On Feb. 18, Cheyenne Ewulu, best known as one-third of the unit Pretty, Brown & Nerdy and her YouTube handle CheyenneKpop, took some time out of her nonstop schedule to answer some questions for the readers of MACG Magazine. Ever gracious and always energetic, even via email, Cheyenne answered honestly and thoughtfully, revealing some of her aspirations, her favorite aspects of gaming and her fondest memories in K-pop.
Dreams, Aspirations and Pretty, Brown & Nerdy
I want black girls to look at us and say, “I can do that too!” I see us as the black Felicia Day.
Cy: What were your biggest aspirations when you were younger? Have you achieved them? If so, what are your new aspirations?
Cheyenne: Its funny. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a manga artist. My dream was to create my own anime. Definitely had a goal change (and a wake up call) by the time I reached middle school. Now, I’m just out here trying to be in the entertainment scene. I’m a camera ham, it’s already what I do.
Cy: When and where did the idea for Pretty, Brown & Nerdy first come from?
Chey: My friends and I were sitting in my apartment one day, and I just kind of was like, “Hey, we should make a YouTube channel!” Jazmine had already expressed interest in wanting to get back into the YouTube scene, and Camille wanted to try her hand at it as well, so it just happened to work out. And they were my closest friends.
Cy: Do you take ‘PBN’ on the road (conventions, concerts, etc.)?
Chey: Yes. We’ve actually been invited to a couple of cons. Keep up with our social media to see updates!
Cy: Where do you see ‘PBN’ going in the future brand-wise?
Chey: I want us to be a huge, well-known brand. I want black girls to look at us and say, “I can do that too!” I see us as the black Felicia Day. We’re definitely on to something here.
Experiences in Gaming
Cy: Best gaming experience?
Chey: Definitely when I played through the “Batman: Arkham” series!
Chey: Probably this current Let’s Play series Jazmine and I are filming. [We played] “Resident Evil 7,” and [we] just [took] all kinds of L’s.
Cy: What system are you more excited for: Nintendo Switch or the new Xbox (Project Scorpio)? What games?
Chey: I am mostly excited for the Nintendo Switch. “Super Mario Odyssey” looks interesting. But I am mostly waiting on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” I am a Zelda freak. And I cried when I saw the trailer. I already bought the special edition, but I am hoping to be able to upgrade to Masters!
The World of Anime
I think we all know that the “Dragonball” live-action film here in the U.S. was straight trash.
Cy: What first got you into manga and anime?
Chey: Funny story. I think it was actually “Tenchi Muyo.” I remember my sister flicking channels one day when we were kids, and I was tired of her flicking through the channels and told her to stop on the channel “with the pink-haired lady.” I pretended it was my favorite show, just so she would leave the TV alone. And, well, I’ve been hooked on anime ever since.
Cy: What is it about anime that you connect with?
Chey: Just how different it was from traditional American cartoons.
Cy: What’s your favorite character to cosplay? Least favorite? A character you’d like to cosplay in the future?
Chey: I don’t cosplay much at all anymore (I am hoping to change that), but I will say I had a great time cosplaying as Korra. She’s my all-time favorite cartoon character, and the reactions I got when people saw me in costume were priceless.
Cy: Favorite manga? Show/Film?
Chey: My favorite anime of all time is definitely “Dragonball.”
Cy: Was there ever a manga to anime/film adaptation that didn’t work for you? If so, what didn’t quite translate?
Chey: I think we all know that the “Dragonball” live-action film here in the U.S. was straight trash.
Cy: What manga would you like to see translated to a show/film?
Chey: Well, I used to say “Death Note” … but you see what happened with that …
Chey: The basic ones that everyone should know already — “Sailor Moon,” “Dragonball,” “Death Note” and “Fullmetal Alchemist.”
Cy: What first intrigued you about Korean music?
Chey: Definitely the music videos. They were always so well done. And the choreography for these artists and groups was always on point.
Cy: Most memorable experience as a K-music fan?
Chey: When I went to Big Bang’s first tour in New Jersey. I didn’t cry. I was way too happy to cry. It was such a great experience. I remember screaming Taeyang’s name like every five seconds.
