By Vivian Ebiske
Twenty-year-old first generation Jamaican immigrant, Azhane Rowe, decided to take the step to become a resource for young Black women as they navigated the college education system by creating the platform, CollegeBFFS (Black Female Facing Society). Originally intended to be just an Instagram page, CollegeBFFS has expanded into a digital platform consisting of blog posts, videos, and other multimedia content in order to empower young Black college women. She has especially empowered Black women entrepreneurs in college through her BossBFF initiative as she wants to showcase how they balance school work with managing their business. She has also expanded her audience to high school students since she came across immense information about scholarship and mental health that is needed at the beginning of one’s college journey. She wants the current high schoolers to have an easier experience navigating college than she did.
She was first inspired to create her platform when she reflected on her own college entrance journey. She stated, “When I was researching for college, I don’t think I had much guidance…” She believed that all of the information about college boiled down to going for a degree and picking a major. Though this is the general concept of college, we have all come to believe that college has become more than that. Internships, career opportunities, and connections are a major part of college as well.
Recently, Azhane has incorporated the importance of internships, career opportunities, establishing connections by creating a GroupMe and hosting informational sessions on Instagram Live about the topics.
With any great thing, there are sure to be bumps in the road. Azhane had trouble figuring out the direction she wanted to take CollegeBFFS and how to articulate that to the audience. A particular conflict was a potential name change. She believed that CollegeBFFS was turning away men and other women in minority groups because of the name. She then realized that nothing was solely for a particular audience, so anyone can utilize the resource without her having to change the name and focus. She also had difficulty selling her merchandise as she did not create a strategy. With her Public Relations background, she has realized that strategy, audience interactions, and connections are integral to sales. The last conflict that she had to battle was her apprehension toward being the face of her brand and putting her face on social media. Once she faced her fear, Azhane realized that doing it elevated the platform.
Though she has accomplished so much during her first year of CollegeBFFS, Azhane does not plan on stopping any time soon! She hopes to recruit ambassadors to represent the brand on different campuses to connect with more students, maintain the strong connection to her Black audience, expand the cause to help Black women in graduate school, and collaborate with other organizations and companies to provide helpful information for college students to thrive in society.
Though CollegeBFFS was created based on her college experience, there are many inspirations in her life that fuel her need to aid Black women through their higher education journey. Many women in her family, such as her mother and aunt, have pursued higher education. Her mother has a master’s degree and aunt has a Ph.D. Her aunt also works in education as she works as a teacher, and is now training teachers. These women have taught her to cherish education as it provides opportunities to connect with others. She stated that “with knowledge comes great power and that can take me to great places where I want to go in life.”
With her education in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, Azhane is sure to go far in life working in the entertainment industry and with women entrepreneurs to help with their marketing and social media to grow their business.
For more information about CollegeBFFS, visit www.collegebffs.com, @collegebffs_ on Instagram and Twitter, and @collegebffs on Tik Tok.