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How do you maintain a healthy relationship with social media?
I download apps from my phone to focus sometimes, and when I’m finally done, I reload them. I’m not erasing it entirely; it’s still on my home page. But I know I’m going to have to go through the process of waiting for it to download to access it. Now Instagram is my main app. I love Instagram, so I set a timer when I go into her place.
Last year I went through a time where I decided to unfollow a lot of celebrities because there was too much on my feed to the point where I was like, “Wow, I don’t look like that” or “I don’t look like that.” I don’t have what they have. My feed is now more people I know in Howard, and it feels better. I was seeing impossible goals, and that definitely gets into people’s heads at a young age.
Do you feel any pressure to continue?
There it is Pressure: I’ve noticed that the way I post now has definitely changed. Now I put more thought into my photos. My friends have Canon cameras; we only use them for certain things. I still use my iPhone to take photos, but when it’s time to take professional photos for moments like LinkedIn or my birthday, I ask my friends to take photos of me with a Canon. I could tell that was happening, but I don’t think I was pushed so hard to the point of panicking about it. Being around all these people who take their photos very seriously made me start to take mine more seriously. It’s helped me because I like the image I see of myself now, and it’s much better than how I looked before I came to Howard.
With the TikTok and Instagram filters, how do you plan to increase the representation of melanized skin?
It has a lot to do with the creators. Coming out of the HBCU world and into a PWI world, a lot of the people who made these things that people love and use today are white. They don’t think of anything else to do for most people. If more black people were to enter the field, it would definitely be geared towards black people, which is why I’m so happy to see it’s in my HBCU. My major has so many people planning to do a lot in computer science. When it comes to filters, they usually show you the creator on Instagram or who started it, and most of the time they are white.
How did you go from doing voice at LaGuardia High School in New York City to AI at Howard?
The reason I went to LaGuardia was because the school also had a lot of AP classes. It gave me more opportunities than many of the schools in my area. I wanted an advanced education, but I wanted music in my life. Realistically, what she wanted to do was be a singing teacher. And back then, my parents were like, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” So I knew what that meant: “Do you think you’ll make enough money?” This is what my parents tried to insinuate on me, and I was like, you know, I get where they’re coming from. So I just found something else that I was equally passionate about.
And then I realized that I love music enough, but I love doing computing even more than I love music, and I can still do it on the side. In fact, I’ll be bringing my keyboard to my campus soon so I can continue to work on music and fix things.
Monique Wilson is Glamor’Editorial assistant to s and recent graduate of Georgetown University. follow her on @moneeeeekk