Photo By Travis Matthews
STRENGTH IN COLOURS Issue Nยบ1 is dedicated to highlighting the stories of people of colour identifying with and being proud of their individual cultures. We are a group of coloured individuals trying to identify ourselves in a world that undermines our culture and potential. Unapologetic Magazine invites you to join us through submitting original content in the mediums of writing, photography, videography, and artwork.
woman of colour manifesto
My darling black unity
we are unapologetic
My Nameless cultural identity
I am sheâ€™s history
five years of personal growth
I LOVE BEING BLACK
unapologetic Editor-in-Chief / Layout Artist â€” Tianna Alexandre Creative Director / Assistant Editor â€” Lana Davis
Contributing Writers: A. Luna, Kripa Solanki, Linda Lubi, Kiara Warren, Christie Kandiwa, Nykia Free, Fantaisatou Ndure, Melody Triumph, Aricka Davis, Elizabeth AIspuro, Areeba Siddique, Kim Breon, Sydney Price, Sameerah Seamon Contributing Photographers: Travis Matthews, Michelle Grace Hunder, Sharyl Cubero Photographed Models: Nneka Ibeabuchi, Amaya Sunn, Upile Chisala, Jada Renee, Tashiann Yasmine, Anjie Best, Kemi Olukanni, Seun Olukanni, Pesi, Sophia Chowdhury, Sira Kante, Derrick Osoro, Janick Brun, Michael Davis, Asianna Gaddy, Tierra Therese, Janine Tondu
The Woman of colour manifesto
I AM: Strong, beautiful, and amazing, despite what the white world, the white man, or our own men may say. I WON’T: Ever feel like I’m less, even though the world wants to make me less, ever feel like I’m ugly because a narrow and racist stadard is considered beautifuul, ever feel like I’m less of my own soul, culture, and spirit, because they want to take that from me. I WILL: Kick ass at all I do, honour my own culture in my own way, respect other girls’ hustle, respect other cultures and identites and ways of life, and continue to fight the white power structure, but most of all, love myself for the Queen that I am inside and out.
— Manifesto by A. Luna
I won’t apologize when you can’t pronounce my name right. I won’t apologize when my skin colour doesn’t match any of the foundations, or when the nude tights cloak me in an ashy sheen. I won’t apologize when my food looks different; it’s delicious. I wont apologize when I mispronounce something; you wouldn’t understand how hard it is to speak threee languages.
APOLOGIZE I won’t apologize when someone spits foul words at me because the stereotypes of my skin betray who I really am. I won’t apologize for sticking out like a sore thumb. I’m a real person. I won’t apologize for looking different. I won’t apologize for your ignorance. I won’t apologize for living in a world you built to exclude me. — Kripa Solanki 10
Photo By Travis Matthews 11
Photos By Travis Matthews
AFRICANISM -ism (noun) a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.
My body is made of African blood. Inside of my veins, it flows inside my body and it keeps me alive. My heart beats like the African drum, loud and fast as my hips dance to the rhythm of the music My eyes sparkle at the bursting colors of my newly tailored African dress. My mind grows as I expand on my culture and all the interesting things about it. My tastebuds explode when my mother makes me Jallof rice! I smile happily as I remember why my parents came here; for a better life in the land of opportunity. I thank them every day for their bravery and courage. Although I was born in the land of red, white and blue, my heart aches for the land of yellow, green and black.
I was born American, but in my heart, I will always be African.”
— Linda Lubi
Photo By Travis Matthews
The world was wrapped in her chocolate, from her first relaxed cure, to her acceptance of different shades. While She learned of dreamed peace and as she learned of diamond slaves. Through the inequity of her companion’s history she learned of minds purity. That no face is greater than yours or mine that all should be placed on the spectrum of time. Long before the hovering of children and united dream rides, American foreigners were gassed, cursed, and pushed to the side. Power to those who didn’t accept the Great Melanin Divide; To the people, who for the sake of others, gave up their fragile lives...
She learned but began to notice a trend “Is there strength to be found in my skin? Is there courage, honor, peace hidden therein? Is my color the mark of sin?”
“Is my history a fading account of me? Do I have to post my identity for all to see? Do I let the world tag with harsh labeling? Do I stay down and have my culture treated as nothing?”
