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April 5, 2023

Ep 147: ”I Began Removing Walls During Basic Training” ft Raphael Harry

In honor of reaching 100 subscribers on YouTube, I'm releasing a special episode to reintroduce new listeners to myself! On December 17th, 2019, I was interviewed on White Label American and the episode was published on the 3rd of January 2020 - jus...

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In honor of reaching 100 subscribers on YouTube, I'm releasing a special episode to reintroduce new listeners to myself! On December 17th, 2019, I was interviewed on White Label American and the episode was published on the 3rd of January 2020 - just a few months before the world changed so much. My friend Julienne Ryan (aka Jules) handled the interview and we're already working on Part II for my upcoming birthday in May. I'm also planning my first live stream of the year - stay tuned for more details!   On this episode of White Label American, Raphael opens up about his podcasting journey, recounting his experiences growing up in Nigeria and his struggles with insecurity. Listeners will learn how Raphael's encounters with different cultures and attitudes towards LGBTQ+ and Middle Eastern communities impacted his view of the world and his role in the military. He also shares the importance of accountability and the pushback he has received for prioritizing that over tribal loyalty. Through his in-depth conversations with guests, Raphael encourages listeners to be open-minded and account for different perspectives. Join Raphael on his journey to discover new cultures and stories, and be inspired to challenge your own views and beliefs.  

It's incredible to think about how much has changed since this episode of the podcast was released. My life, your life, and the world itself have all evolved in time since. I'm thankful for everyone who has helped me grow, learn, and improve. While my views have shifted in the time since this recording, we can delve into them in more detail during my upcoming live episode next month. What hasn't changed, however, are the core principles that this podcast was founded on. I never really considered the concept of being treated as an outsider in different parts of Nigeria until I was asked about it for the first time during this interview with Jules. I'm incredibly grateful to Jules for helping me to confront and address those memories. Be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming Part II episode. If you have any questions that you'd like to see my answer to, please feel free to send them to jryan@jryanpartners.

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So what are you waiting for? Join the conversation now and download the app! 

Check out the latest book from Julienne B. Ryan "The Learned It In Queens Communications Playbook." tinyurl.com/mr295p62

    📚 Timestamped overview [00:02:58] Insecure about my own voice, met people, accepted the gift of talking, and created a platform to share knowledge. [00:15:26] Teenage resilience: Dancing at parties, fetching water, doing long walks, doing house chores, and talking to strangers. [00:22:08] Experiencing cultural diversity in Benin City, but feeling like an outsider in Ibadan due to Eurobas being the biggest tribe in the area. [00:24:54] Shock of not speaking Yoruba; experienced in Ibadan and Lagos. [00:30:38] Applied for the visa, denied twice, needed legal documents, photos, and DNA test. [00:42:39] Introduction to American society through military training. [00:47:35] Learned to accept those who are different and discovered people in the Middle East were more tolerant than expected. [00:52:23] Give others a chance, listen and learn, and don't judge without knowing. [01:06:15] Holding people in power accountable regardless of the tribe; Nigerian friends don't like criticism; patriotism is not defined by oppressing others. [01:14:36] Ignorance, power, and justice; self-accountability; surprise; support; poem; knowledge; new plans.


Hi, everyone. Raphael Harry here and you're listening to White Label American, a podcast where we hear stories from an immigrant or two, sometimes more. Thank you for listening and enjoy the show. Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of White Label American. Thank you all for joining us. And thank you all who've been sending, who've been giving us five Stars reviews and five Stars ratings and reviews on iTunes and Stitcher. Appreciate that. And on other platforms, today is a very special episode. Your host is not your host today, so it's not going to be about it's a flip around. So I will allow the host of today's episode to take over from here because I am the guest.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:01:05]:

Well, thank you. My name is Julian Ryan, and I'm a colleague of Raphael. And a couple of months ago, he shared with me that he was doing this amazing project of interviewing people from Africa and collecting immigrant stories to show the power and the impact they've made in their communities, the work they're doing, and how they are really embodying the American dream. Now, this was really of interest to me because I am an applied storyteller. My work is about collecting personal and true stories from people and using it to help them either develop the work they do for themselves, find a new careers, or just start to appreciate their talents as well as make connections with other people, whether it's at work building teams or in their communities. So how could I not resist speaking to Raphael? And I also where some women love shoes and all these other things, I'm addicted to backstories. So this gives me full control of the mic, and the fact it gave it to me a few minutes early is amazing. So we're going to switch away from me and put all our focus this morning or this afternoon, I should say, on Raphael. So with that word backstory, I think one of the popular phrases you might have noticed in New York when anyone comes to visit you or travel, one common question is, how did you get here? Yes, because we were always stuck on a subway, stuck on a road. Absolutely. It's the one connecting factor. We're all kind of curious to find some secret route or the best route around this crazy city. So with that said, tell me a little bit about, first the podcast, and then we're going to work backwards a bit and then see where we go.

Raphael Harry [00:02:58]:

Okay. For the podcast, I'll say life, in a way, just kind of arranged it. So there have been people who have been talking to me or known me for ages, and one thing that seems to have been common was that, oh, we should have you on radio or have you on TV. And then when YouTube came out, you should be on YouTube, have a channel. But I was insecure in myself. I did not believe in my voice. I was afraid of my own voice. I was like, I don't think I look that good to be on YouTube in the first place. I don't think people want to see me. So I just panicked every time people brought that up, right from even when I was in Nigeria, I used to write to the sports papers that we had. And most times I would write to make an argument about an article that they posted and like, oh, this article, you guys got it wrong. Or I disagree. And when I send in my readers comments, they will print it, and they will print your email at the bottom. And with time, I started getting emails from fellow readers of the same papers saying, do you have some publication or something that you work on? Like, we like the way you talk about soccer. It was mostly soccer. Then we agree with your views. We don't hear these type of views from the sporting publications. And true that I have like two, three friends to this day who I've only met one of them, but the rest will still be in contact. People have always been trying to push me to get my voice out there, which was one part of it, and I was just afraid. Now, the other part was that it does not matter if I'm taking an Uber or taxi anywhere I go, I meet people. I'm always able to engage with people one on one. And by the time I finally came to accept that this is a gift that I have and it is something that I have a passion for doing this, maybe I should take it past just talking to drivers when I'm in a cab and bring it to a larger platform where people could learn from. Because I learned a lot when I talked to an Uber driver who's from Ukraine, and I saw him all dressed in the Adidas from head to toe. And I'm familiar with in the soccer environment, we make fun of Eastern Europeans who love Adidas. We call it the dida life, myself and my Russian brother. So I asked him, like, is he Eastern European? He said yes. And I started mentioning clubs in his country. He's like, oh, you've been there. You've been there? I said, no, I haven't, but I know about this in your country. And then he starts telling me extra stuff. So I've been able to talk to people, but I just was not able to transpire to a larger platform. And when I finally came to accept that maybe I shouldn't be shying away, and I became more secure in my own voice and in my own self, doing this became the passion project for me. And that was the beginning of the birth of this. So technically, it's been in the making over ten years, because I know last 2008, someone actually mentioned podcast to me, which Facebook memories reminded me of. And I was like, oh, wow. I was like, what is that?