There are Korean artists out there that get it. Maybe not 100 percent, but they get it. Yongguk is an example I like to use. Jay Park has been known to speak out on social justice/black issues here and there as well.
Cy: Biggest surprise as a K-music fan?
Chey: Seeing how nice some of these artists actually are in real life. And how short too 😛
Cy: Biggest let down/disappointment as a K-music fan?
Chey: When my faves say or do something problematic.
Cy: What’s been the hardest aspect of being, in particular, a black fan of K-music?
Chey: … When my faves say or do something problematic.
Cy: We can’t deny that appropriation and lack of respect for black/brown fans and their history is at times an issue. What do you tell people (particularly black/brown people) who see the less than flattering uses of black/brown culture as “inspiration” and are hesitant to look further into K-music?
Chey: I tell them that they really have to do research. There are Korean artists out there that get it. Maybe not 100 percent, but they get it. Yongguk is an example I like to use. Jay Park has been known to speak out on social justice/black issues here and there as well.
Cy: Do you ever have moments where you doubt your continued interest in Korean music and culture because of anti-black sentiments (that is, do you ever have attacks of consciousness about being invested in the culture and/or certain artists who are unrepentant in their appropriation)?
Cy: Sometimes, yes …
Cy: You’ve interviewed many artists. Who was your favorite interview so far?
Chey: I have to say interviewing G2. I’m probably being biased though because he spoke English (he’s Korean-American). But it was just a super chill interview. His friends and management were really nice. I felt like I was talking with a friend, and I feel like that’s what people really enjoyed about that interview.
Cy: I remember you talking about an incident where you were going to interview Livvi and you forgot your camera. Any other memorable (hilarious or otherwise) moments surrounding an interview you’ve done?
Chey: When I interviewed Obroject. Those boys were so sweet. Taeseok, the older one — when we were getting ready to take pictures, he was trying to teach me how to do the “K” sign with my hands. And I was just so confused.
Cy: Who do you really want to get an interview from in the future?
Chey: Yoon Mi Rae. I was actually super close to doing it, but then she had schedule conflicts. Also, anyone from AOMG. Mainly Jay Park. Any Korean-American artist like Dumbfoundead or Jessi too.
Cy: Do you have any aspirations of becoming more hands-on in gaming or K-music/entertainment (as in having a hand in the industries)?
Chey: Right now, I’m just enjoying being a fan. If I can get paid to be a fan full-time, that would be awesome. Haha.
Favorite video game hero? Princess?
Hero? Link. Princess? Ashe from “FF12.”
Favorite video game villain/boss
I will always have a special place in my heart for Demyx from “Kingdom Hearts 2.”
Favorite anime/manga character male? Female?
That’s hard to choose. I really can’t think of just one male, haha. Female, however … Michiko from “Michiko to Hatchin”!
Favorite anime show theme song?
Definitely a hard one. You can’t choose just one!
Dubs or subs?
I have respect for both.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would want to fly. Or be invisible.
If you could meet any superhero, who would it be?
Nightwing for sure. And then I would ask him to marry me.
For your fans and viewers, what can they look forward to in the new year from you?
A lot of work. I have some surprises planned, but I’ve been trying this new thing where I don’t announce things before they happen.
Cy: Any final thoughts?
Chey: This was fun! Please support my girls and I at Pretty, Brown & Nerdy! And also look out for future projects from me!
It’s always fun to get the experiences from fans of anime, gaming and K-pop, especially fans of color. It’s not always common to hear those voices. It truly is a blessing that women like Cheyenne (as well as Camille and Jazmine) are around to add their perspective to the conversation. Thank you for everything, Cheyenne.
Follow Cheyenne and Pretty, Brown & Nerdy at:
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Instagram
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Twitter
Cheyenne’s YouTube (K-pop; Gaming)
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy YouTube
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Facebook
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Tumblr
Cheyenne’s Snapchat: @cheyenneyoutube
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Website
Pretty, Brown & Nerdy Twitch TV
Cy is a digital journalist and blog writer specializing in reviews of music and film across a broad range of genres. Wherever there’s electricity, food and a good Wi-fi connection is where she makes her home. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.