Raphael Bruk is a teen with a lot of experience facing the very issues we try to spread awareness about. Check out his Q&A and learn what makes him a true advocate for equality, and the perfect person to model our Wearable Therapy by Tokii designs.
Where can we find you on social media?
You may find me at on Instagram @afronorth.
What design did you model for WT?
I modeled a lot of the designs. I recall Modern Day Wonderland, Genderbread, In The Name Of…, and H8 Free Zone.
What is your favorite WT design?
I love so many of the designs! I would say the Modern Day Wonderland, In The Name of…, and any peace-promoting ones. Also, the one about Human Trafficking because I feel strongly that is an issue that should be solved.
What was your favorite part about being part of this shoot?
I enjoyed the freedom I was allowed to do whatever I want. Using props and even dangerous ones, haha!
I really enjoyed the variety of colors and designs. I also enjoyed freeing my hair and letting it puff during the shoot and putting in different styles perks of afro-diversity. The photographer was nice and made it comfortable working on the shoot. Overall, it was a great experience.
Have you faced any discrimination or bullying?
Sadly I did. I faced a lot of bullying and discrimination because of being black. As a kid, I was pushed out of programs and couldn’t make many friends because i was an outcast- which was horrible, because I am and extroverted person and super-friendly and i love my fro. It took me a while to be comfortable with my race because of the bullying but, thankfully, I made it through.
Do you have any advice for someone a youth who is worried about being themselves?
If you are facing and kind of hate and bullying or discrimination, you must remember to protect your mind. Don’t let the words reach you; internalized homophobia or racism is the worst. You could be your worst enemy but you want to be your own best friend. I advise you to enjoy your own company, get hobbies, and expand to other groups that may enjoy the same things as you.
Why is it important for you to speak up about LGBTQ issues?
It is so important to speak up about LGBTQ issues because they are a minority group. It’s not just that, in our society, sexual deviants are somehow considered the worst kind of sin. It’s also that the LGBTQ community is a sexual minority. In light f the recent Orlando shooting, the horrible consequences of homophobia and inequality really hit close to home here in North America. LGBTQ issues are everybody’s problems because if you can discriminate against one group, it’s going to be really easy to discriminate against another group. That group could include you, me, or anyone close to us. I say zero-tolerance to hate.