Becoming managing editor of Nubian Message has been a matter of love and necessity, says Ugonna Ezuma-Igwe, a third-year studying biological science with a cross discipline in economics.
Ezuma-Igwe began as a layout designer for Nubian Message before she began to diversify her assignments and fill in where needed. She began to cover events and eventually became a writer, while also helping out as a social media manager; however, layout was still her passion. By the time the position of managing editor opened up, Ezuma-Igwe said she felt she had enough experience around the paper to handle the job.
“I was always finding something to do in Nubian, and that’s how this position of managing editor came up for me: There was a need,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “There was a need for a managing editor… I feel like people already expected me to take a position like this because of how active I already was.”
She said she not only felt like she was filling a role within Nubian Message, but she felt like Nubian Message was filling a role within her.
“I was really looking for a community in which I was comfortable and I could express myself,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “Coming on campus as a Black woman, there’s not too many things that are given to you. They give you [Multicultural Student Affairs] and the African American Cultural Center, but if you don’t know where those places are, you don’t know anything.”
Ezuma-Igwe said Nubian Message also fills a vital role in the campus community that she really began to appreciate this summer, following the impacts of COVID-19 and the nationwide outcry against widespread police brutality and the murder of George Floyd.
“People were coming to us,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “They needed us. They needed us to talk because they didn’t have an outlet. That’s when I realized that Nubian was the place for people to come to get to the higher-ups. We have contacts. We have people we can go to. Other students don’t have this. They need us.”
Nubian Message’s advocacy for the campus community was exemplified this summer with their petitions to the NC State administration advocating for a change in policing on campus and support for Black students, life and culture on campus as well as providing regular updates on the status of these petitions.
“When we worked on the petitions, we actually got to talk with leaders,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “We got to talk to people in very important positions. Nubian serves as a place for the people. We’re here for the people and what the people want said. They wanted to be heard, and we’re the ones who are going to say it.”
Ugonna said she is thankful to Nubian Message for providing her with a place of comfort. She said she met many of her best friends through Nubian Message. One of her best friends is Nubian Message Editor-in-Chief Elikem Dodor.
“I built friendships from the beginning, from the moment I started here,” Ezuma-Igwe said.
Ezuma-Igwe said she hopes she and Dodor, along with the rest of their staff, will continue to lay groundwork for more growth in Nubian Message in the future.
“We’re opening more opportunities for the upcoming staff,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “We’re working to make sure that they are able to have more opportunities. That they are heard. That they feel they can do what they want to do when they’re here.”
She said she predicts the campus community will continue to become more interested and reliant on Nubian Message and believes it is currently happening. Ezuma-Igwe cites the changing attitudes toward Nubian Message, with many believing it was just a subset of Technician. She said many students now recognize Nubian Message as its own integral part of the campus community and Student Media.
Ezuma-Igwe said Nubian Message is most definitely a labor of love and that she wouldn’t do everything she does if she didn’t love it. She cited 12-hour nights at the office. Outside of Nubian Message, Ugonna says you can probably find her on TikTok.
“I spend too many hours on TikTok,” Ezuma-Igwe said. “It’s really bad.”
For more information about Nubian Message, visit the publication’s website.