Words by Cassidy Blackwell
Photography by Nolis Anderson
Whether you’re looking for the latest Scandal conspiracy, desperately seeking an online Twitter Card tutorial or simply trolling the latest and greatest trending #hashtag, chances are you’ve found yourself enjoying yourself some Luvvie.
Founder of the blog AwesomelyLuvvie, Luvvie Ajayi has become a prominent voice of the global black community. “She’s sort of a talking head in a good way. Whenever I want to hear an opinion on a hot issue, I always go to her feeds to see what she has to say,” says an LA-based fan. While on the surface, it’s easy to categorize AwesomelyLuvvie as a humor blog or a pop culture satirist, but her work and passion extends much further into the realm of technology, activism and the development of a globally informed community.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Luvvie moved to the US when she was 9. “The transition to the US was total culture shock,” Luvvie says. “I even taught myself how to speak without an accent because other kids would make fun of me.” The conversation quickly shifts to the award-winning book Americanah, a fictional story of a Nigerian immigrant documenting her navigation of American culture. “That book IS my story,” Luvvie exclaims. “I’m obsessed with it.” As an African-born black person, Luvvie explains that there exists a contentious relationship between African Americans and Africans living in the states. “We have a lot of stereotypes that we hold of each other and we really need to have a tough conversation,” Luvvie says. “There are people who ask me if I had lions in my backyard in Africa. I also think Africans need to be more understanding of what slavery has done to African Americans. I really see myself as a bridge between the two cultures.”
Luvvie founded her blog, AwesomelyLuvvie in 2006, where it has since become a platform for not only discussions about police brutality, but also a place to go in on the more humorous items on the interwebs. For some, Luvvie’s words have become synonymous with her weekly Scandal recaps and for others a go-to for an annual list of the Dumbest Tweets. A quick perusal on AwesomelyLuvvie could potentially leave you in tears (see: “Why Does Kale Taste Like Dreams Deferred?“). “Oh all my foolery?” Luvvie asks in response to where she gets her humor from. “Me and my friends have always been this way. It’s innate foolery. Maybe I was born with it, maybe it’s foolery.”
“You don’t have to be a geek or a nerd to be a techie. Technology is power.”
In 2009 Luvvie started the Red Pump Project, a philanthropic endeavor focused on raising awareness of and funds for AIDS. “We chose red pumps because they’re an accessible symbol for women around the world,” Luvvie says. The project, whose major aim is to empower women around the world to be safe, hosts work shops and events with their teams in six different cities around the country including NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, Charlotte and Dallas.
As a blogger who grew and managed her own property, Luvvie decided she needed a place to share all of her technology learnings and experience. “I’m an early adopter of everything and I love teaching people,” Luvvie says. “You don’t have to be a geek or a nerd to be a techie. Technology is power.” AwesomelyTechie is now a go-to resource for tech and social media tips.
In a blogging career that spans over twelve years, Luvvie names a recent experience at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon as a highlight. “I went up to both Lupita and Shonda Rhimes and they both knew who I was and told me how much they loved my work,” Luvvie says with a smile.
When it comes to personal style and grooming, Luvvie believes that being authentic is key. From her head, where she wears a distinctive and well-manicured set of locs, down to her feet, which are wearing a pair of hightop sneakers embroidered with the outline of Africa, to her winter accessories that are her signature red color, it’s clear that she embodies her belief in the way she presents herself. “I just like to be myself and be comfortable, that’s why sometimes I’m up in the club looking like somebody’s chaperone in a blazer.”
Although Luvvie has built a multi-property blogging network and massive social media following, she still has plans to continue building and growing. She is currently in the process of writing a book and just finished her first TED talk at Columbia College in Chicago.
Luvvie’s sense of voice online is strikingly similar to how she speaks offline, a skill that only some of the most talented media personalities possess. “For me it’s about consistency. It’s just easier to be one person.” Luvvie is so deeply entrenched in sharing her authentic sense of self, her website even has a glossary to explain all of her most-used buzzwords. So it makes perfect sense that following our interview she’s headed over to Macy’s to pick up a pair of shoes that say “I CAN’T”, one of her most used phrases. “These shoes are so necessary for me to own. I can’t not have them,” she says.