L.A. AFRICAN: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
CHIZI: Well I spent my childhood in the Bronx and I moved further upstate when I was a pre-teen. I was raised in a traditional Nigerian household which definitely helped shape who I am today. Growing up in the inner-city was interesting paradox. I was African at home, but African-American in America. Eventually I learned how to blend both of my identities as an African and Black-American, but it definitely wasn’t easy. I went off to college and got a degree in Biology with plans of becoming a doctor. However, during my junior year I started getting a feeling that maybe it wasn’t the right path for me. I explored changing my degree, and even got an internship that summer in the communications field to figure it out. I ultimately decided to finish my bio degree, but when I graduated, I decided to pursue becoming a full-time influencer — since I’d never truly given it my all. It was something I had always wanted to do and I figured, why not explore this passion I’ve had since I was a teenager; to be the representation I had always wanted to see on Youtube when it came to tightly textured hair, better known as 4C hair. I definitely never thought I’d be pursuing this as a career, but that’s how life works. You never know what you’ll actually end up doing till you’re there.
L.A. AFRICAN: What have been some challenges you've faced on your journey? What did you do to overcome them?
CHIZI: So I started my channel in 2011 and I definitely found it very difficult to gain traction on my page. At times it would really weigh on me. I thought I “deserved” so much more recognition and views that I felt I may have received if I had curlier hair and lighter skin. Something in me told me to keep going. I like to think that was God. I had this overwhelming feeling that things would work out and that’s how I overcame that challenge. I continued to listen to my gut and have faith that I would be successful no matter what!
L.A. African: What currently keeps you motivated?
CHIZI: The voiceless; that little girl out there who yearns to see someone that looks like her in mainstream media or maybe doesn’t have the best role models in her life. That little girl keeps me motivated knowing that maybe she’ll run across my video one day and she will see someone who she can look up to, learn from, and be inspired by. I think we all have a duty and role to play in this life, and I like to think God put me on this earth to inspire others. I once was that little girl who was looking for representation. I am also motivated by seeing the fruits of my labor. Seeing what has come out of my hardwork over the last few years makes me want to keep working so that I can achieve the next level of success that God has in store for me.
L.A. African: Is there any advice that you would like to lend to individuals looking to get into your industry or just in general?
CHIZI: I think it’s all about having a purpose and plan. A lot of people become influencers because the lifestyles seems really cool, they don’t have to “work”, and they can make all this money. That is the worst mentality to have going into this industry, because you’ll be rudely awakened. I think you need to make sure you have a purpose. When you have that, that is all you need to just start. Don’t think about what others will think of your videos or how they’ll view you, just start and don’t look back. Also, do your research on what makes people click on things. It is important to understand why people click on particular videos versus others. That will help you when trying to market your own content.
L.A. AFRICAN: What music album is currently the most played on your playlist?
CHIZI: There’s no one album I’m currently listening to, but I’m really obsessed with Afrobeats! I just came back from Nigeria and I got to hear some amazing music that excites me. Some of my favorite artists are Davido, Wizkid, BurnaBoy, Simi and others :)
Keep up with Chizi by following/subscribing to her on social media.
Youtube: Chizi Duru