Jennifer Onwenu is a real girl's girl and on the frontlines of Detroit's bad bitch brigade.
If you were to check her Instagram story right now, you're more likely to find shares of other women, or Onwenu giving someone their virtual flowers.
By trade, Onwenu is a practicing licensed social worker, but by chance, she has turned into a trusted source of influence on Detroit culture — a power she is still learning to understand, but finally accepting that she has.
"I feel like I'm just a regular person who lives a very regular life, like I go to work job. I don't have a really big fancy car or anything like that, so I'm just like, 'what about me makes people pay attention to me?" says Onwenu. "I had to understand that people trust me, they trust me to be honest and they trust me to express my opinions, and I feel like that's what people value. Someone who, regardless of who it's against or what it's about, I'm going to be someone who tells the truth and is honest."
It's that honesty and rawness that has continued to allow Onwenu to become one of Detroit's budding influencers to watch. Her tweets have helped catapult local businesses like Detroit Flower Company into local success and expand their reach.
While Onwenu may have begun to notice her voice was loud and identifiable in a crowded sea of tweets, packaging that into something she could expand didn't come to her easily. She credits her friend group for being a source of motivation and constantly pouring into her with support.
"Watching how my friends move made me want to figure out how to move in my own direction," says Onwenu."Everything that I started doing, they were just like 'We've been waiting on you to do this for years, all we were waiting for you to do was figure it out', and without them, I don't think I would've been able to."
On Twitter, Onwenu noticed when people would ask her questions about anything, from relationships to what to do in the city, they would hashtag it with #AskJenn.
"People ask me things all the time, so it was just it was just a natural transition," says Onwenu. "It went from just me randomly online talking to whoever was talking to me to a formal video format."
On Friday, April 8, Onwenu will take that format and host a sold-out show in front of a live audience at The D Loft. The audience will be able to ask questions, win prizes, and according to Onwenu, the #AskJenn Live Show will embody old-school late-night television like Jimmy Kimmel or Mo'Nique's defunct talk show.
As for the future, Onwenu is still figuring it out. She doesn't have an exact plan, but she does know that she wants to continue to build the sense of community among women that she has already started.
"I want to build a community of women, what that one community of women looks like, I'm not sure, but I just want to bring people together," says Onwenu."Whether it's for me to keep doing live shows and have an audience, or online community of people who watch my show, I just want people to be able to come together and feel like this is a safe place."
Born and raised on Detroit's Westside, Alex Washington is about as Detroit as they come. She judges your coney island order and serves a mean side-eye when anything across Eight Mile is called "Detroit."
Her writing has been published in Real Detroit Weekly, The Detroit Free Press, Model D, BLAC magazine, and...
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