When Montgomery, Alabama resident Jane Oranika first uploaded a video of her painting her dark skin “white” with concealer to joke about the then-upcoming presidency of Donald J. Trump last November, she probably never expected to become one of the brightest lights — no pun intended — that the internet has bore in quite a while.
“It was right before the final results came in,” she explained of the visual to BET.com, “and things were looking pretty dim. I was in a really sad place and as someone who hates being sad, I was trying to cheer up [a friend]. I posted it and we laughed about it, and like an hour later, when Trump was actually was elected, it blew up.”
Nonetheless, the 19-year-old talent, whose hilarious video ultimately led to a temporary Twitter ban (she was allowed to post freely again about 24 hours later), has managed to take that moment of notoriety and spin it into recurrent viral gold by displaying another of her talents, music, as a way to bring healing to a society that is in desperate need of it.
As of late, Oranika, who goes by the nickname “Chika” with family and friends, has been gaining even more widespread attention through her inspirational #EgoChallenge, which, as Greatist explains, was created as a way to combat certain personal traits that people have mocked her about for years, including a prominent tooth gap and her body frame.
Since debuting her take, the movement has been emulated on by both everyday people and famous ones alike, including Danielle Brooks of Orange Is The New Black fame, who offered her up own version of the #EgoChallenge via Instagram just recently.
However, as she’s already proven with this latest mention, the one thing Jane Oranika is not is a one-trick pony. Along with the remake of the underrated Beyonce tune, Jane has also touched on the sadness that many have felt following the departure of the beloved Obama family from the White House.
In another powerful video that she unveiled in January, Oranika introspectively connected with those who are worried about what what may come within these next four years, while also sharing her own feelings about saying goodbye to one of the most respected presidents in the history of this country.
“He was larger than life,” she flows in part, “bigger than black.”
“Made me rethink what was holding me back, and killed each excuse that I had to be anything less than successful.”
Her followers, which have grown significantly since her mildly criticized “whitewashing” video, often heap large amounts of praise of Oranika on the daily, which the friendly social media user never hesitates to respond to with words of gratitude and respect.
Strong in her ways and passionate about her beliefs, Oranika’s actions have occasionally brought trouble to her life offline as well as on. A December 2015 report from Alabama Local News noted how posters Jane composed to loan her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement led to a suspension from her Alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School.
“I thought that these posters would make a simple statement that is indisputable and that, if taken the right way, would create a sense of solidarity amongst our diverse student body,” Oranika stated in response.
Unsurprisingly, most stood by the influential Jane, just as they do today, and challenged the school board to rescind her punishment, which they ultimately did.
[Featured Image by Jane Oranika/Instagram]