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.

Dutch Paper Uses N-Word

On Friday, July 31, 2015 a Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, published an article using the N-word in the headline title and illustrating it with blackface caricatures. When a friend of mine pointed this out to me I was shocked. How...

My Sweaty Armpits

Do you ever notice people that are profusely sweating? On the subway, at work, on the street? Yes, you do? Well I don’t, because I am too occupied with my own case of hyperhidrosis — the medical term for abnormally...

Prancing Elites

Have you seen the Prancing Elites? In my opinion, they are some of the most courageous young people around. Their show, The Prancing Elites Project, just had their first season finale on Oxygen and season 2 will air in 2016....

Love Wins?

With the supreme court ruling and all, I wanted to share in the celebration and attended Gay Pride this year for the first time in many years. To see so many people of all walks of life being sympathetic to...

Listen, Learn, Lead

Last week I learned a lot about myself. I participated in the American Express Leadership Academy — a one week training program to develop emerging non-profit leaders, created by American Express in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)...

Media is Theater

I was looking for a topic to write about for this week's column and I stumbled upon a paper I wrote when I was studying at Pratt Institute some eight years ago. It was an assignment for the Arts, Culture...

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