''Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself'',
George Bernard Shaw

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October 27, 2019

Introducing B.W.A; You Can Be A Powerhouse All By Yourself

Although the world may know her as B.W.A, a Helsinki-based rapper, singer, and songwriter, to me she is and will always be Betty.  While she was in junior high school, I was in elementary. And at our school, Betty was famous for her awe-worthy performances; be it in singing, rapping, or acting. 

In fact, I have a semi vivid recollection of the multiple occasions where she has taken the stage, and I wounded  falling victim to her charisma. On one occasion,  I witnessed her flawless portrayal of Dr. Seuss’ Christmas-loathing Grinch. The audience, which consisted of the entire school and staff, was in utter hysterics due to her undeniable comedic timing. 

On another occasion, my classmates and I watched her on the big screen due to the insistence of our Elective Music teacher. We were gearing up for a band competition, and to give us an idea of what we were getting ourselves into, he showed us the video footage of Betty’s year who partook in the competition a few years prior. And there she was, along with her bandmates, as self-assured as ever. 

With the accompaniment of a live band, she took on Jeff Buckley’s, Hallelujah. As a singer myself, I am well aware that said song is no easy feat, but the delivery of her vocals was done with such ease, composure, and consistency. There is nothing quite like watching the young woman captivate an audience by simply being so in tune with her brilliance. A supernova personified. 

Over two years ago, I was given the opportunity of watching her perform at a more intimate, underground event organized by the Helsinki Poetry Connection. Which would later result to our notable sit down conversation.  Back then, the famed recording artist was part of a Hip Hop duo called AK, and went by the stage name of Donatella. However, a little over a year  ago, Tainee and Donatella performed what would be their last performance as a duo at the at the annual Flow Festival; Helsinki’s very own urban music and arts festival. 

As of late, the 5 feet tall powerhouse, is an indie solo artist who has been unapologetically taking on Finland’s music scene with no mercy; by headlining at The Marimekko Summer Fashion Show and RuisRock, where she met one of her musical influences, Megan Thee Stallion. Also, in the beginning of this year, she released an EP, New Wave, which she admits was trying to make:

‘Not only was it my first solo project, but I also wanted it to be a visual EP. I had to be intentional with what I wanted to put out. From the content to the marketing’

In a first ever Curlfriend Suomi’s exclusive, we introduce Ms. B.WA. A Kenyan-Finnish spitfire who is on her own personal quest of discovering herself specifically as a solo musician. She opens up to Acquelline in regards to finding, becoming and being the powerhouse that she is.

You used to go by the stage name Donatella. What made you change it? 

Being part of AK, I identified myself as Donatella; a persona I created. But the thing is, after AK came to an end, I longed to find my identity as a solo artist. And I wanted my name to be a reflection of my journey of self-discovery. So, I kept it real simple by going with B.W.A, which stands for Bitch With Attitude. Also, they are the initials of my full name. 

The last time we had a sit down conversation was the summer of 2017, and you were still the second half of AK, which is no more. So what significant changes have taken place in the course of those two years? 

As an artist I have grown immensely because I gained an opportunity to figure out my identity including my sound, aesthetic, and more. 

In our past interview, you citied the following women as your influences Tink, Stefflondon, and Lauryn Hill. Is there anyone you would like to add to this list?

If you do not count Beyonce, Teyana Taylor, and Nicki Minaj, my artist line-up is rather minimal. However, I do gravitate towards Megan Thee Stallion and Little Simz. American Rapper, Megan is well known for her say-it-like-you-mean-it attitude. On top of that, she is using her platform to encourage her fans to recycle, and to take part in beach clean up events. British rapper, Little Simz is the type of artist that challenges the audience to delve deeper and to look beyond the bigger picture.

Personally speaking, I feel as though women can never win as far as the music industry is considered. Because they always try to pit female artist against each other. Case in point being Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. Or even when yourself and Anisa took to social media to announce the demise of AK?  Why do you think that is so?

Because, as a society, we perpetuate the stereotypes that there is only room for one great female rapper, and that women are incapable of being civil, or cordial amongst themselves. Plus it is entertaining. People would rather take pleasure in watching two women beefing, rather than celebrating their achievements, accolades, etc. 

