Let Me Tell You About My Friends

A few weeks ago some of my friends asked if I would be willing to take a few photos of them. Seeing as I have been trying to improve on my photography skills, I was thrilled to see what images I could produce. Subsequently, we went to the Duke Gardens to take advantage of the foliage and flowers that had begun to bloom.

As we began to roam through the endless trails found within the gardens, I was struck by the beauty my friends emanate. In taking their photos, I saw expressions of true joy and beauty. My friends represent the epitome of Black Magic. For me, Black Magic refers to the indescribable elegance that comes with the many shades of chocolate, the glow that the sun highlights so gracefully with its ultraviolet rays, and the happiness that comes from embracing what it means to be Black.

Coming into college, I was scared to start a new journey with unfamiliar faces. However, my housing assignment, and placement near so many beautiful Black queens has helped significantly in aiding my experience through the rollercoaster that has been freshman year. A community is vital in one’s foundation, academic, and social growth. My friends have helped to build that community. I have grown within myself through their aid and ability to help me recover from the stress and obstacles school constantly presents.

So let me tell you about a few of my friends…




Peace Okpoko is one of the sweetest, if not THE sweetest people I know. Peace has helped me to grow in my ability to show compassion for others. It is easy to judge, but Peace has taught me to listen and understand rather than listen and critique. Peace has time and time again provided a shoulder to lean on and a necessary hug when life presents a variety of trials. Peace is the embodiment of her name and for that I am forever grateful.





Yasmin Maktal has helped me find love and laughter in sarcasm. Not everyone takes sarcasm well, and Yasmin’s was one I had to get used to. However, that sarcasm is now something I look forward to everyday. In many ways that sarcasm has run off on me and integrated itself into many of my jokes. Aside from sarcasm, Yasmin is my fashion go to. We often bond over fashion trends and ways we can continue to improve, look, and feel better.

I continue to grow through my friends every day. They are part of the foundation that keeps me focused. A simple photo shoot in the Duke Gardens, helped make the memories I have made thus far at Duke, with my foundation, more sentimental and meaningful as it pertains to my future academic journey.

Naomi Lilly