I am She’s History
— Kiara Warren
Then she looked and began to see, digitally her mind’s wrapped in ebony identities. Seeing strong mother figures in Grandmothers and Aunties, whose uncracked skin is polished with blues and R&B. Who’s unseen backs steadily vote for their community. Presently she hopes for a future of unity; A safe haven for all whose pallets reside closely. A home for the midnight dancers who want to live without fright. A shrine for the strong folk for whom ancestors wept and died. Through her skin there’s history within, remembrance to all who’ve lived to let her begin. The world was wrapped in her chocolate but she was wrapped in the past. To all that came before,
Free at last, Free at last.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I was drowned before my birth... This heart of mine, composed Of crippled hand-me-down-car-part promises from gazaland, maternal tears named after the promised land and the abandoned city of peace, Hoping to bedeck these scintillas of mishap. Nothing but a futile fertile womb Of submerged noises in a dark vacuum. My first breath of air, Was like being force fed pills Knowing their purpose laced with the fear of choking. I was drowned before my birth. You couldnâ€™t have expected anything less, Than a bruise coloured spawn crying, On the Fourth of May. â€” Kayssie Kandiwa 16
Photo By Travis Matthews
Photo By Travis Matthews
I am condemned. I’m very soft spoken, but have a lot to say; words can’t get out cause skin gets in the way.
I’m black, In fact, Darker than most But that does not define me. And the stereotypes of young black women Obviously don’t define me either. And many who know me Don’t truly know The real me, Nykia Free, Who grew up and blossomed In poverty Through name calling and external hate Because of my Skin tone, alone, But not my thoughts and my personality Who weathered disbelief Because my actions And words Don’t match my Appearance
My preferences Judged on a scale Of how white! I wanna be Because I don’t agree With the shots, the money, and drugs That surround my Very being on a Day to day basis The simple fact That people never understand Past the dark textures Of the physical Or see my thoughts And feelings As metaphysics Or passions with no Meanings While I’m screaming Stop the Madness We are all one in the same Black women who hate Black women In our destruction there Is no gain. So through trials and tribulations And emotions with a pinpointed aim
I stopped the shame And started to see The beauty in my skin; Beauty without And beauty within.
— Nykia Free
Five Years of Personal Growth — Melody Triumph
think that many WOC, are victims of the consequence of not having themselves represented positively in the media, and I am definitely no exception. I had to look through all of my journals, to find out when I started becoming aware of the colour of my skin, and understanding that it was something that did change my experience in this world. It was 2012. 2012, the year where I realised that my dark skin was something that wasn’t accepted. Something that wasn’t embraced, loved, seen as beautiful. August 2012, I wrote, “more Vitamin C to boost my glutathione in my body and make my skin lighter.” August 2012, “I found something called “‘The Fair Skin Diet’ Whoa!” I wanted to be light skinned. I wanted to be able to say, that I looked like those girls in the adverts, online, in magazines, on the runways. Looking back on that now, it really pains me to realise, that at some point in my life, I researched and put in so much energy into finding out the safest way to lighten my skin, because I thought that somehow doing that, would make me beautiful like all of the other girls that I saw. The fact that I made extensive lists of foods and vitamins that I needed to consume regularly to achieve this unachievable lightness. I know, that I’m not the only person who has been affected by this. I see it in my sister, and it
tears me up inside that I’m unable to convince someone who is perfect how they are, that they’re beautiful. Now, I didn’t want this piece to be me just pouring myself and not trying resolve this issue. 2014 and 2015 were literally just one big year for me, and I can’t decipher what events happened in which year. But, sometime in those two years, black women were suddenly taking storm. They were taking beauty into their own hands and forcing themselves into the media. If society wasn’t going to invite them in, then they were going to force themselves in, and stay. Lupita won an Oscar and was absolutely everywhere, I started to become more and more aware of models like Iman and Naomi. Bloggers like Cipriana and Nikisha were suddenly popping up. Amandla was taking the internet, black women were forcing themselves into this narrow, exclusive idea of beauty, and they were making sure that they were being noticed. They were finally being portrayed as beautiful, and that is some-
Representation Matters. thing that I needed. Seeing all of these beautiful women suddenly appearing and being carefree inspired me. I stopped trying to “raise my glutathione levels,” and I stopped trying to find ways to loosen my curl pattern and I accepted my kinky 4c hair. »
Photo By Travis Matthews
I feel that many people think that ideas such as representation are frivolous, and these people are people who cannot see it. White people and their white privilege. This is because they see themselves everywhere. They can identify with so many people on TV, in films, in literature, politics, the medical world, great scientists, philosophers, models, artists … they are everywhere. So the idea of wanting to kill yourself, or not ever wanting to see a reflection of yourself because you can’t see yourself being represented properly in society, sounds absurd to them. Well, it isn’t. And that is something that they need to understand. Just because something doesn’t concern you, doesn’t suddenly make it an
“When you’re creating art, you need to be including POC; especially if you’re in a position of privilege.” insignificant issue. Once you take the time to listen to what we have to say, you see that a lack of representation is an actual issue and it is an issue which needs to be solved. How do you do it, then? When you’re electing MPs and casting for your fashion shows, you need to make sure that you’re choosing POC, WOC too, so it comes to a point where it’s natural to do it. Where you don’t have a prejudice way of thinking, against us. I want to end, by saying that these five years up till now, have been a time of personal growth, which I’m sure many WOC have experienced. The solution to this issue? Representation. Obviously not that alone, but representation is definitely a big part of it. Representation matters.