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:07:02]:

Thank you. That's a great answer. And I want to come back to some points you make, but I think in the interest of your listeners, I want to have a truthful moment, because when we were preparing for this, raphael shared some questions with people who are asking, and soccer came up quite a bit. So before you get excited and think we're going to have a soccer based, we are not. I have to say, I love the sport. My husband's from Ireland, he adores it. So World Cup is bigger in our house, but we are not going to make that our focus today. We will revisit it another time. But back to you on what you shared. I wrote a word down when you were talking about how you grew into this. And I'm curious about lots of people can talk or lots of people can write, but what do you think people heard in your voice and your answers, whether it was on the written page or spoken, that people came to you suggesting that you should be presenting to a wider audience? What do you think they were hearing and what you were saying and doing that made a difference?

Raphael Harry [00:08:07]:

I think something authentic and something that wasn't. I think they saw that I was willing to be me. So, yeah, I won't say my stage of maturity was at its highest then, because I've changed lots of the views that I had back then. But some of the issues that I pointed out, like in soccer, also related to the larger society, be it in Nigeria or in Europe, wherever, and people could relate to stuff like that. So that's why I couldn't make friends with people online from the Middle East, people in Europe, people who still haven't met to this day, but we're still in touch. And yeah, they saw something that this includes people who are fans of rival teams, too. So it's not like Joshua fans of teams that I support, but there are people from other teams and we have disagreements. Not like we don't have disagreements, but they could see that when I made my points, they could see where I was coming from. And when they made their points, I listened to them. So even when most will say they won't agree with the person or get away, I won't tolerate if you're saying you want to kill people, that kind of thing, you want to erase people. But there are some who like, I know one who identifies as a fascist, but he's in Europe, and the way he explained it to me was a lot different from what I had in mind. And I was like, maybe you might want to find a different title to call yourself. But he was more anti establishment, that's what he was. But he went and watched him, so people always felt the authenticity of my voice.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:10:05]:

So I'm going to use that word again because I think your audience and your friends and colleagues have heard something about you. But I think the art of interviewing and connecting with people is also that they felt heard. And I think that's perhaps the gift you're giving other people when you're connecting with people responding, whether you agree with them or not. And I think that's a very important skill and a gift in many situations. We don't sometimes have the patience to invest the time to do it. Now, are you somebody that when you say you're going to come to meet on a meeting you don't come for hours because now you've connected with everybody? You cross between the cab driver and is there a special Raphael time that people like? We'll invite you to dinner and say, well, build in 3 hours because we're going to be out there for a while. Maybe.

Raphael Harry [00:11:03]:

That'S an interesting one. I don't know.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:11:06]:

We need to get a log schedule the next time. Maybe speak to your immediate family.

Raphael Harry [00:11:14]:

My very good friend always has this joke for everybody south of Germany is late. That's his way of saying all the Germans keep the time. My Mrs, she's German, so she's always on time compared to me. So that's where my mind went first, I'm sure.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:11:35]:

Well, she and I can talk because we could compare notes on different timetables that are family members and cultural groups.

Raphael Harry [00:11:46]:

When it comes to Raphael's time, I think most people will tell you that if I say I'm committed to something, I'm committed. That's the one guaranteed thing that I believe most people will tell you about. If I don't believe in committing myself to something, I just let you know ahead of time. There's no point wasting time anymore. Some might say, like the Nigerian community, they call it being mean, but I said it's technically just being blunt. So there are times where you have to be diplomatic and there are times where you just have to be blunt and say, look, I'm not going to waste anybody's time and I'm not committing to this or that, but good luck or I support what you're doing and I wish you the best.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:12:36]:

Okay, here's the question then. Let's going back. So you've given us a little context about the reason. What drew you to podcasts and sharing and connecting. But take me back to growing up in Nigeria. Tell me about your childhood. Did you always interview people in school? Were you always curious? Were you the kid in the back of class, always with the hands on? Give us a mental picture of what you were like when you were hatching, basically and getting started.

Raphael Harry [00:13:09]:

So I have never considered if I interviewed people in school until you asked this question back in Nigeria. But as a kid I was very adventurous and I used to get in trouble all the time because I was supposed to be home by 06:00 p.m. I kept playing until it was all dark everywhere. And then some family members trying to track you down, and you're like, oh, I was just about to head home, kind of thing.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:13:41]:

Okay, yeah.

Raphael Harry [00:13:42]:

So you get pulled by the ear. Yeah. Why you make us come look for you? You can't just come home by yourself. So I was one of those, but at the same time, we moved around the country a lot. So I was born in the middle part of the country, just and the environment there is a lot different to the rest of the country. There's actually been snow there and ended up in the south, where my family is from. The southern south, south. That's how the region is described as. I'm not considered someone from Jos, I was born there, but I'm considered where my family's tribe is from. So I moved closer to where my tribe was from like, age six. And that's where the accents that I speak with, like when I speak Nigerian vernacular, it's more of that region, the Bender region. I was quite playful. I was into my soccer. Running athletics was huge for us. 100 meters dash and 200 meters. We didn't care about any other thing other than 100 meters, 200 meters, the relays. And wrestling. At a point in time, I think probably until I was about 1516, WWE was actually bigger than soccer in the city. I was in the city of the Asian city of Benin City, and WWE was like it was huge. I believe there are more fans of wrestling than even soccer.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:15:25]:


Raphael Harry [00:15:26]:

