Explaining what it’s like to be Black at a prestigious university can be difficult for those who have never had that type of experience. However, the Strong Black Lead team over at Netflix put together an amazing Facebook Watch series called Taking Up Space that will look at real-life Strong Black Leads and how they do what they do, how they do it, and how they love their Blackness in any and all situations.
The first episode follows Ashtan Towles, who is a young Black political science major at Yale. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Towles said she experienced racism in the south but she thought that she wouldn’t experience it at the same level up north. She was in for a rude awakening when two events on campus shifted how she perceived her Blackness and views on activism.
“After my first semester at Yale, I took a different perspective on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be and how I wanted my Black identity as a woman to fit into that,” Towles said. “The Black community here is amazing and is a huge reason why I’ve been able to grow in the ways that I have because of the resources that we as Black people have on this campus.”
Watch the video below as Towles and her Black peers at Yale talk everything from the #SleepingWhileBlack incident to finding strength in the Black campus community.