My Evening with Karamo Brown

When I found out that Karamo Brown would be the keynote speaker for FSU’s 2020 MLK Week Celebration, I cleared my entire schedule to attend. I’m not being dramatic, I really did. The date had been written in my planner for months and I had already mentally prepared my outfit for the event. If you don’t know who Karamo is, allow me to enlighten you.

There’s this show called Queer Eye and if there’s anything I tell you that you should take 100% seriously it’s that this show changes lives. The basis is five gay men (known as the Fab Five) that make people’s lives better through fashion, interior design, food, culture and personal wellness. Karamo is the culture queen that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide through his empathy and compassion for all of the shows “heroes” aka the people that they “make-better." Not to mention, he is also the first openly-gay black man on reality television, ever, and a father to two gorgeous boys.

Courtesy: Kyodo News

Karamo, a graduate of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, returned to his old stomping grounds of Tallahassee (he made it very clear he ate A LOT of Guthrie's during his time here), for a night of unfiltered conversation with students. The evening was full of laughs, fun and spoilers, but most importantly full of conversation about race, identity and culture in the modern-day U.S.

He even touched on his point of view on the state of the world today. “I mean there’s so much [that troubles me]. Like how we’re not communicating, how we’re not talking and how divided we are. Right now, we see these things that have divided us and instead of trying – and again this is nothing new, we live in a country that has been built on these systemic things to keep certain people down – but I think we just have to continue to fight against that by having conversations and by helping people to see that it’s not okay to keep someone down because of their race, their gender, their sexuality. We’re all people and we all have something to add to this world.” Words that moved the audience to their core, truly.

Courtesy: Iowa City Press Citizen

As a former social worker and huge believer in self-love and confidence, Karamo left every person in the room inspired to be a little better each and every day by accepting oneself and recognizing all the potential we have within us to help the world. “I feel like we all have the ability to help, whether it’s one person or a group of people,” he stated. “If you can practice saying good things to yourself and believing in yourself every single day, you can find the confidence to change that part of yourself.” He taught students that helping others first begins with helping yourself through self-love and acceptance, something young people these days often struggle with. His advice to college kids finding their purpose was simple, “Don’t put any pressure on yourself because we live in a society that puts a lot of pressure on you. You do not have to figure anything out right now, that’s a lie.” He also made everyone in the audience turn to their neighbor and say “comparison is the thief of joy.” You heard it here first folks, stop comparing yourself and putting so much pressure on yourself! Karamo said so! 

Karamo also explained the process behind how each episode of Queer Eye works and believe it or not, the Fab Five only have five days with each hero and they get no prior knowledge about them until one hour before they drive to the hero’s home. Crazy right? He also revealed that season five was filmed in Philadelphia and is the most diverse season yet. The biggest spoiler of the night was his announcement that he would be marrying his fiancé, Ian Jordan, in September and Tan (a member of the Fab Five) would be officiating the wedding! So if you didn’t believe they were really friends outside of the show, then now you know and that’s on periodt.

Courtesy: Bustle

The best moment of the evening for me was when I actually got to get up and have a conversation with the culture queen himself. After plugging Her Campus FSU and my upcoming article about him (because duh, how could I not?), I asked Karamo what his advice would be for someone who’s creating their dream job rather than pursuing something that already exists. To say that it was the best moment of my life would be an understatement. Basically, the conversation ended with me telling him I’ll be editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine interviewing him on a fancy leather couch one day. The full video of this glorious interaction is on my Insta so feel free to check it out! My evening with Karamo was easily one of the best of my life (let alone the best of my FSU career) and I’m looking forward to my future interview with him someday *wink-wink!*

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