You often mention your mother as your biggest supporter. What values have you learnt from her that have proven to be of great help as an artist?

Aside from being kind and loving to others, she demonstrated that it all starts with within. So from a young age, I was taught the significance of being self-determined, self sufficient, and carrying myself with dignity. 

How are you able to stay rooted in who you are? And how should anyone struggling with it go about it?

Personally speaking, I seek solace. Through spending time alone, I am able to uncover the possibilities of who I can be; outside of being in the company of others. There is also travelling, through which I have been able to experience life outside of the routine that I am used to.  

I would say, take time to find out who you are, what you desire, and what you want to pursue in life. 

It is no secret that you are currently studying. Why did you choose to pursue higher education? 

Being a musician, and making music is not all that I am. Do not get me wrong, it is a huge part of who I am. But I was raised to be a multifaceted being, and to always keep my options open. Besides no one is really certain of what the future holds, so it doesn't hurt to have multiple plans to fall back on. 

So, how has studying while making music been so far? 

To be quite honest, things are a lot better than before. Back then, I was juggling being a student, working part-time, and focusing on refining my craft. However, my love for music has and will always trample on any difficulties, setbacks, and challenges I face. 

With such a hectic schedule, how do you incorporate self-care into your life? 

After the release of my EP, I almost burned out to a point of no return. And to ensure I never reach that point, I try to recognize what is going on with me (w)holistically. And as far as I am concerned, my mental and emotional health is just as important as my physical health. By journaling, I am able to recognize, identify, and process whatever feelings and emotions I go through on a daily basis. I have found it essential because I am prone to overthinking and overanalyzing.  

In one of your singles, Creeper, you are rapping about a guy who you refer to as a creeper. Could you please share the story behind the song. 

I had a friend who unbeknownst to her was dating a two-timing guy. He would double deal her, and another girl by lying to the both of them that he was going to work. Meanwhile he would be over at one of their places. Doing nothing else, but being taken care of. It is not until they both caught on, and teamed up to confront him about it.

And in your own words, can you please describe the definition of a creeper?

A low-lying cheat. 

The way I see it, you have no shame in your sexuality. And it definitely shows in your music. Especially in your song, which happens to be featured in your EP, Sit Back. I quote the following lyrics; Let me put this pussy on you. Let me tell you the real truth... Has it always been this way?

It all began with my mother, she taught me the art of authenticity; being comfortable with oneself regardless of what other people have to say. Other than that, I am not one to feel ashamed about, or even go to the extent of suppressing my sexual feelings. Because I find no point in going out of my way to conform to the mould of being a proper lady

Teenagers are often plagued with a lot of self doubt. Especially if one decides to pursue a career in the performing arts. Was this the case for you? If you could give your teenage self any piece of advice what would that be?

First off, just go for it because you never want to be haunted by what ifs. Secondly, start as soon as you can. The first time I went to the studio, I was only 16. And I was not as serious as I should have been. Had I known what I know now, I would have taken things a bit more seriously by being more dedicated and committed. 

Within a matter of two hours, and in an fluorescent-lit Espresso house located in the outskirts of Helsinki's city centre, we are able to get down to the nitty and gritty. Talking to Betty, has always felt like talking to my older, yet much cooler cousin who manages to be transparent about her recent adventures, and doesn’t pay any mind to my inquisitiveness. 

As we speak, B.W.A is among one of the very few non-white recording artists in Finland who  dares to rap predominantly in the English language. The mere act itself has been met with mixed opinions. To the Finnish music industry, she is what the mitochondria is to a cell. Much like the mitochondria, which is often dubbed the powerhouse of a cell due to its ability to solely produce majority of a cell’s energy, she is behind the empowering anthems the likes of I Got Mine and Quick Fix.  

I Got Mine is an ode to all self-sufficient and self-reliant women; a not-so-friendly reminder to a potential romantic interest turned into a disappointment. Like sir, you may want her but neither your desire or limited coin is enough to win her over. The song was released a day after my birthday, and I have had it on blast since then. It is almost as if I can hear her tell me through the speakers, ‘Sis, he ain’t all that. Remember, you do not need him’. 

