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Yako and Krystal

Yako and Krystal

Yako: Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

Stay in Your Lane!

Yako: I heard something interesting the other day. Of course we have all seen the expansion of biking in Brooklyn and across all of New York. Not just blue bikes, but it seems like more and more people are discovering...

Fashion Fascista

Yako: With summer approaching and a couple of very nice and warm spring days thus far, people around the neighborhood cease to hide their latest outfits under bulky winter coats and coverings. That means we will be exposed once again...

Live and Let Love

This month's Porcelain Ashes column is a sole contribution by Krystal, inspired by a conversation both columnist recently had. Krystal: Let's talk about love. But let me start out by saying that I've become very jaded over the years. Honestly,...

The Art of Imitation!

Yako: I love memes! Two years ago, I did not even know what a meme was. According to Wikipedia, memes have been around since 1976! And the word “meme” is short for “mimeme,” which is from Ancient Greek, meaning "imitated...

Christmas Cringes

Krystal: It’s that time again. The holiday music in almost every public space, the good-natured laughter among friends, family and co-workers, the heightened utility bills from decorations, and ridiculous crowds of people rushing to purchase gifts in time for people...

Woods and Weather

Yako: You must have seen that Geico commercial. The one where four people are running around in the woods trying to hide from some evil slayer. This is their conversation: Male 1: "Let's hide in the attic." Female 1: "No,...

Brooklyn Blues

Krystal: Yako, I know you've been around the world enough to be able to relate to different types of communities. You can probably relate to this -- when it comes to the direct relationship to the communities we all live...


FOMO Fatigue

Yako: Do you sometimes also feel that urge to flake out? And when you do and give in, what is the reason that you give your friend, who is particularly excited about whatever you had planned? Before you answer these...

Digital Downgrade

Krystal: I can't help but notice how much of a beautiful day it is. Summertime is beckoning me from my windows. The wave of humidity has finally subsided, the breeze is calm and soothing, and the sky is a grand...


By Yako Boren and Krystal Brown Yako: You know what I think is so odd? When I walk down Fulton Street, I always see clumps of hair rolling down the pavement. What is that all about? I mean, there must...


Last Friday, I attended one of the fashion presentations of the annual Fashion Week Brooklyn. The line-up consisted of ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter) menswear with designs by Kit Woo, Ienday Snipes, Zam Barett, and Tru Fiction by Mark Cordell. Admittedly I have...

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Black History Month
February is Black History Month, celebrating the rich history of the African Diaspora in Brooklyn.

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