Express You: Safe Spaces at The Naked Convos

What is The Naked Convos?
Sometimes, being different is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The Naked Convos provides a space for young Africans to have honest discussions about the things important to them. A winner of multiple Black Weblog Awards in 2013, The Naked Convos encourages youth to get engaged in conversations about life, community, society, and everything else that comes to their minds.

The Naked Convo also offers an app for Android and Blackberry to keep readers connected, as well as e-mail notifications for readers’ favorite authors and categories. TNC makes a clear effort to keep readers connected and engaged, with vigorous comment sections full of deep discussion and impassioned debate.

Information and Emotion
The Naked Convos combines fiction and op-ed pieces to give youth a place to speak out, and to report on news that matters to their readers; entertainment, social issues, and cultural commentary all come together in the columns to provide a picture of what matters to African youth. And in the fiction section, works of concrete and abstract poetry and prose alike come together to speak to the emotions of youth who need a venue for expression.

Column articles come with comment sections full of vigorous and impassioned discussion, but it’s in the fiction section that TNC becomes a real community, with outpourings of love and support for pieces that put their authors emotionally out on a limb. In a world where being different can make life harder than it has to be, deep acceptance from a community of peers can make all the difference to a young author.

One of the worst things young people can do for themselves is be silent. Solving the problems that matter to young people requires that their voices be heard. For young Africans, the challenge is to be heard over the roar of countries with more political power; when you’re in a world where you’re considered “less than,” it’s hard to have your opinion heard clearly. But that doesn’t mean that African youth should stop trying.

The Naked Convos has released an anthology of short stories taken from the side’s collective. These Words Expose Us: An Anthology has been hailed as a “powerful” and “timely” collection of tales. And by giving voice to young Africans and their culture, TNC is taking a definitive step toward challenging global stereotypes about young Africans and their cultures and values. The title says it all: the culture of a people is exposed through the stories they tell. And based on the content on TNC’s website, the culture of The Naked Convos is beautiful.