My Darling Black Unity We as black people wonder with oblivious gazes, in the midst of interior and exterior controversies, gradually losing our individuality becuase of our cowardliness, and a newborn need to impress the rest of society. â€” Fanta Isatou Gai
It’s like we endeavor thoroughly and ambitiously, To demolish what makes us who we are...
That nappy hair that defies gravity, that sun ray saturated melanin skin, those big lips, that broad nose, those vast hips, the outstanding sublimity one can never miss, to transform into meaningless figures, and leave vacant, the unique space on this earth we were given. And that is why I so solemnly mourn the death of black unity. The one that existed centuries ago, before our ancestors were sadistically evicted from our home, before our warm, legendary commonalities turned so cold, before tragically the oppressors ripped our souls.
But in the clutter of these dark restless clouds, there is still faint glimpses of hope, that my darling black unity has a chance of resurrecting.
Like Jesus did on that blissful sunday, she has the ability of re-incarnating as power, strength, and illumination. When we diminish the ironic, selfinflicted hatred we so tragically accomplished.
When we dust our minds of the contagious slave mentality, we subconsciously, yet still consciously hold dearly.
When black beauty is not centralized on certain qualities, But generalized to fit everybody. When in her grave, black unity can no longer hear us argue about our the distinct shades and which one we should value, but emphasize the fact that whether light skinned or dark skinned, we’re all black, and equal. When we feed a cold shoulder to the oppressors who corruptly, and slyly, aim to destroy us.
Deteriorate us, and define what beauty is for us.
When you know you do not need to fix your “edges”, as it is one of their flimflamming beauty theories, that places in our souls, prints of distress and worry. When we realize that we are facing vital exterior threatsthe injustice, racism, and police brutality, and analyze that love and respect for each other, is what we should prioritize. That our merged voices, is the only weapon we should utilize. That we need to step out of our self-insecurities, merit all our attributes, and move to a level of higher awareness.
When we know we should be a strong united force and protect our eminent titanic clan, is when my darling black unity, will resurrect.
Black and Proud I
was told countless times growing up that I was only “technically” black. Which meant my skin color displayed one thing, while my interests said something totally different. My childhood was filled with Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows. These shows were filled with lead characters that were white, while the characters of color were thrown into background roles; for example they were sidekicks and sassy best friends. As I grew up and attended middle school and high school I began to get asked questions like’ “Why do you only read white people magazines?” or “Why don’t you ever read books about white people?”. To be honest these comments just made me feel equally embarrassed and ashamed. Embarrased that I was noticeably neglecting books made by African Americans, and ashamed that I was enjoying books deemed “white” by my peers. As I got older I began to question why I hadn’t explored and engrossed myself in my own culture (black culture) as much as I had in white culture. I had not even bothered to take an African American history class in high school. It was not until recently that I really began to pay attention to society’s views on African Americans. The killings of Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, Sandra Bland, and so many others woke my concious up in a way I didn’t think was possible. I was angry and saddened that black people could be killed so cruelly and without remorse, just slandered throughout the media. Those events made me ask myself the questions that my peers had been asking me for years. So I began to become more curious about my culture,
black culture. I began to seek out more role models, who are women of color. For example Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Roxanne Gay, Amandla Stenberg, Mindy Kaling, Bell Hooks, Lupita Nyong’o and so many others. These women were creating positive content and living in a society where they are the minority and not letting that affect how they live their lives. These woman made me proud and helped me to see myself as more than what society thought of me and the color of my skin. While on this journey of discovering and learning more about myself and my culture I discovered feminism. I learned that I am an Intersectional Feminist because I do believe that different women can experience oppression in various ways; race, and social class can play key roles in Feminism. I recognize that women of color can not always relate to the same struggles as white women encounter. I also began to take African American history classes and Women’s Studies classes. I began to realize that my culture is wonderful, unique and influential in today’s society, even if we don’t get much of the credit that is due to us. Part of realizing how much respect and admiration I have for my culture and my people was also to acknowledging my internalized racism. I am still on this journey and I do believe it will take me years, but I have made progress and I can now say I am proud of who I am. In learning about myself and my culture, I have learned that it is okay to enjoy other cultures and appreciate their creativeness; It does not make me any less black.