In Quick Fix, which happens to have a music video, we are being explicitly urged to take ownership of our desires. And how timely of a release! We are in the midst of cuffing season, and it is the ideal song to play as you go on about your organ reorganization appointment. 

And although she has expressed that her music is for anyone and everyone, it is no surprise that her discography appeals to a specific kind of listener. Said listener is unashamed about how they want it, and when they want it. 

Make no mistake though, being a powerhouse is not synonymous with being an island. If anything, the 25-year-old is adamant about maintaining healthy and high quality relationships. Not only is she a friend to many, but she emphasizes on the importance of family. 

“Family comes first” , she said.

Also, she admitted to looking forward to settling down and starting a family of her very own. However, she was quick to make it clear that it is not happening in the near future. 

I could not help but to pry about her plans in regards to the near future. And with an equal measure of grace and conviction, she voiced that she would like to pay her home country, Kenya, a visit in hopes of going back to her roots, and to possibly collaborate with producers over there.

Graphic Designer: Sibeli Velazquez  
Creative Director: Acquelline  
Photography: Priscilla Osei 
Special thanks to Carolina Aho and StudioPeee 
October 09, 2019

4 Overlooked Instagrammable Spots in Helsinki, Finland

When it comes to Helsinki, it is infamous for Instagrammable spots the likes of Huvilakatu, Uspensk Cathedral, Café Regata, and more. However, that is not all there is to Finland's capital.

And as much as the aforementioned spots are worthy of their frequent visits from both locals and tourists, I am of the opinion that they are some places that are just as worthy of the attention, yet they are not given the time or day.

Without further ado, here they are:


Not to be mistaken with the Kaisaniemi Botanic Gardens, the Winter Garden is a perfect hotspot to getaway from all the city's hustle and bustle. With free entry, feel free to unwind and enjoy the greenery and the water fountain. And while you are at it, remember to snap a photo or two. Be warned though, photography equipment such as tripods and studio lights are strictly prohibited. 

Address: Hammarskjöldintie 1 A, 00250 Helsinki


Aside from the newly renovated Scandic Marski, this has to be one of Helsinki's most Instagram friendly hotels. What makes this boutique hotel so easy on the eyes is the décor, which is a mix between luxury and Nordic minimalism.  

Address: Fabianinkatu 6, 00130 Helsinki 


Located not too far away from Uspenski Cathedral, this library is every bibliophiles and architecture buff's dream. The taking of photos in the library is allowed, however one must follow specific  regulations, which include the prohibition of flash photography, tripods, and strong light sources.  

Address: Unioninkatu 36, 00014 Helsinki 


Helsinki's very own amusement park is ideal especially during the autumn when there is the annual Carnival of Light. During the Carnival of Light, the entire amusement park is donned with  bright, colourful lights.  In all honesty, I am not too keen on rollercoasters. But, you will be sure to catch me on the hunt for a perfect place to have a mini photoshoot. 

Address: Tivolikuja 1, 00510 Helsinki 


September 09, 2019

The Ultimate Weekend Getaway: A Quick Guide To Berlin, Germany

Did you know that as of late, it is a lot cheaper to fly from Helsinki, Finland to Berlin, Germany, than it is to fly to Finland's neighbouring countries the likes of Sweden and Estonia? Well, it came as a shock to me when I stumbled upon this discovery.

With a few days left of 2018, I began to make solo travel plans for the year approaching. In all honesty, I was not set on any destination in particular. I wanted somewhere outside of the Nordic countries, but within the EU Zone. As I scoured the internet for affordable flight tickets, I came across Easy Jet's deal, where round trip tickets to Berlin, Germany were pricing for 50 Euros. So, without putting further thought into it, I booked my ticket and began to finalize the details for my three-day solo trip. 

