Muhga Eltigani: Interfaith is not only understanding each other, but listening to each other so that we can move forward together.
Street: Do you know what you’re doing next year?
ME: Yes, I’m working for Venture for America. It’s a fellowship for two years and you work for a start up. Then after two years, they help you build your own business in an impoverished community. Their motto is, “Smart people should build things.” (Ed. note: props for having your life together.)
Street: We’ve heard about the ARCH Cultural Centers: what does Makuu do?
ME: It’s a resource center. We promote anything that has to do with black culture. These cultural centers are a space where people feel most comfortable. Sometimes, not even places like CAPS are able to meet their needs. It’s a support system.
Street: Tell us about your YouTube hair channel!
ME: I had really long hair. For a long time, I felt like it defined me too much. It was past my waist. It was thick. I cut it to my shoulders and then, because of that struggle I had, I made video diaries, and so many people related. My whole thing was using all natural products, so I would make my own shampoo and conditioner. (Ed. note: Want to learn more?)
Street: When did you pierce your nose?
ME: My mom was very adamant about me not getting my nose pierced. So right after high school graduation, I called her and I said I got my nose pierced, but I didn’t! And she was just, like, “Oh, okay.” So I actually went to go get it.
Street: What is your guilty pleasure?
ME: Cookies. I would literally just eat Insomnia Cookies and that would be my meal. All day every day. I don’t get sick from too much sugar like most people, so I have to hold back, man.
Street: What kind of chocolate chip to cookie ratio do you look for in a cookie?
ME: I like a good mix, like it has to have a good amount of chocolate chips, but if it’s too many chocolate chips it’s like a candy bar, and that’s not what I want.
Street: If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would it be and why?
ME: South Africa. In Durban. Specifically, there’s this one highway that we’d pass, and for like five seconds you see the whole town of Durban. And it’s just, those five seconds are just the best time every morning.
Street: What were you doing in South Africa?
ME: I went with another Penn student and then like three PhD students and we just went and studied Zulu there.
Street: Can you say something in Zulu?
ME: Yeah! Sanibona! NginguMuhga wakwaEltigani. Ngiphuma eSudan. Manje, ngihlala ePhiladelphia. (Translation: Hi, My name is Muhga Eltigani. I was born in Sudan and now I live in Philadelphia.)
Street: My PennCard looks like...
ME: Brand new, because I got a brand new one. It’s my eleventh one.
Street: First AIM screenname?
ME: babyblu4eva. And then my sister got babyblu4eva2. I was just like, why would you do that?
Street: Is blue your favorite color?