— Aricka Moultry-Davis
Photo By Sharyl Cubero
Photo By Sharyl Cubero
Photo By Sharyl Cubero
Photo By Sharyl Cubero
’m from Pakistan, a country so rich with different cultures that it runs within blood of the people of the country. Each province has a culture completely different from the other yet connected at the same time. We have total 4 provinces; Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan & Khyber Phakhtunkhawa. I was born and raise in Sindh. My ancestors migrated to Pakistan from India years ago when the subcontinent division happened in 1947. They were called Mahajirs, it is an Arabic-origin term used in Pakistan to describe Muslim immigrants of multi-ethnic origin who migrated from different areas of India and settled in the newly formed state of Pakistan after the partition of the land of India during the independence of India and Pakistan from British rule in 1947. My elders came to Sindh and settled here. They kept up with the culture they brought from the areas of India they lived in. It’s been years keeping up with the culture and confusion on how to identify our culture, are we still the migrants with no identification for our culture but an id card that shows us as a Pakistani national?
a gap about how to define myself culturally. I moved to Thatta a few months ago and it’s the hub of Sindhi culture. It looked attractive to me so I looked into the Sindhi culture for the first time ever and it was glorious. My nanna has been living in Thatta for quite a long time and I asked her if I belong to the Sindhi culture or not because I’ve been living here my whole life and not just me but my elders and my elders and elders. She told me we already have a culture that all of the people around Pakistan follow. The language we speak is Urdu and it’s the national language of the country. The dress (Shalwar Kameez) we wear is the national dressing of the country. It wasn’t satisfying enough. I asked her what is it called, the culture, there should be a name for it like the rest of cultures of Pakistan. She told me it’s still the same as it was years ago, nameless.
It struck hard. It feels empty and heavy and the same time to be a part of the nameless culture that everyone around the country follows. Mahajirs are called Urdu-Speaking in this modern time. This clearly means that we are the people who speak Urdu, but the whole country speaks Urdu too because it’s the frigging national language. What is the actual I grew up confused about my cultural identity. identity for our culture? I am a Pakistani by nationality but there was
I have looked into Sindhi & Balochi culture and they’re glorious. I know what my actual cultural existence is without having it to explain it to people of other cultures of the country. And it feels strong to have a nameless cultural identity and still existing.
BY areeba siddique
I spent great deal of my senses to make sense out of it. Since I am from a culture that is for all the countrymen and everyone has been following the cultural values of a nameless culture without paying attention to its origin and identity and pretending it’s invisible to them even if it’s not, I feel free now. As my own cultural identity is transparent to the world, I can be a part of any “named” cultures of the country and entertain myself with it while keeping up with the original cultural values I have. I have started exploring more of other cultures because it feels good.
Modelled by Sophia Chowdhury Photos by Michelle Grace Hunder
Forgiving Stolen Culture forgiving (adjective) ready and willing to forgive. â€” Kimâ€™Breon
hen you grow up as a person of colour, remember you're automatically forced to forgive when your culture is being stolen. No talking back. No educating the stealer. Just be silent because they're more important. You'll grow up loving your culture with the beauty and elegance, but turn around and watch it get burned and whitewash down where its not even your culture anymore. You'll automatically have to give up your culture. What's yours, is theres. They won't acknowledge yours struggles or experience. They won't look up to you as a person of colour. They'll look up at you as, "This was always MY culture. You just stole it." They want the clothing,the music,the food, the dance, the traditions, the hairstyle, the beauty, and the men or women. They don't want the discrimination, struggles, suffering, inequality, racism, killing, or genocide. Remember they'll tell you what you should and shouldn't be offended by. They'll try to educate you on your OWN culture. They'll get your own people against their own culture. Your own people will fight with the stealer and you've to sit there and watch your people destroy your culture with the stealer. That's how its going to be. Scary right? That's what we experience everyday as a Person of color. Our culture was meant to define us, but what's defining us when it's being ripped from our flesh , and dipped in lye. Being chemically