Photo by Adam Vradenburg on Unsplash

After a two-hour journey, I arrived in Europe's infamous poor but sexy capital city, as told to me by the receptionist at my place of accommodation. So if anything, Berlin is more like your fellow  enigmatic friend who is a seemingly prolific artist, yet is still struggling to pay rent. Aside for the contemporary art, the German capital city attracts it's fair share of tourists due to the annual festivals, lively nightlife, and history.  Without any further ado, here is a quick guide to making the most out of your weekend getaway in Berlin, Germany. 

Photo by Booking.com


The Wallyard Concept Hostel is a modern, family-owned, 5-Star hostel that is located in the heart of Berlin. When we think of hostels, rarely will we think of them as high-end, and with such stunning interior design. However, the Wallyard does a great job at dispelling whatever preconceived notions you may have in regards to hostels. When I posted snippets of my trip on my personal Instagram stories, a few of my followers admitted to me that they were under the impression that I was staying in a luxury hostel. Well, not quite! 


Located at Wilhelmstrabe 91, which is not to far away from the Brandenburg Gate, the Steel Vintage Bikes Café is a cosy and unpretentious hub for cyclist enthusiasts; think of Hard Rock Café, but for cyclists.

I remember waking up with undeniable hunger pangs. And as a consequence, I found myself on a desperate search for nearby cafes and restaurants on Google Maps. What caught my eye was the interior, and the fact that it was not too far way from my place of accommodation. One bus ride and brief walk later, I made my way inside and ordered a Wild Berry Smoothie Bowl and the most delicious Caramel Pancakes.

Through the Free Tour, I was able to visit the Memorial to the Mudeed Jews of Europe.
Photo by Craig Cooper on Unsplash


A major downside of going on a weekend getaway is the time constraint. Especially in a collosal city like Berlin, where there is so much to do with such limited time. Hence why I signed myself up for a Free Tour. Free Tours are a fantastic way of exploring the destination in question with the help of an extremely knowledgeable tour guide who happens to be a local. On top of that, you are given the chance to tip your tour guide. It is not obligatory, but it is advised since majority of the tour guides depend on the tips for their source of income. 

Through the Sandemans New Europe Free Tour, I was able to visits sites and attractions the likes of The Berlin Wall, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe , and Bradenburg Gate in a matter of 2.5 hours. Since the tour is a group affair, I was fortunate enough to get acquainted with a Britt by the name of Abby. Throughout the tour, we touched on all things history, politics, and solo travel. 

May 16, 2019

4 Reasons Why Alicante, Spain Should Be Your Next Destination

Located on the Costa Blanca (White Coastline), the port city of Alicante is renowned for many things including its clean beaches, castle, festivals, and bustling nightlife. And it is no secret that I travelled there earlier this year. To simply put it, it was a much-needed solo trip that enriched my curiosity and desire to explore and travel.  

But if I am being quite truthful, I did not know much about Alicante. Other than the fact that it was a popular Norwegian Airline destination. After coming across the name on the site, I did a quick Google search to learn more. And from then onwards my heart was set on stepping foot in Alicante.  When I realized that I had acquired enough off days for a four-day getaway, I jumped at the chance to do so. And off I went! 

And so it happened, it exceeded my already high expectations. I had an amazing time strolling, wining, and dining in typical Mediterranean fashion. So much so, that I am convinced that this destination on Spain's White Coastline should be on your radar. Below I expand on 4 reasons why you should visit Alicante, Spain. Here they are:

View of the Old Town 

An Epicure's Paradise 

Do you take pleasure in wining and dining? Are you a self-confessed foodie? Are you keen on trying the local cuisine? If so, this is the destination for you. An unmissable detail about this port city is the fact that restaurants, cafes, and bars are of abundance. There is so much to choose from to a point it gets overwhelming. And If I am being quite honest, I took full advantage of that by eating out on a daily basis.

On one occasion, my Irish friend, who I met at a free tour, and I had dinner. We both ordered three course meals, which compromised of starters, mains, and desserts. Everything was absolutely exquisite especially the Paella. On top of it all, it cost us less than 20 Euros for both meals, which brings me to my next point.

Photo by Kaitlin Dowis on Unsplash

Budget Friendly 

Generally speaking, the cost of living in Spain is nowhere near as high as it is in Finland. So, for someone like myself who is used to the hiking prices here in the Nordics, I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap everything is. That is why I was able to get away with eating out every single day for every meal. Do not take my word for it! With 2.50 Euros, I was able to buy a huge serving of English breakfast at a café in the old town. Yes, you read that right!

