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Chinenyeze Iwu Sets a Trans-Cultural Example For Peer Leadership

Chinenyeze Iwu, a.k.a. CJ, is an African American man that spent his entire life up until his high school graduation in Minnesota. When he graduated, CJ decided to attend the American University of Nigeria (AUN) for four years to study Computer Science. During the summer of his senior year, Chinenyeze didn’t know what AUN would be like, what the students were like, what the food was like, in fact, he didn’t really know anything about attending this school. 

Chinenyeze looked to the internet for guidance in preparing for his cultural transition, but he could not find any African American YouTuber or vlogger documenting what it’s like to study at any West African college. While there were plenty of African college vloggers, CJ was looking specifically for someone who he could relate to for an idea of what it would be like for a student who was attending AUN.  He searched extensively and thoroughly, but couldn’t find anyone that fit his loose criteria. 

Because Chinenyeze knew how much representation could make a difference in someone’s life, he felt compelled to fill this missing role. As a preteen, CJ had been insecure about his darker skin tone, causing his overall self-image to suffer.  This low self-esteem more-or-less stuck with him until one day he was introduced to one of DaBaby’s songs.  This representation by a celebrated and respected artist gave CJ the courage to build up his own confidence.

Now, he intended on paying forward the authentic representation by sharing his experiences and lessons with those who would join his community after him. The show CJ created to accomplish this is called AUNwithCJ. Chininyeze shoulders the rookie mistakes so that others can learn from them, gauge what to expect, and be able to move forward more confidently through some of the most challenging times in a young person’s life. It functions as a sort of culture-shock-absorber for those who find that traveling to a foreign society can be rather daunting at times.

Weekly episodes of the show are always designed with the viewer in heart and mind. AUNwithCJ is structured like a TV show. Yes, that means there are episodes, trailers, cinematics, closed captions, and more. There’s even its very own team of anonymous producers with their distinct personalities. The orange producer is the blunt pessimistic producer, while the neon green producer is the hopeful, optimistic producer. The purple head producer is the level-headed analytical producer who doesn’t do much editing; the purple producer supervises the other two producers. The three producers all play a role in creating, editing, and managing AUNwithCJ content.

Chinenyeze Iwu’s naturally friendly, upbeat personality creates some very entertaining and relatable content! The most exciting thing that’s happened thus far in AUNwithCJ was when a humongous wasp appeared in Chinenyeze’s dorm room. Since CJ had had an egg on his head from getting stung by a bee when he was very young and had to wear a hat for a week, he got nervous to the point of making his first cinematic AUNwithCJ episode: Wasps. Rumor has it there’s another Wasps Cinematic in the pipeline!

CJ’s down-to-earth yet worldly mindset allows him to be a bridge between cultures, and a guiding light setting an example for his peers. Only 20 years old now, he leads by example and teaches from the first-hand experience. Chininyeze works out his community-building skills on his  Instagram, as well as at the actual gym. He also started a new project called “We asked AUN students” (WAAUNS) allows AUN students to give their experiences a voice in a similar vein to how CJ voices his.  His wisdom translates to all.