And I think it's changed now. We used to be crazy about that. Love dancing at parties, but at the same time, we didn't have hip hop. We love dance hall and reggae, local music. Hip hop will come much later. So when someone mentioned Snoop Dogg what is that? He's a rapper. Why would a human being call himself Snoop Dogg? Kind of thing. That was our sports, but it wasn't organized. Like at school level. We did not have a team. We couldn't play against other schools, but in neighborhoods when we got back from school, then we all met up to play. But at the same time, we also had stuff to do at home, so we didn't have running water. Even though my family was technically middle class and we had a house made, but I was still put to work, so I used to go fetch water. I think from the age of probably twelve, I started fetching water. And they gave me a bucket at first. And they saw that I couldn't carry stuff on my head because I hated putting placing stuff on my head. I like the shape of my head. I saw people's head shapes change, so I said no. So it was a 25 liters jerry can that I would take to go fetch water. And then they got me a wheelbarrow and I could actually carry up to 100 liters of water, but you have to go get that every day you came back from school. Go get that first. And sometimes you might go up to 2 miles just looking for water. Because the places that give you water, the security guards might be acting up, saying they want money. Or if there's no girl in your family, if there's a girl in your family, they'll let you come in so they can sweet talk to girl. But I did not have a girl. It was already the housemate. And if the housemate was not going to fetch without me, then there was no way they will let me into some of these places. I was like solo, I was a single boy. So I have to go look around. Look around until you find somebody's house who had running water and person, oh, come in. Coming. And someone will allow you fetch water, but only once you can't come back again. And then you have to go look for another house and get water. But you did all this, and at the same time, you're still looking for a way to go play, because we're mixing all that. So I think probably in its own way, I may have been interviewing people without realizing I was doing that, because I was always curious when I met somebody from some other part of the country or someone with a name that didn't sound like a name that was used to ask questions, and they asked questions back. But I remember there was one, Cameroonian, in our school, and up till the age of 14, I was down in Benin City. And then I'll move to the biggest, largest city in West Africa, Badon. And that's where I'll finish high school. And life would change again, because this time I was in middle class. I was like, I dropped one grade below and fetching water from Wales. You do all this house chores before you go to school, then you come back from school. My uncle had a poultry, and we used to breed dogs, so go get the dog food. But we couldn't take taxis because his wife didn't like her husband's relations. So we didn't get pocket money. So we had to walk long distances. That was way over two, three, 4 miles sometimes. Go get sawdust, come back for the poultry and go get dog food. Come back. And in the middle of doing all this, they try to be teenagers, try to say hi to the girls, resilience.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:19:34]:

But what you're describing, and I'm sure you had responsibilities and you had chores and you had contributions to make that's pretty much people talk about going to the gym and work. That was workout. I wonder, you became a good athlete.

Raphael Harry [00:19:55]:

Yes. Serious workout. That was serious workout. I mean, pushing that wheelbarrow. I mean, now I probably can't push a wheelbarrow that good anymore. But back then, it was like funny sometimes because I won't have the 50 liters, because I didn't want to make two, three trips. So if I could take the 50 liters Jerry can and take both of them, I just needed to find somebody to help me lift it up and place in the wheelbarrow when I fetched water.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:20:24]:

Okay, I have to digress. My husband will not forgive me if he hears this interview and knows that I let the moment of you saying you were a runner and a sprinter out of the question, because I don't know if we've shared this. He is a coach that does sprinting coach, and he's gotten people to the Olympics. He has a coach from Guyana. No, but Guyana, he's been doing that for 30 something years. And we've had one fantastic athlete, a couple from Guyana and from Ghana and from all over the Caribbean, and he ran for Ireland as the national. So I have to just get that little plug in there for Tim, otherwise I can't go home. But when I was thinking about the art of interviewing, it's about building trust.

Raphael Harry [00:21:09]:


Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:21:10]:

So already at that young age of having to go up to strangers and ask for something and ask for their help, it's about building trust and you project respect. So all those little things I think helped make you a very good interviewer and curious. Thank you. Curiosity is the thing that keeps us going when we're engaging with people, whether interviewing for a job, for somebody, or interviewing what you're doing to learn more. So you're taking now going forward. And the other thing that struck me, because I had made notes and I read a little bit of your bio that shows up on LinkedIn and from your conversations, you've moved a few times between countries, but you also moved within your own country. So you were always the other, like, coming in with an outsider's perspective, with an insight. And I think that's something for you to talk about.

Raphael Harry [00:22:08]:

Yeah. Especially when in Benin City, it did not have a big impact on my life because Benin City, yes, the Bini tribe were like the biggest tribe there. But there are other smaller tribes in the state, and my tribe also exists in that state. So it wasn't like people did not know who I was culturally, but diversity, it was much more accepted. So I wasn't considered an outsider per se. I would always say maybe because I could speak multiple languages as a kid, which my family, in a way took away from me because they wanted me to speak English more than other languages. I was speaking like three or four languages before the age of six. So I lost the languages I used to speak while I was in Binin City because it was English, English I was speaking. And then I moved to Ibadan, and that's when it became I had my first experience of being the outsider because Ibadan is an ancient Eurobas city. It's huge for Eurobas. Eurobas are the biggest tribe in the west, one of the big three in Nigeria. And when I got there with my name, I was not even considered Nigerian. Like, in most places that most public places that I went to, they called my name. They asked me, oh, are you Ghanaian or are you from Liberia? Because there were a lot of Liberian refugees during the civil war were sent to Ibadan. So a bunch of their kids were in public schools. And I was put in a public school in Ibadan. I've been going to private schools all this time. And when I first arrived at the public school, the vice principal asked me, like, oh, are you from Ghana? I said no. I have family from Ghana. But I'm not from Ghana. I'm from my state is called Biosa. And I said, I was from Biosa. And he said, Where is that? I was like, that's weird. I've never had anybody ask me that. It's in Nigeria. So I had to use the old state that Biosa was created from. Okay, yeah, I know that place. So I was like, okay. That's weird. And then Ibadan has this most Euroba cities, but it's not like business. The way people spoke English regularly there, you are expected to speak Euroba given in school, teachers were teaching with Euroba instead of English. And I will be the guy, like, raising his hand up. Like, not everybody understands Europe here. Are you going to teach an English language in English or are you going to keep teaching in Europe? And I'll get in trouble for that.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:24:52]:

Oh, my God.

Raphael Harry [00:24:54]:

They'll be like, how come you're Nigerian? You don't speak Europe? Because I don't live here. I was not born here, I did not grow up here, so why would I be speaking Europe? And to them, it was like a huge culture shock. Nobody could understand anywhere I went to, if I went to the market, because I used to go to markets, that was our grocery shopping. And I go there to buy food stuff. And everybody, they just are speaking Yoruba to you. And you have to be like me about Yoruba, which is, I don't understand your bar. Which was one of the first things I learned. Like, Are you Nigerian? I said yeah. And you don't speak yoruba. This is like, I don't understand this. I don't understand this. So it took a while for my getting used to everybody being shocked that I did not speak Euroba, even if I was at the university, which was the first university in Nigeria. Same thing. You meet students, everybody just wants to hit you with Euroba. Except you go to some maybe like when there's a larger garden of students and then you show up there, then you find more non Euroba speakers. But yeah, that was like the huge even at church, the same thing. People just in the crowd control unit and directing crowd traffic coming in and out of the church. That was a huge church. And if someone had to come ask for something, they were just not speaking Yoruba. Zoom. That I was, and I was like, I don't understand. I don't speak Yoruba. And they're like, Somebody just poured coworker. The shock. Yeah. I think that was the first time I got that experience of being an outsider. But by the time I will start working on my visa and I will go to the consulate in Lagos, which is like the New York of Nigeria from our capital. It's also a Yoruba city, but by then, I think after the experience in Ibadan, that kind of like I wasn't too shocked when people meet me and, oh, you don't speak Yoruba. Lagos had more English because obviously, it's more diverse, but there was still that expectation that you must speak Yoruba. In a way, I think after the Ibadan experience, I developed a thicker skin to be able to deal with that anywhere I went.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:27:32]:

And when I referenced being in the outsider, even moving schools, for a young person, it's a big thing no matter what this and then to add the layer of a new region and then.