The El Barrio at night

It's Off The Beaten Path 

Although Alicante attracts its fair share of tourists especially during the summer months of April, May, June, and July. It is not as crowded as Barcelona or Madrid. I recall having a conversation with an older couple who happened to be on holiday as well. They were quick to recount how frustratingly crowded Barcelona and Madrid are. According to them, when it comes to tourist attractions where you need to wait in line, one can wait over 30 minutes. Oh not I! I am too impatient for that. I would much rather be in place that is somewhat inconspicuous with the masses, but just as rich in culture and heritage.

The El Barrio during the day.

Solo Travel Friendly 

As much as I am new to solo travelling, I am well aware that not all destinations are solo travel friendly. But thankfully that was not my experience. The locals were quite kind, and eager to help. When in restaurants or bars, I did not feel dismissed, overlooked like I did in Berlin because I was on my own. I had my reservations and concerns about being out and about on my own as a Black woman. But not once did I feel threatened or in danger. 



To embark on this quest is to know that it is continuous. And as multifaceted beings, we will always be in pursuit of ourselves because of our many layers. And as long as we are aware of that, there will always be something to uncover.


To embark on this quest is to embrace evolution. So we should not be afraid of either change or transformation. Nor should we get overly attached to a specific version of ourselves, or even our circumstances. Because it is through those moments of change and transformation, that we get acquainted with our most truest selves.


To embark on this quest is to understand that as much as it has to do with the opportunities we are given, our personal effort and conscious choices have something to do with it as well.

The possibilities are endless...

Zadie Smith

Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and the make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful, and decide what you want and need and must do. It's a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that's the deal: you have to live; you can't live by slogans, dead idea, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It's the easy way out.


I was only thirteen when I created my first blog. And to be quite honest, I do not remember what exactly it was about. But all I recall is I enjoyed the mere act of it; jotting down my ramblings and thoughts. I did so sporadically until 2014.

During the first half of 2014, I graduated from junior high school, and the plan was to proceed to senior high school. At fifteen, I thought I had everything figured out. From who I was to where I was headed. But it came as a shock to me when things did not go quite to plan. The truth is, I did not get accepted to my first choices. And when things do not go to plan, we as human tend to question our capabilities, worth and purpose. Especially when we are deeply invested in someone, or something . At least I do. As a result, I took a unintended gap year of some sort to figure things out.

At first, I felt like my world was crumbling. Looking back it sounds overly dramatic, but I have always had a flare for the theatrics. I felt miserable because I had put so much of my self worth, self purpose and self identity into this one arbitrary thing. But what had felt like punishment, later turned to be one of my most insightful, and eye-opening experience.

During that whole year, I began to dive into activities that I enjoyed. For instance, I took to singing. I have always been know to sing. But not in a way, where I had the freedom to explore my identity as a songstress. Reminiscing with my love for music led me to join a band, which in itself was unexpected.

Also, I would make a habit of stimulating my mind and satisfying my hunger for knowledge, by taking creative writing classes, perusing museums etc. But most importantly, I began to blog more frequently. I took it as an opportunity to pass time and it served as a great medium to express the whirlwind of emotions I was experiencing. And as fate would have it, the more time I dedicated my time to blogging, the more I fell in love with it. I never blogged about a specific niche per se. My then blog leaned towards the more personal side of blogging. Because I would blog about my daily life. But during its later days, it was more lifestyle focused.

However, in 2015, I made the decision to shut it down for several reasons. Firstly, my gap year days were soon coming to an end. And I was about to begin senior high school in the fall of 2015. And to simply put it, there was no way I was going to have as much time to spend on blogging as I did before. And for the record, I am painfully meticulous with my work. So it should not come as a surprise that writing and editing alone can take me up to 6 hours, or even more. And it later proved to be impossible, when I tried to add tasking school work, and blogging to the same equation.

