9 Black Muslim Women You Need To Recognize For #MuslimWomensDay
You know how this country feels about Muslims. We’re not always the best with those who believe differently than ourselves. But after 9-11, all hell broke loose. It provided a rationale for racism, hate and intolerance. The Muslim community at large has experienced far too much discrimination. And with discrimination comes incredible ignorance or complete avoidance. When it comes to the women of Muslim community that is certainly the case. And Black women in the Muslim community are certainly the most overlooked. But today, we’re highlighting a few Black women you should know.
Johnson moved to Los Angeles from New York to pursue her stand up comedy. A native of Harlem, Zainab is one of thirteen siblings. After earning a degree in mathematics and getting a job as a teacher, Zainab left it all behind when she appeared on HBO’s All Def Comedy. Since then, she’s appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Arsenio, BET’s Comic View and MTV’s Acting Out. She is also a regular at the Improv Comedy Club in LA. Keep up with her here.
This Somali-American from Minnesota began her professional career as a community nutrition organizer at the University of Minnesota. Seven years later, after working for the Women Organizing Women Network, volunteering for civil rights, poverty alleviation, human rights and other environmental issues, she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives under the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer party. Follow her career and her work, here.
Aden and her family settled immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old. Like Omar, her family eventually settled in Minnesota. The city of St. Cloud would become home to the Somali diaspora in the mid nineties. Aden started gaining popularity when she entered the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, becoming the first contestant to compete wearing a hijab and a burkini (a swimsuit with pants and a love-sleeved tunic.) Her participation in the pageant allowed her to step into the modeling world. Aden has modeled for Yeezy Season 5, Max Mara, and Nike.
Keep up with her here.
Mohamed is a designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her clothing line, “Rahma the Label” takes “a modern and ethical approach to woven textiles.” Mohamed’s designs are made of 100% Ethiopian cotton, sourced, produced and woven in Ethiopia. Check out her pieces, here.
Mu’min is an award winning filmmaker from San Francisco’s East Bay Area. Filmmaker Magazine named her one of 25 Faces of Independent film. Mu’min’s work focuses on Black girls and women trying to find themselves between multiple identities. Her film Jinn recently won the Special Jury Recognition for Narrative Feature Competition for Writing at SXSW. You can learn more about Jinn, “a coming of age film about identity, Islam & first love,” here.
Jamilah Rasheed is a politician from Missouri. Nasheed converted to Islam as a teenager after studying for two years. She first ran for Missouri Senate in 2012. She is also a member of the Missouri Black-Legislative Caucus. Nasheed has been involved in local protesting for causes important to the Black community. She protested in Ferguson in 2014 and sat, in 2016, during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Missouri Capitol. Nasheed said she was doing so in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
I don’t have to introduce you to supermodel Iman. We all know at least a little something about her. Like some of the other women on the list, Iman is also from Somali, a predominately Muslim country. If you’re wondering how Iman has rationalized being a model with Islamic roots, in her memoir, she wrote:
“Somalia is a moderate Muslim country, but my religion dictates that this is not a profession I should be in…May Allah have mercy on my soul if I have sinned.”
Imani is a Black, Bisexual Muslim activist. She’s the author of ModernHERstory, an anthology of stories of women and non binary people. She’s also founded Equality for HER, a site that provides free, educational resources for issues affecting women and gender non binary individuals. You can read her most recent interview, here.
Miss Tay Amari
Taylor Amari Littlee is a Black queer Muslim poet, educator and activist. You can learn more about her through her Tedx Talk. Follow her work, here.