Raphael Harry [00:27:43]:

A new language, especially moving from private schools to public school. I mean, the private schools were like the largest class was about 40, 45 students, which I still remember. But the first class I attended, the first class that was put in Ibadan, they had over 70 students. Wow. And I was like, one classroom was 70. The teacher know who's in this class?

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:28:15]:

I know. And what age were you?

Raphael Harry [00:28:20]:

Because I finished high school at age 18, so I was 15, about a turn 16 when I arrived there.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:28:31]:

Wow. Okay, so take me forward. So you mentioned starting to apply for your visa, which where were you headed at that point?

Raphael Harry [00:28:40]:

My mom and my brother were already over here. My elder brother was born here. He was born in I always mix it up, kentucky or Kansas. I know.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:28:50]:

Okay. I think people from there would say that's a little bit of mileage in between and a little bit of difference. Okay, just go talk to the family and confirm.

Raphael Harry [00:29:00]:

That one of my weaknesses, the way that K so Melda Bro was born here. My elder sister was born in Ghana, so I was the only person born in Nigeria. And when my mom decided to my mom had a green card since the she decided to move back to the United States in the Think just after the USA 94 World Cup, and she left. So it was like, oh, you're going to join your mother in like one year. That's what I was told. Maybe that became two years. And then that came three years. And then it kept going and going. So she had started the application and then apparently either immigration or the ambassador, whoever reached out to her about a new visa program that they had where if I was under the age of 21, it's kind of expedited for those under the age of 21. So she switched me to that. Excuse me. And I got called for an interview the first time and I thought, yeah, this is it. I'm getting my visa. This was like probably 2001 or 2002, either 2001 or two. And I showed up and they're like, oh, your brother is the sponsor, your mom is the applicant. The sponsor is supposed to be the applicant. One person is supposed to do both for your visa.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:30:38]:


Raphael Harry [00:30:38]:

So if I could go bring legal documents showing why two people were on my application, then I will get my visa. All right? So I let them know and my mom said, okay, they'll go to court and all that and they went through all that. But I don't think she was aware that the age of 21 meant age of 21. Exactly. I can be a day older than 21. So by the time she got the documents given, the judge made a ruling that my brother could be the sponsor and my mom could be the applicant. And I took documents to the embassy. My bed day was in May and I went in June or July, end of June. So I got to the embassy and the embassy is like a whole day thing. But you have to be there like 07:00 a.m., you can't bring in food or anything. So you prepare to fast the whole day and by the time you get to the final part of the embassy, it's like between four and 05:00 p.m.. And when I get up there, gentleman is like, how old are you? I said, 21. But when was your birthday? I said, May say yeah, I can't give you a visa. I was like, what? What I do wrong now? Said, no, you didn't do not anything wrong, but you just brought the forms after your 21st birthday. I don't understand. So he now explained to me what it was and I was like, oh. So yeah, I was depressed. Just went home and fell asleep till midnight because my cousins were worried he passed away or what. So got to eat food, get my food. I was like, no, I'm not talking to nobody. I was just pissed off. And by the time I spoke to my mom, my uncle came to see me and he was like talking to me. Don't even think about suicide. I was like, Wait, I wasn't going that route. I was depressed. But yeah, not that depressed. So they had to reapply again and I got denied second time. I can't remember what the second reason was. And it was about until 2004 my mom visited no, 2005 my mom visited and we both went to the embassy together. And was then they were like, oh, they. Needed to see photos for each year from my date of birth to present day for every year. I was like, I wasn't taking photos all the time. It's not like today where you have oh, I know. Then you had to go pay a photographer to take a photo. So I was going to be doing that. They needed photos. Otherwise, to them, it was like I probably had gone overseas. And all the time I said I was in Nigeria, they wanted to see proof that was in Nigeria. So the photo album is like, one way they could tell that could still be fixed. But yeah. So I brought out the photos that I had I could find from all my uncles, aunts, everybody donated photos. And they looked at it and they're like, yeah, it's still not enough, so we need a DNA test. She was here going back to America. Initially, the very first application started 1999.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:34:16]:


Raphael Harry [00:34:16]:

And then got rejected 2002. And then by 2006, 2006, they called for the DNA test and reached out. My mom, they said they had a procedure to go through. And then after she had done her test, then I had to go to a clinic in Lagos approved by the embassy, which is another big amount of money they take from you. But, yeah, I spent a lot of money because now because by then, I was living in Potaco, so I was coming all the way from Potaco to Lagos. Every time I go to embassy, we get the DNA test done. By the time everything is completed, it's 2007. And I finally show up for my final interview, and I've been there the whole day again. And I remember the immigration agent asking me, so have you been outside of Nigeria all this time? I said no. And he's like, Are you married? I said, for what? Why would I be married? He's like, oh, handsome gentleman, like, you might have a wife already. Later on, I understand why I asked that question, in case I wanted to bring someone with me. And I was like, no, I'm not married. I don't have anybody. But if you have somebody that you want to hook me up with, I'm available. And he started laughing. He just stamped my passport.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:35:47]:

We went through things together, my husband, but it doesn't come close to what you're describing, the ten years. But I still go past Javits, the federal building down there in Twitch, because when people say your wedding, the happiest they know is when they what you're gesturing here is stamping. I can see it because I have stories around that stamp coming out of it.

Raphael Harry [00:36:08]:

The embassy, even the police, because you're not allowed to bring in, like, a backpack. But already documents are required by the embassy because it was raining, and for some reason, I wore white parents that morning. So I left home, like, 05:00 A.m., because getting to the embassy is like the other part of Lagos. And so I prepared and was like, oh, it's raining now. So I needed a backpack that was waterproof to protect the documents. So now they won't allow me to bring my backpack to the embassy. So I had to go to the security checkpoint, which is the police officers who are at the embassy. And when you go there and you give them your bag, it does not matter if you get a visa or not. Those guys are going to want money from you after you're done. So when I showed up, the officers, he looked at me, one of them looked at me. I was like, this one already got his visa. Look at his face. We got his visa already. So you're going to leave us now? I say, hell, yeah. The way you've been treating us, are you going to give us something before you leave? I was like, you know what? Let me see how much I won't have. I won't even eat him today. I don't have enough to take me home. Here you go. Take give my bag. Took my bag. And it's like, you all need to change. Change. My voice became louder.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:37:24]:

You're always teaching no matter where you're going. Okay, so take me forward because I just want to make the listeners hear the next installment. And where did you go first in the States?