Secondly, I wanted to refine my craft. And as I have mentioned before, I am a perfectionist at heart. In addition, my then blog did not feel like it was a reflection of who I was gradually becoming.

Shortly after beginning senior high school in the fall of 2015, I deleted my former blog permanently. By then I had just turned seventeen, and as much as I was excited about what lay ahead, I could not help feeling apprehensive. Apprehensive about who I was becoming, where I would end up in a few years time, what career field I would end up choosing etc.

As if the stress of school was not bad enough, this feeling of apprehension began to weigh me down through my academic year. As soon as I turned eighteen that feeling completely heightened. I began to suspect that the cause of it all was the fact that my teenage years were drawing to an end, which meant that adulthood was approaching. (And also due the fact that worrying is in my nature).

Instead of preoccupying my mind with anything else, other than such weighty thoughts, I began to learn how to care for my afro-textured hair. With time, I became so consumed with the world of afro-textured haircare. How eager I was to read every blog post, and watch every YouTube out there. Through learning to nurture a part of my identity that I had disliked for way too long, enabled me to not only accept myself, but to love myself as well.
Additionally, I took it upon myself to participate in creative courses such as music, and drama that were being offered at school. And as fate would have it, it was in those moments that I became acquainted with a side of myself I didn't think existed. This determined and creative self, although unsure and fearful, she kept at it. Even if that meant getting in front of a whole class to act out a skit in a language that she is not fluent in. What was meant to be used as a means to bring me peace of mind happened to teach me a great life lesson.

I learnt the power and the gift that is the present time. Or as Eckhart Tolle describes It, The Power Of Now. Before, I was too focused on what tomorrow brings, yet I had not done anything to prove myself worthy of that tomorrow. Also, I learnt about actualization. What is it that I am doing today that will bring me closer to where I need to be, by tomorrow? Or a month, year from now. Were it not for learning how to take care of my kinky hair, I doubt I would have been able to pen down my viral celebratory poem.Were it not for me taking those courses, I would not be graduating from senior high school with not only an academic diploma, but two from the performance arts. One in music, and another in drama.

My overdue epiphany led me to figure out why the mere thought of being an adult was sending me into a state of constant worrying. Because unbeknownst to me, I was going through what some may call an existential crisis. So, instead of consciously living and actualizing my future into existence. I was just wasting away my days brooding about my identity and the future. Because I did not have the slightest idea of who I was, my purpose and importance; outside of people's definition of who they thought I was, or who I should have been.

Luckily, I broke free from that. After tirelessly immersing myself in all that life had to offer, I began to receive the answers to my daunting questions. Which in turn enabled me to stop dreading adulthood, and to actually begin to embrace it. If I must say so myself, I have really come a long way. As I bid farewell to my years of being a teenager, I can gladly say that I am walking into my twenties knowing a few things to be true:

1. I have a say in who I am, who I become, and what I do.
2. It is necessary to shift my energy from worrying about the future to actualizing it.
3. This is my journey, and how I choose to go about it, is for nobody else's comprehension but my own .

But on the few occasions when the feeling of apprehension kicks in, I make a habit of going back to a passage taken from the bestselling novel, White Teeth, by British author, Zadie Smith. As seen above!



Because through the realm of afro-textured haircare, I became acquainted with a part of myself that has always been dormant. In turn, it solidified my sense of self.


Because I am a great believer in friendship. The mutual connection, and sense of community amongst individuals. As much as there is something to be said about being a friend to others, and having a friend in them. There is nothing quite like being a friend to oneself. But that is not to say we have to go about this alone. For me, being on this continuous quest has taught me to not only share myself with others, but myself as well.


Because a huge part of self-discovery is being aware of where one is coming from, which gives one a sense or an idea of where one is headed to. And for me that has been Finland. As much as I am Kenyan, and as much as I spent most of my childhood in Kenya; I also identify as Finnish. Because I grew up as a pre-teen and teenager in Finland. And consequently that has influenced me, and how I relate to and perceive the world, my worldview.


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If not, thank you so much for your interest and for stopping by. Remember, you are welcome to visit whenever you feel like it.

Regardless of your answer, thank you for your time. All the best in your journey,


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