If you haven’t started following Korra Obidi Dean on Instagram, you’re missing out on an eyeful of delight. This Nigerian singer and dancer has only been in the United States for a year, and hundreds of thousands of people are in love with her already–me included.
I got the chance to meet Korra last week while on a visit to Los Angeles to speak about the success of The Pink Pill at the BlogHer Biz conference. As I pulled up to our meeting location, it only took a second to spot her. Talk, slender (ample in all the right places), in a short and flirty African print dress and pushing a stroller, I called, “Hey Korra!” She turned around and gave me that 1000 megawatt smile so omnipresent on her Instagram feed.
I peek into the stroller and see her gorgeous baby, who looks like a biracial version of her. I’m impressed at how smiley and laid back Baby June is. I asked if they named her that because it was her birth month. Korra says no–the couple named her that because their birthdays are both in June, and they met in June while they were both in Shanghai, China, when Korra was teaching language through dance.
Who can blame Dr. Justin Dean, a quiet chiropractor from the very hippy state of Oregon for falling head over heels? One swipe on Tinder and he was hooked.
Justin knew what he wanted, and it only took a brief time before he knew he had to marry Korra and get her to the states. After all, it’s not every day that a man meets a real, African princess.
While Korra doesn’t especially talk about her background in social media, she is indeed a princess of the Ibusa Delta States and Ogboli clan in Nigeria. There’s a statue of her grandfather in her village. She tells me he killed a lion with his bare hands.
Her father, the king, wanted his daughter to become a banker. Korra tried it, but quickly realized it was a big mistake for her to continue. “I knew I would die depressed if I didn’t leave,” she recalls. She knew that her spirit was calling her to be a singer and dancer, and decided to drop everything to realize her dream.
After we settle in at a cozy little cafe in West Hollywood, I broach to her the reason why I was first fascinated by her–the viral photo of her–in all her pregnant glory–and her husband Justin draped in American regalia.
Korra was surprised at the response she received from that photo. She admits in hindsight that it was a mistake on her part. As a Nigerian, she wasn’t keenly aware of the racial tensions are in the United States. “I was just celebrating the independence of my husband’s country,” Korra recalls. But she goes a bit farther and makes a cultural distinction between Nigerian culture and African American culture: “My country has a lot of problems but race is not one of them.”
Speaking of racism, Korra tells me something that doesn’t surprise me at all. She has experienced more racism from black Americans, and virtually nothing from whites, who have welcomed her with open arms and have never made her feel inferior. After the photo was released, someone drove by her husband’s chiropractic office yelling, “Colonizer!!”
Korra remains baffled by that because she says her husband absolutely loves black culture and honors her heritage and celebrates it.
In any case, Korra is unbothered and undeterred. In true carefree black woman form, she understands that those are issues others have, and they have nothing to do with her. “I try to educate as much as I can, but if not, I wish you good luck.”
Follow all Korra’s projects at her website here.