Raphael Harry [00:37:35]:


Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:37:36]:


Raphael Harry [00:37:36]:

I arrived at Dallas Airport. Should have listened to my mom. She told me that I arrived in November well, I left Nigeria on October 31, and I arrived on November 1, 2007. And she told me the weather is cold. And I looked up the weather forecast. I was only looking at the numbers and the degrees. Said it was the same as Lagos. I was like a swap. Why is she freaking out about the cold? It's not that cold. So I put on a light cardigan that I had, and I only had one checking. I only had one bag with me. And I showed up at the airport. When I came out of the arrival area, my mom saw me and she was like, you this boy. I told you to wear a winter jacket. Anyway, I prepared for you because I knew you weren't listening. So she brought an extra that looks like old people's jacket. She's like, if you didn't want to wait, you should have brought yours. So I was like, I don't even need it. It's not cold. She's like, have you been outside? I said no. And as soon as we stepped outside the building, the very first whiff of the wind touched me, and I was like, Whoa. Bye. I'm going back to Nigeria. That is the cold.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:38:53]:

Absolutely. Fahrenheit versus Celtic. Big difference.

Raphael Harry [00:38:56]:

Yeah, big difference.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:38:57]:

Okay, so you went to Virginia. Did you live there?

Raphael Harry [00:39:00]:

Yes, I lived in Reston for a little bit, and later I was still a family friend at Great Falls.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:39:09]:


Raphael Harry [00:39:09]:

And bounds between resting great Falls and Oakton before deciding. I think I just joined the Navy because I wasn't sure about where my living situation will be and the job opportunities that were available. A lot of the Nigerian community there were into nursing, taking care of senior citizens and all that. I was like, yeah, that's not a bad job, but I can't do it. I'm not comfortable walking in a hospital. So, yeah, as a nurse, no, I mean, I'm not scared of blood, but I didn't like going into hospitals.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:39:53]:

So tell me about that, because joining the service does an implied thing that you're signing up, this is your new place of residence. But to say that I'm willing to put my life on the line for the country, should I be asked to, it's quite an incredible gift and a responsibility and decision. Were you thinking about that at the time, or you just thought, they were going?

Raphael Harry [00:40:15]:

To be honest, I did not even consider that.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:40:18]:


Raphael Harry [00:40:18]:

What I was thinking about was I wanted to go to college. And when I spoke to the recruiter, finally, the navy recruiter, because at first I was thinking of going to the army, and my mom freaked out when she heard that I wanted to join the army because I'm the last child in the family. And I guess an android community has this thing where they think that, oh, everybody who's in the army or an immigrant, you automatically go into Iraq or Afghanistan. So, yeah, she's like, oh, they're going to put you in the war front. You've been in battle. You want to kill me because, you know, if you die, I'll just die, too. So she was complaining and reporting me to all family members, and my uncle, who was a major general in the Ghanaian army, called me and was like, I don't see the problem, but would you like something else? I was like, I don't know. And a cousin who was in the navy now offered navy, like, just tell her you'll be on the boat. She doesn't know that sailors gas station in Afghanistan, too, but she just look at it, that you're on a boat, you're on the water, you're an Egyptian, which is our tribe. Eja people are River Rhine. Anyway, so she would be like, okay, that's comfortable. So when I spoke to the novel and I asked my cousin, like, okay, I bet I want to go to college without his help. That will work. He sold me like he was a recruiter to sold me a good package. And so by the time I talked to the recruiter, it was the same thing. I mentioned college. He said, yeah, give us four years of your life, and we'll give you four years of college. How's that sound? Okay, fair deal.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:41:55]:

Then I'm laughing about the Navy because I think before we had the podcast, we were chatting in the hallway, and I mentioned my husband grew up in this neighborhood of Park Slope for a while. He moved here as a child, but when he joined the services in World War II, he was the youngest, and he joined the Navy, he said, because the food looked better for what he heard from his brothers, and it was a lot cleaner. So I thought, that works. That's where he made the big decision. And he got to travel a little bit as a very young lad. So tell me about it. So you went to the Navy, and I met you not too soon after you left the Navy, too. So what were some of the compelling experiences there? That really some lessons about our country.

Raphael Harry [00:42:39]:

I think it began during basic training. So having 80 young men in the same compartment living together, sleeping together, showering together from all over the country and from literally all over the world because there are a bunch of immigrants in there, too, I began to have an idea of American society. Because there are people who I met there who are like this is their first time meeting a black person and then this is their first time meeting a black person who is African. So some had questions that made sense, like curious questions, which were sensible, in my opinion, but there are others who just the usual stereotypical, oh, do you guys chase lions? Do giraffes walk into your house? And all that. But at the same time, I met people from, like I remember one of my shipmates. He was from South Carolina, and his country accent was so strong. And I used to always like, what are you saying? And he's like, I can't understand a single word you're saying. Too well, we became friends by not understanding each other. When we could finally figure out what the other person was saying, he was telling me about his upbringing, and how he was disciplined at home. And I thought that's similar to the way I was being beat up, too, as a kid. And he was like, oh, they do that too. And you meet someone from Alaska who was like panicking because he had never been around so many people, and it was just a whole melting pot. And I guess that was my beginning. I consider that my first introduction to American society, just being in that compartment and meeting different people, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You saw them all in there, and from there decided, okay, this is who I'm going to be cool with if I want to talk to people outside of my own box because I could have just talked to all of the immigrants because we had a good bunch in there. But I also spoke there was a guy who got demoted. He was, like two months ahead of us, but he kept getting into trouble, and he got sent to our division. And the first day he arrived, he saw me ironing, and I don't, like, iron my outfit. So he was like, oh, can I help you with that? And I said, sure. And later somebody came to me, black ship meat, and was like, why are you talking to that racist? And I was like, he's a racist, but he wants to eye on my uniform for me and shine my boots. He loves doing that. So I'm not going to argue that he can be a racist if he wants. As far as he keeps my uniform looking good, I'm fine with that. He was just an ignorant sports child who came from money he had never seen the way he never sees the world outside of that box of privilege that he was in. So we ended up being roommates in the same barracks later on in the Navy. And I was there for him as much as I could. But, yeah, he still got kicked out of the Navy because he just couldn't stop getting into trouble. So all those little things like seeing that could talk to people, and people could talk to me, and I could like, oh, okay. There's a whole lot of that we have in common, but we just have the artificial walls that separate us. I guess basic training started what was like the first time I started removing some of the walls around me so I could reach out to other people and people could reach out to me because even when the first time the guy came to me, I was like, hey, man, I want to kill a lion. I have big hands. And I was like, okay, I don't know what you want me to say, but he's like, well, I want you to take me to Nigeria. Tell me where the lions are so I can kill the lion. I was like, okay, you just buy the ticket, then we go, and I'll go drink my beer. You buy beer for me. I'll sit down, drinking my beer, and I'll point, go straight, make a left, and whatever. And then whenever the lions are done with you, I call the embassy. I guess there's one dumb kid who's probably dead now.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:47:11]:

Oh, my goodness. So with that, tell me, you moved around the country. So you were in Virginia after this. Did you sell in Texas?