burned down as the stealer makes it theres. No culture can define someones personal experiences when it's already stolen. Don't grow up as hating your culture because of the stealer. Embrace your culture. Make them uncomfortable. Make them want to steal it more, and educate them why it'll never be theres. Speak loudly as Person of Color. Show them your pain, make them feel your suffer. Make them want to apologize. Do not dare let them silence you or speak over you. Remind them who you are. Remind them who suffered. Who's being forced into stereotypes. Who's being killed daily. Who's suffering from discrimination. Who's being ignored. Tell them whos culture it is. Tell them your personal experiences. Stand up high, put the bass in your voice and tell them your story. Don't let them tell you "We're a human race" , when humans are a species. Tell them your culture are for individual races and you do not have to share. Tell them we're controlled by white supremacy and as People of Color, we stand for our culture. Be offended. We will still fight for our culture for ourselves. But just know, as a Person of color, my culture represent me. Our culture history represent us. It tells our never ending story and you trying to rewrite our culture, is ruining out story. How can you praise a culture with no story? No meaning? "
Photo By Travis Matthews
My roots tell me I am a Mexicana from Jalisco, Chihuahua, and Sinaloa, Mexico but my planting place was El Paso, Texas quickly relocating to California. Being an American born Mexican I quickly found out my life was a harsh game of having to be more white than the white people, and more Mexican than the Mexicans. When I spoke Spanish I had to sound like the kids who grew up in Mexico but when I spoke English I couldn't have an accent. My skin was too dark for the white kids, but spent too much time under the California sun for the Mexican kids. It was a losing game that I felt compelled to somehow win. I was always too this and not enough that, never meeting anyone's criteria. My first name was too American, but my last name was too Mexican. I had to somehow conform to Amer-
ican culture, but still be so tied into my roots there was no deniability that I was Mexican. This was a game built for American born Mexicans to lose. I am too wild for here, but too tame for home. I never felt in place until I found Chicanisma. A Chicana is a girl who was born in America, with roots from Mexico. That's when I found my voice and my hermanas. I was no longer alone in my struggles, but fighting with my girls. I had found my girls voicing the same struggles as myself, I found a place where I wasn't too this, not enough that, a sweet spot where I didn't feel left out. As a Chicana I am accepted as too this not enough that, with no criteria or standards I'm struggling to meet. As a Chicana I am welcomed into a community of mutual respect, love, and support. â€” Elizabeth Aispuro
Photo By Travis Matthews
I hope one day you realize that being called a “nigga” isn’t good Even though it’s a regular term when you grow up in the hood. Wait my bad, You don’t have to live in the hood to hear “nigga” The cops say it all the time before they pull the trigger Oh, but you don’t wanna hear that Not too long ago “niggas” were being whipped on their bare back But... You don’t care That’s in the past. There’s a reason on Martin’s tombstone it reads “Free at Last” But I forgot, All you care about is “Free My Nigga” All he was trying to do was make his pockets a little bigger It’s sad that little boys and young men like you Don’t think you’ll make it unless you hoop
You only have one shot so watch what you do Because the only thing that will make or break you Is how you shoot Pick up your pants and fix your hat Don’t you know you’re better than that? You don’t have to give up college so you can go rap Or even drop high school to pick up on crack Learn to walk with a straight back with straight backs in your hair because you’re proud to be black I hope you realize you don’t have room to fail. And instead of being called a “nigga” you should be called a strong black male
— Sydney Price
Photo By Travis Matthews
love being black; the culture, the history, and the heritage shape me into the young woman I am now. It hurts me when I see people my age, or even older, become a custom to the point of view that society has built for our race. There is nothing wrong with being black, nothing at all. People all the time criticize me for what I stand for; they call it pointless or say that one small opinion isn’t going to make a difference. But I disagree completely. I write and create poems, phrases, and short stories for black lives because I am a black life myself, and sometimes you get tired of being mistreated. Society has this mindset that the only things black people are good at are selling drugs, dropping out of school, and being locked up. I’m tired of seeing our bar being raised so low for our race that people actually give up on their actual potential and live up to it. They think, “Well, might as well settle for less”, but you should never do that. You are a part of a culture where giving up or backing down is never an option; you fight and stand for what you want. We are underestimated in so many ways; education, businesses, and social structures. When people see a black person walking down the street, they probably think they’re ghetto because of the way they dress or where they live. They don’t know that we’re learning to love ourselves, we’re growing together as communities, and that everyday we’re standing together as a whole and becoming stronger. I am proud to be a part of a culture from many, many generations of historians and activists, because one day I plan to be like them. We’re stronger and smarter than society allows us to be, but it’s up to us to stand together and break that barrier that’s blocking us from our full potential. It’s up to us to show them that being black shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, but to be proud of with a head hanging high on a body standing tall.
— Sameerah Seaman
Highlighting stories of people of colour identifying with and being proud of their individual cultures.