As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we’re finishing strong with a vibrant young woman grounded with determination. Recently featured on BuzzFeed’s Cocoa Butter series, CEO and Media Journalist, Raro Lae, is committed to bridging the gap between African and Western entertainment with her incredible platforms.
Ogheneraro Abugo, professionally known as “Raro Lae," is a first-generation Nigerian American, born in Baltimore, Maryland. Raised by hard-working immigrants, her mother was a nursing student, and her father, a cab driver and chemist with a Ph.D. in chemistry.
To the naked eye, one would assume everything was great, but supporting a household of six was difficult, and early on in Raro’s young life, at moments - the revenue her parents were bringing in, just wasn’t enough. As time passed, her father founded a successful information technology company, and although their family income increased for the better, Raro and her family moved around a lot to offset their financial troubles.
Growing up, Raro attended Maryvale Preparatory School, an all-girls school located in Brooklandville, Maryland. After graduating, she furthered her education at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, after one year, Raro transferred and graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration & Marketing.
She stated, “In the middle of the mountains, there wasn't much to do but snowboard; it was cool, but I realized I wanted exposure to the city/business lifestyle, so I transferred to Towson.”
After receiving her degree in 2014, Raro, like most millennials, had difficulties landing a job due to her lack of experience, however, she didn’t allow that to stop her. Raro allowed her entrepreneurial spirit to flow freely, and launched a marketing company, Selah Global Solutions, as well as, began event planning/hosting.
“That was my segue into the entertainment realm, which opened my eyes and brought me into the media world,” she stated.
In addition to running Selah Global Solutions, Raro created an entertainment/lifestyle blog, The Raro Lae Blog, in correspondence to her YouTube channel. During this period, the DMV area was very new to having digital entertainment platforms that were based out of the area, and Raro found success posting lifestyle videos and interviews with celebrities consisting of actors, singers, and comedians like Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and Jidenna just to name a few.
The channel now has over 600,000 views consisting of 140 different countries worldwide! “There are countries that I didn’t even know existed viewing my videos,” she stated.
Fueled by the need to bridge the gap between African and Western Entertainment, Raro is determined to make a change. After her most recent trip to London, Raro noticed the inclusion of diverse music in the United Kingdom; as for America, we tend to focus on our artists instead of the multiple genres coming out of Africa and other countries.
She stated, “America isn't really informed about other artists outside of the US due to lack of information, and lack of marketing capabilities in African entertainment to get their music on a global forefront; but I want to work towards bridging that gap.”
Being a woman in the entertainment industry has been Raro's greatest challenge. “A lot of the time, women are underestimated, and not taken as seriously,” she stated. However, growing close to other women in the industry, collaborating, and serving as a support system for one another has helped her succeed.
In contrast, her greatest accomplishment has been staying true to her capabilities and the vision she has set for her life. She stated, “Although you should always be confident in everything you’re doing, it’s a compliment to be acknowledged and accepted by others in the industry.”
As a DMV woman in entertainment, Raro Lae wants to contribute to the music, and create an environment where we can work in unity and provide opportunities/knowledge for our novice.
“A lot of my colleagues and I didn’t really have a lot of guidance getting into this, we all jumped first, and worried about landing later,” she stated.
Regarding the future, Raro plans on expanding her brand and releasing her all-natural body + hair care line, Selfull, this year. Additionally, she has a goal to curate educational courses, using her knowledge and guidance to give fellow entrepreneurs the extra oomph to go the extra mile.
Get to know Raro Lae below!
Do you have a hidden talent?
I love DIY’ing stuff, I recently DIY’ed my own mirror dresser chest in my room.
Who was your favorite character growing up?
Nancy Drew, I used to read all of her books, and you couldn't tell me I wasn’t going to be a detective growing up.
I have this hidden touch, if people couldn’t find things, I would find them.
Favorite Memorable Interview?
Tiffany Hadish and Kevin Hart. Kevin was naturally so hilarious, that he went out his way to put you at ease while interviewing him. He’s super down to earth and informative.
Tiffany Haddish keeps you on your toes! Say something and she doesn’t agree, she would definitely let you know in a friendly way, she told me I was good at what I do, it was definitely interesting and memorable.
Do you think the world would be a better or worse place if everyone suddenly could read each other’s thoughts?
I think it would be horrible, I’m a very visual person, so my facial expressions usually convey whatever my emotion is.
Most influential women of all time?
That’s tough, but in a media aspect, I’ll say Oprah. She went from being freelance to working for a corporation, to creating her own network; she defined all obstacles.
All Photos Taken By: Derek Admana