Raphael Harry [00:47:20]:

I was mostly stationed in Virginia until I moved to the Kingdom of Bark Rain, and I arrived there just as Arab Spring was happening.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:47:30]:


Raphael Harry [00:47:31]:

I got to experience Arab Spring over there.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:47:34]:


Raphael Harry [00:47:35]:

And that was also another place that changed me for who I am because I still held a lot of even though there are lots of Muslims in Nigeria, and every city I lived in had Muslim neighbors, and I was cool. Most of them actually had many stereotypes against the Middle Eastern Muslims being in Bahrain and during the Arab Spring and getting to talk to Shiites and Sunnis, and we were not at a club. They were buying me drinks and we won't bring up the topic to bring up Israel. And they wanted to talk. That's the thing. They wanted to talk and they talked. And at the end, I discovered that they didn't have an issue with an Israeli, but was the government that had an issue with it. And they were explaining all that to me, and I was like, no. I don't know why I had this misconception about you guys, but I was glad I was there. And I did what I did because sometimes I had to go into places I wasn't supposed to go into. But that's like an experience that I always cherish, being in Bahrain because I started doing away with a whole lot of the first time I met a transgender person who was also in Bahrain. And that's when I realized that there were a whole bunch of transgender people in the Middle East. And I was like, I never would have thought about something like that, because I'm, like, does not affect me. But being at a party where already taking photos with the celebrant, I didn't want to ask her, Are you a transgender woman or not? Until someone told me that she was a transgender woman. Yeah, we overreacted and left the party not long after that. But later on, thinking about it, I was like, Why did we even leave the party? We're having a good time. Nobody tried to force themselves on anybody. They just want to leave. They are human beings like us. So what's the issue? So after that, it's like, yeah, if I met, I knew someone was openly gay. And when I invite him to parties, there are some sellers who spoke to me, like, Why did you invite this guy? Well, he wanted the girls to come and say, well, he's a friend of the girls, so he has to be here too. But if he wanted to give me a hug, I wasn't afraid to give a gay person a hug. All those things much earlier in my life, I probably would have hey, back up, back up. Don't come close to me kind of thing. But in Barring was where I began to lose that mindset of being not reminded and say, yeah, what exactly is why am I putting up a wall between myself and someone who's transgender or gay? Or what's this fear about? Why don't I get to know the person just like a person? Like, the same way I've gotten to know people who yeah, I've known people who are racist. And I'm like, we're not going to be best of friends, but even though one of them said I changed his opinion, and I said, Well, I hope you give other black people the chance to change your opinion too. But if I could tolerate people who do not like someone of my skin color, then why is there somebody who's gay? I'll now be saying oh, no, I'm drawing the line here. I don't think many people go to the Middle East to come out with that mindset. But that's what happened to me. I discovered a lot of people liked everybody. It's just that their system doesn't allow them to be open about it. They have heterosexual relationships and they have relationships with gay people, too. So it's all going on there. And if I hadn't been there, I wouldn't have believed if someone told me.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:51:27]:

So two words came up for me when I was listening. And you wrote about fear. You said about fear, like, when somebody meets somebody that's not like them, a lot of times we bring our assumptions, or worse, fears and concerns and project it. And I think what you described to us and to me right now is that you took the time to just be personal and take people as individuals first and learned. Yeah. So now with your podcast, I hate the word goals because it sounds so, like, structured, but what are some things you're hoping will come up? Like, whether it's an audience, whether it's a change. Is there any, as you move forward and you keep doing this, aspirations that you have that you'd like to see happening?

Raphael Harry [00:52:23]:

I would love to see more people hear from me, and be willing to give others a chance. Like, just listen to someone who you haven't met or you haven't interacted with and see how much you have in common with them, and then decide if you want to take it out from there. Because I know a few years ago, I probably wrote on Facebook after reading an article or two about the treatment of Christians in Pakistan, and I did not like the way they were being treated. And I was like, I can't stand this country of Pakistan, maybe nuke this country, say something like that. But I didn't even consider that. If I'm nuking the country, what about the Pakistani Christians and the other minorities who are there? That didn't occur to me. But it's just because a few people were doing this. I just let emotion get over me. And if I now use that mindset from that article that I read to say all Pakistanis are like this, there's a friend that I have who's Pakistani, he's in Pakistan and he's an atheist. How would we have been able to talk if I had painted all Pakistanis in that blanket without one of the brushes? Like, they are like this. You all hate anybody who's not Muslim. And through the 80s, I've met Muslim Pakistanis who do not hold that, who are not fanatics. And it's the same thing with other religions. Found fanatics everywhere. Christians, I grew up in Nigeria, and fanatics all around. Maybe my family still has fanatics. The first time I learned how to hit was true Christianity. So I believe if people listen to this show and see someone from a country, oh, I've never had met someone from this country I never heard from, somebody from this country who's not like a celebrity of not the biggest name. It's an ordinary person telling you their experience, their journey. Maybe they were just willing to listen and change some of their opinions and be open-minded, be like the sponge, and just soak it in. Because it's all about learning. Because for me, it's about learning from each and every guest that comes on the show. I learn something from them because even the countries that I know fairly a lot about, like Ghana, which I have a lot of my family from, when I had a guest from Ghana who I had on the show, well, I released the episode later on. I haven't released the episode yet. When he told me stuff about his tribe and his region, I was not aware of that. So I could have claimed, yeah, I know everything about Ghana, but no, even Nigeria, I don't know everything about Nigeria because there are over 300 ethnic groups, so there are still groups that I don't know anything about their history, I don't know anything about their culture. I don't know anything other than just what's being put out there. So hearing from the individual directly involved, directly affected, directly from the culture, I believe changes a whole lot of things. And the goal is for people to be willing to lend, and hopefully, it will change people that way. When they hear from them, I'm like, oh, maybe I've been doing something wrong, and be willing to hold themselves accountable and say, okay, maybe I was wrong about this person, I was wrong about these people. Or maybe I won't just paint the whole country as everybody here is bad, everybody here is this, everybody has that, or blame the individuals in the country for the leadership of the country, like the government of the country, what they are doing. It's like putting the sins of the father on the children, even though if a child is just a baby, what's the gain? They don't really gain anything.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [00:56:43]:

I have an expression when I do coaching and teaching side-by-side conversations. And it comes from, as I said, my father's, Brooklyn, and I grew up in Queens, where he had stoops what we call the front steps in the house. It's an old Dutch word that even though we change everything in New York, we kept a few words and still use them in certain neighborhoods. And it's side-by-side conversations. And I think one of the things that you created is the ability for somebody who's not sitting with us or sitting in another location where maybe there's not a lot of diversity. Maybe there are people that look like them. Sound like they have always lived in those areas that they can visit through the power of turning in, you know, to this podcast and listening and finding out more about another country. And I like the fact, and I appreciate it because it's something that doesn't always get spoken out loud. The fact you were saying you're prepared to be wrong and change assumptions. And I think that's a big step that we all need to realize. So we have a lot going on in our head that's human. Sometimes it's embedded in how we were raised. But if we can just stop and pause and also do as we're also used to saying queens a do-over. If we have the ability to say like, that didn't work, or That was not going to do anything for ourselves or others, I think you're posing in the right direction. One of your colleagues who wrote to you said, maybe there are two questions actually very similar. How do you approach fatherhood as an African American living in African immigrant, I should say, living in the United States? And how has your perspective changed since you've had a child about this mission you're on part and parcel of it, or is it?

