Face Value: Nikki Jusu

June 1, 2003

 

Nikki Jusu

Rising junior, Chronicle columnist on race relations, screenwriter, poet

Describe yourself in three words:

Eccentric, sarcastic, capricious

Describe Duke in three words:

Monotonous, haunting, isolated


Why Duke?

Because Duke offered me the most money

What one thing would you change about Duke?

I'd get rid of the sameness. It's so pervasive on campus in everything from the way people talk to the way they dress.

Who is your favorite person?

My mother

What do you value most?

Probably my tongue

Nikki Jusu

photo by Chris Hildreth

In her words:

People tend to beat around the bush about race relations on campus. I'm the only black columnist [in 2003], and I feel obligated to bring a black voice to the paper. I feel that it's very important for everyone to hear from every perspective possible, even when that demands that toes get stepped on. I get a lot of comments and e-mail messages--some positive, some negative--and I really do value everyone's opinion, regardless. When I first started to write, it wasn't my intention to represent the black community, but, inevitably, race surfaced in my writing. And I'm black. That's who I am. My parents are from Sierra Leone, and I was born here. So I am truly African American. This student e-mailed me one time and told me to do us all a favor, "be a columnist, not a black columnist." So, ever since then, I've been "the black columnist." It's obviously very segregated on campus and, regardless of what administrators do to try and promote integration, it's up to students to go outside their comfort zones and extend themselves outside their race. I'm guilty of [not doing] that myself. But, I can say that, when you step out of those boundaries, you find that life is much more interesting.

A joint project of University Photography and Duke Magazine, Face Value is an evolving gallery of portraits displayed in Perkins Library and represented in the magazine.
By capturing these individuals in images and words, the project celebrates some of the staff, faculty, and students whose contributions define a diverse community. Portrait by Chris Hildreth