there's crazy and then there's CRAZY!

With that said, although you have to surrender to New York, which I have surrendered to her majesty, you also need to learn how to not allow her to consume you, she can be like the ocean and swallow you up whole.  Currently, I am not a hundred percent happy with my situation in life.  This is for many many reasons.  One, I am not completely happy with my eating habits and my weight/body image.  Having a baby does things to your body, things that no woman talks about, things I cannot explain and I currently don't know how to deal with.  Two, I am not cooking enough and this makes me unhappy.  Cooking brings me joy.  So I am going to start cooking again soon and begin another round of the whole 30 or gluten free month or something like it.  Three, I have started to yoga again and need to keep this up. 

Routine used to be so important to me.  I have some routines currently but most of them are forced upon me, not by choice.  But I must begin to have some routine in my life again, but the routine will be of things I love and choose. 

I am also reading currently two different books for my book clubs. 

Book One:  The Folded Clock, A Diary by Heidi Julavits (for my Summer 2013 Cortelyou Moms book club).  This is a closed group.  The reading of this book is going very slow but I hope it picks up. 

Book Two:  The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (for my African Art and Culture in Brooklyn and beyond meetup group.  This is open to the public.  join us!)  This is actually my meetup group that I started.  This is one of the many things that keeps me busy here in Brooklyn. 

What are you reading?  Please comment!

If you are in NY, how do you avoid being swallowed whole by her majesty?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This Nigerian Life in Brooklyn

So I need to seriously update my blog.  This has needed to happen ages ago but lots of things have prevented this from happening, mostly, motherhood, our family business, and following our passions.  However, one of my main passions is writing and this blog is one of those things.

When I first moved back stateside I didn't know how long I'd be back in the US.  I am a bit surprised that it is as long as it's been (almost two years now) but nevertheless we're happy in Brooklyn.  I was asked what I am going to do with my blog?  Well, the truth is I started it for many reasons and I just borrowed the title and amended from my favorite radio show, This American Life.

So... With that said, I do plan on revamping this blog and writing much more often.  My goal is to be writing at least weekly because I do realize that people actually read this stuff.  I have SOOOO much knowledge, information and stories to share.

My blog will always have stories about my life, places I enjoy to eat, shop and go too both here in Brooklyn and in Nigeria.  It will always have a more Nigeriancentric focus because my own life has that too.

Look forward to many upcoming posts on the best places to buy ankara in Brooklyn, the best Nigerian restaurants in New York, the best places to meet other Nigerians in NY, the best place to do the shoki at and much more.

I don't claim to know it all but I do claim to be a lover of sharing information for all to enjoy!

Also, please do comment.  I have been busy posting them tonight.  Go back and read some old posts and check out the comments.  It's enjoyable.  Lol.


Kate aka Moremi

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The sad state of medical affairs

This morning I read on a friend's fb tl that her hubby was extremely ill and would be medi-evac'ed out of Nigeria to... wait for it,  Kenya.  Now I do know I've been out of Nigeria for a minute but how on Earth did Kenya become better for medical treatment than Nigeria? What is going on in Nigeria that Kenya is now a better place to receive health care? I hope some of you respond and comment on this because I'm so sad. Is this possibly true?

Has Nigeria's health care system really gotten this poor? Is Kenya that much better? Any experiences? I'm very curious to hear your thoughts.

Good night. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laolu @ Meridian 23

Tonight at Meridian 23,  161 W 23rd St, New York City,  Laolu and the Afromysterics will be performing two sets,  followed by DJ Eli Fola.  Tickets are just $10. Come show us some love ya'll.  Amazing original Afrobeat,  Reggae and AfroSoul by Laolu Senbanjo.  Check them out at

The Power of Yahoogroups

So in my lifetime,  I've been so blessed.  People have mostly blessed me with information, that information has led me to some great successes and continues to do so.  One thing at the heart of my success has always been,  yahoogroups,  oddly enough.  I don't like yahoo mail, never have, never really used it much but all the yahoogroups that I've been part of,  still am part of have been instrumental to me success in life.

Yahoogroups have given me friends,  housing,  jobs,  things,  beds,  cribs,  and much more when I needed them. My yahoogroups connection once gave me 3 job interviews the same day I learnt I was being laid off.  When I lost my housing yahoogroups helped take me in within hours.  When I was in transit and needed things that I couldn't easily access because they were in storage again, it was yahoogroups that helped me.

The other day, I needed a crockpot because I had a crockpot emergency (that's a story for another day) and it again it was my yahoogroups that saved the day.

Yahoogroups are kind of like phantoms.  You can't really see anyone (not like Facebook or instagram), it doesn't judge you,  but you just post to a group and people post back.  Simple.  Lovely.  Beautiful. I love my yahoogroups.

I'm going to take time right now to thank them. 
Thank you to the abuja_expats yahoogroup, without you there would never have been a Kate in Abuja.  There may not even be this blog for that matter!
Thanks so much to CortelyouMoms yahoogroup and flatbushfamilynetwork yahoogroup, right now I'd probably be in Jersey if not for you!

Yahoogroups has changed my life.  Taught me so much.  Taught me that there are so many good people in this world.  Taught me that I should appreciate all that I have and give back when I can. I'm truly blessed.  I love my community.  Flatbush is the best.  Brooklyn is so much better because of this real community.

Yahoo, you may not be Google,  but in some ways,  your way better!

Thanks for listening.

Much love,


What are you waiting for? Go search for the yahoogroup that will save your life!