Raphael Harry [00:58:44]:

Raising a child? Yeah, discovery is expensive. That's one of the first things I learned. Well, I'm glad I did not rush into fatherhood. I kind of waited until yeah, technically I wasn't even going to have kids until I was like, yeah, at one stage in my life I was like, I'm never interested in having kids. But at the same time, I was also pushing for a better education system for the kids and more arts and sciences, more programs for children to be available for children. Even when I didn't have a child or was dreaming of having a child, I always used to be about those things. I think there were already steps being taken on my part that by the time it came to be that, oh, I'm having a child, I didn't really have to do much of an adjustment because I already held certain views and said I did not want my daughter raised. I didn't know I was having a girl then, but I found out on the day she was born. But I was of the opinion that I was not going to raise my daughter, my child the same way I was raised. As in the lack of transparency that I'll be as transparent as possible with my child. So I don't think one needs to be an immigrant or not to have a policy like that with their children. Because my goal is to end my child's respect. Apply that rule, I tell everyone it does not matter. Even when I was in the Navy, you still had to end my respect. Just because you are of a higher ranked and didn't mean I automatically had to respect you. So for my child, it does not mean just because I'm the dad, she's bound to respect me. I'm fine if I'm not doing the right things if I'm not giving her the right protection or guidance, and if she decides, yeah, you're not doing it, right? Okay, fine, that's fine. But she will be an independent person, and that has always been my belief before even I decided I would have a child. So, yeah, I didn't really have to change much on that aspect. The second question was what was the second question again?

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:01:28]:

I have to look here. Let's see. I think it's about how you've changed your opinion. I have to find I'm sorry, I was so busy listening to you, I lost my place here.

Raphael Harry [01:01:40]:

That's okay.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:01:42]:

But I can switch gears and take over since I'm the host, and say, do you have certain expressions you use? You find yourself repeating maybe some of the expressions your elders had way back when, and saying, I'll never say that. And then you're like, oh, my God, I said it ten times in one day.

Raphael Harry [01:02:00]:

I think she's too young for me to go that route.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:02:02]:

Okay, so she's got time.

Raphael Harry [01:02:05]:

Yeah. Things that have changed, I think I am more patient, and it's something that I hope stays with me. So, yeah, she's been able to throw tantrums every now and then, and I'm willing to okay, I rock you, rock you out of that tantrum, or be there. But yeah, I think patience is the main thing that has changed with me, because sometimes, as I said earlier, I can be blunt with, no, I'm not down with this, and just walk away. But with my child, she's a baby. She doesn't know any better right now. So, yeah, I have to put on a whole lot of responsibilities. I'm a veteran with certain disabilities, and sometimes it's like I just want to lay down and just lay down, switch off the lights when some of the issues come up. But at the same time, my daughter needs to have cared for, and she just wants only me. So I'm like, okay, yeah, I've been able to juggle that and not allow the disabilities or the issues. Health issues disturb me, where I'm able to take care of, be there for, and then I can make way to rest. So, yeah, being patient is the main thing that I've embraced. And then at the same time, I would say I am more aware of other parents' struggles. Yes. Even if they are following. I won't say a path. I would say maybe their parenting style might not be the way I would choose to go or the way I abide by, but I kind of respect them and give them their space. As far as I don't it's not like they are abusing a child or something like that. It might be different, but I just allow each and every parent I respect everybody. Before I said I might have wanted to make a comment or two, but now people are just getting mad over parents who are not going by the exact playbook of what parenting should be. We don't really know the situation. You don't really know. Why the person is doing this or that? If I can't invest the time to know the reasoning behind such, then I'm not going to throw myself into that outreach culture of someone else's parenting style.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:04:58]:

So I'm going to project myself into your listening audience for a while because you shared she's little baby right now. So I'm sure there are a few people out there to say, wait till she has opinions. So you're going to probably have to schedule a follow-up interview with me in a couple of years. What do you think? Maybe in three years, she's daddy's girl definitely she might be here voicing.

Raphael Harry [01:05:24]:

Her giving her own opinions back.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:05:27]:

I think you'll have to do a follow-up podcast about that segment. I think it's also interesting too, like having to grow up in immigrant communities and first generations where you're not my expression is you're not entirely from here when you're first generation, but you don't belong to the other place. But it's just such a blend. And I noticed, like, my husband here for a few years, the relationship with his country changed when your parents are no longer with you or it just keeps evolving, that relationship with your homeland and then with the newer communities, like, who do you belong to? And you're a bit of everything, basically. In the influences, do you see yourself changing perspectives or your relationships.

Raphael Harry [01:06:15]:

Based on the Nigerian style of things? I was one of those people used to always throw this at me, that I was not behaving like somebody from here that is from Nigeria, based on some views that I had way before I left Nigeria, which was all tied to holding people in power accountable. But some preferred who only hold a government official who wasn't from their tribe accountable. And if it's their own tribal person in charge, then they look the other way. And I was always like, we want to move forward and then either we hold everybody accountable or we go separate ways as a country and be what we were before the British came and put us together as one country. Now that I've been away from Nigeria for some time, and there are some people who've only known me outside of my time in Nigeria, some assume that, oh, it's because I left Nigeria that my viewpoint changed. And I'm like, no, I'm still on the accountability part because I started it without even realizing that the world was accountability I was looking for. But that's the idea I used to have back then. Sometimes there are some Nigerian friends who do not appreciate certain comments that I make when it comes to whoever they are supporting for the political office, because I will ask questions and I'm not going to say, oh, because I don't like the current person in charge. I don't feel he's doing a good enough job, that we should go bring someone from the opposition who might be of worse character in comparison to this person. And you all are like, oh, but back, like, ten years ago, you did not want to touch this guy. You guys had issues with this guy, but just because you hit this other person right now, you're like, Anybody would do. Anybody. I'm like, no, what happened to all the questions that we had about this person? So sometimes people don't like hearing that. And when they hear that, they're like, oh, because you're in America. America has changed. You've become Americanized now. You've told me a white man come on to Nigerians throw at me. And I'm like, okay, if that's what you feel, then why would you complain tomorrow about the government? Tomorrow is still going to come complain. And then in my inbox, you'll be complaining, but on my Facebook, you come attack me, like, oh, you don't support the country anymore. You're not patriotic. I'm like, yeah, patriotism was something that I gave up on that word a long time ago, because when I realized that even here, there are people who call themselves patriots, and it's like, as far as I can oppress other people, then I'm a patriot. And I'll say, that's it. I don't want to be a patriot. I don't want to be considered one. That way, I'm not interested in being referred to as a patriot. Same thing with Nigeria. So I don't know what it's going to be like for my daughter, though, because she has Nigerian, German, and American, so she navigate that.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:09:34]:

She has a good support system, and it sounds like your wife are good champions and great structure. So with that, is there a model you live by or certain quotes that you always hold close to you that you always remind yourself or use during your days and working?

Raphael Harry [01:09:56]:

I'll say the closest to a model for me is, well, there's two. But I have a quote that's separate from the motto, but for the motto, it's okay to take a pause.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:10:17]:

Okay to take a pause. It's okay to take what does that mean for you? So people don't read.

Raphael Harry [01:10:26]:

I might be on Twitter, see a tweet from we know who's like, number one tweeting, commander in Chief that way.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:10:38]:


Raphael Harry [01:10:38]:

And as the people going mad and everything and respond immediately, and I'm like, if everybody just did not bother to respond, he loses power with that tweet. And at first, I used to be like, oh, mad. I was responding, posting every article like, how dare you say this? How dare you say that? At the end of the day, what exactly am I changing by just jumping into everything like that? And sometimes I want articles that we don't even read the article. We just see the headline, which they're doing a lot of it nowadays because every media house online needs readers. It's a clickbait thing. So you just see a headline, and then this person is canceled automatically. But if there was a 2 hours interview and they just put one line, one sentence as a headline to grab your attention. Sometimes I'm like, yeah. So I got to a stage. There's two other podcasts that I listen to a lot. One is cultural land. It's a soccer based podcast on Italian that covers Italian football. And the other one is on the black guy who tips. And they both have talked about sometimes it's okay not to even respond. Sometimes it's okay to just sit back. If someone attacks you, they throw some crazy comments at you online. When this age, there are people who actually feed off that. It's a drive for them. And when you start responding, well, at the end of the day, a neutral person sees both your comments and they're like, yeah, these two are not matured people, so you lose out. There's no winner in doing such. So I've done that a lot. I got mad. How dare you say this to me? Blah, blah, start throwing insults and all that. But I just realized that it's okay to take a pause. That's okay. Someone comes and launches an assault tantrum on my Facebook. You don't like what I posted, you can just say, oh, I don't like this because of that. Give a reason. But if you just start with insult, okay, your opinion has been had. I'll do what Ezra Klein says. Is that so? That's it. So yeah, I'll take a pause and sometimes I just look at them. I'm not even wasting my time responding to this person. I just move on.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:13:11]:

One of the things you provide because you mentioned about one and of many who are looking to invoke anger and hate and so many things in this country right now and in other places. The fact that I think the great gift you're giving to everybody is you're giving us other things to listen to and hear that are positive. Like, there's a lot of talk about how horrible social media is, but there's a lot of good stories that get shared, a lot of good historical information, a lot of honoring of incredible young people and older people's achievements, a lot of doing good where people are going beyond they're hiding in plain sight. There's always been people giving a lot. And I think that raising our awareness and spending some of our energies on that, I think is a better use of our time and doing the right thing by each other and doing what you're saying, sitting with people and explaining why certain things matter and taking the time to listen to perspectives, even though sometimes hard to listen to and uncomfortable. But I think that's an important message. We're saying that we have a responsibility to do that and take advantage of that. So any final words for your listeners about what you'd like happening and doing?

Raphael Harry [01:14:36]:

Before I get to the final word, I like this quote from James Baldwin. It says, ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. I just love that quote and I know it means different things to different people, but I also use that to remind myself how ignorant I've been and I still am in many ways. So it's not an issue of I think nowadays I don't do a lot of putting the shining the light on others. I've shined light on myself first. I hold myself accountable because it has to begin with you without me looking at myself and then seeing the change where change needs to happen in myself before thinking of changing orders. So I had to admit that was ignorant and I had to admit that it's not the best thing that can happen for me moving forward. And I started doing away with a lot of the things that made me ignorant. So I guess that's why I love sharing that. As for going forward, there's a lot of new there are plans coming up for the show, there are targets when it comes to guests that include some big names and usual. So there are going to be panels, there's going to be a lot of surprises. But I wasn't sure at first if I could pull this off and I've been impressed by the show of support. The other day I got a poem. Someone sent me a poem. He saw the flyer for the podcast and the gentleman said he's one of the DACA recipients and he had a poem, which he had written a long time ago, that we are all human. And he sent me the poem and it was beautiful to read. And I posted it on the Facebook and Instagram pages of the podcast and it was just an interaction. Like that is something that I wasn't expecting to receive. But at the moment that poem came in, it was inspiring. Yeah, and it gave me ideas too. So there will be more stuff that they have, that stuff that I'm working on to make the show more exciting and to increase the amount of knowledge that we get from. And some guests will be coming back for their second episode. Because I did not get to cover all the topics, I wanted to cover the first episode. So, yeah, be on the lookout, keep the five star ratings coming in and the reviews and keep sharing everywhere and yeah, we'll keep getting better.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:17:45]:

Well, it's been a gift. It's the greatest present I could have. And I think you and I today are an example of showing up because when you let me know what you were doing, it was until the next day or so and I was like, wait a minute, I do storytelling and interviewing for a living. Why not come and have a conversation? So thanks for being so generous with your time and letting me do what I do love to do. And I think sharing your story, showing up and listening, I think are the three messages we can take away from and keep it up. This is exciting and thank you letting be part of it. All the best to you.

Raphael Harry [01:18:24]:

Thank you, Jill, for coming on the show. And thank you for being the host today. I had a good time as a guest. Every guest who's been on the show, they always say that, oh, it's my first time being a guest and I love to do this again. So, yeah, I love to do it again, too.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:18:39]:

I'll take you up on it. That's the promise. Okay. You were an excellent guest.

Raphael Harry [01:18:43]:

Thank you.

Juliane Ryan aka Jules [01:18:44]:

Thank you.

Raphael Harry [01:18:45]:

All right. Thank you, everyone, for listening to this episode. Look forward to hearing from you all and keep the love coming in and wishing you all a great and fantastic 2020 because we are in a new year. Thank you, everybody. Thanks for listening to White Label American. If you enjoyed the show, we'll appreciate if you rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. Wherever you get your podcast from, if you have any questions, or comments, or have someone who will be a good guest on the show or you want to be on the show, send us a message at whitelabelamerican@gmail.com and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at white label american. Thank you for your support.

Julienne B RyanProfile Photo

Julienne B Ryan

Author/ Narrative Storyteller/ Keynote Speaker / Facilitator / Coach/

Julienne B. Ryan is a renowned keynote speaker, narrative storyteller, and coach of J. Ryan Partners. With her humorous, engaging, and growth-oriented approach, Julienne has successfully built strong human connections and communications skills with clients and audiences around the world.

Her latest book, The Learned-It-In Queens Playbook, is now available in bookstores and online. This inspiring work explores the power of working together, finding joy in every moment, and reaching your full potential. Get your copy today to experience Julienne’s inspiring narrative firsthand!