Can we take a moment to appreciate how smart kids these days are?! They can use technology better than all of us, they put anyone over the age of 25 to shame over on Tik Tok (iykyk) and some of them are inventing life changing products. You'll probably need to scroll down and read about Dasia Taylor to get this!
In addition to really smart kids, this week we're covering the #handsoffmyhijab movement, women of colour reclaiming their names and Mama Africa. You will feel the inspiration coming at you through the screen as you read this week's newsletter.
So, let's get glowing!
#handsoffmyhijab And The Sustainable Fashion Movement
The Women Speaking Up Against The French Senate Vote For The Hijab Ban
The French Senate has voted to ban girls under 18 from wearing the hijab in public, under the “anti-separatism” bill. If the bill is passed, mothers with a hijab will also not be able to accompany their children on school trips.
Women are fighting back on the proposed ban. Lebanese author, Najwa Zebian tweeted "... Forcing a woman to wear a hijab is wrong. Just like forcing her to take it off is wrong. It’s HER choice.”
Hijabi influencers from all over the world are also leveraging their platforms to push back on the ban. Using the hashtag #handsoffmyhijab they are sharing why a ban could be harmful to hijabi women and highlight how it could lead to deeper divisions for minorities in western countries.
Women Of Colour Are Advancing The Sustainable Fashion Movement
The sustainable fashion movement has been gaining momentum the past few years. What's not to love about it? Advocating for a better fashion industry that cares for its garment workers and the planet - we are here for it!
Maggie Zhou recently covered 10 BIPOC women from around the world who are making their voices heard in the sustainability space for Fashion Journal Magazine.
The article features some incredible women like Aditi Mayer from the US who focuses on sustainability and decolonizing fashion, and Jess Molina from New Zealand, who advocates for size and racial diversity.
You'll be inspired and interrogating the contents of your wardrobe after reading this piece!
You Need Add This Jewellery To Your Collection...
OMA THE LABEL. Founded by Neumi Anekhe in 2018, OMA is focussed on challenging homogenous industry standards, while creating quality and affordable pieces.
Anekhe was driven to create OMA because she saw a need for more brands representing people of colour. She wanted to help diversify the markets and shake up the typical imagery that we see in fashion today.
- “I’m taking back what’s mine” - Thandiwe Newton has reclaimed the original spelling of her name. The actress was known as Thandie Newton for more than 30 years after the 'w' was dropped from her first acting credit. She's now setting the record straight, and will be credited with her name spelled correctly in all future projects.
- Inspired by Newton, the actress previously known as Tanya Fear has reclaimed her full name too! She tweeted: “My full name is Tanyaradzwa - which means ‘we have been comforted’, I was named this because I was born the year my grandfather died.”
- Canva's valuation has hit $19 billion (AUD)! The Australian graphic design startup was founded in 2013 and aims to allow anyone to easily design products. CEO and co-founder of Canva, Melanie Perkins, was named the third richest woman and youngest billionaire in Australia in 2020 (#girlpower). She was born in Perth to an Australian mother and Malaysian father of Filipino and Sri-Lankan descent.
- Danielle Kwateng is the new Executive Editor at Teen Vogue. She's been at Teen Vogue for two years as the entertainment and culture director. Kwateng told readers that the magazine plans to "evolve with our readers, because we can’t be the young person’s guide to saving the world without you”. Her appointment follows the resignation of former editor Alexi McCammond after those tweets resurfaced.
- Mandeep Kaur, the first India-born female police officer in New Zealand shares how she overcame cultural barriers for gender equality. Kaur first realised her identity was not dependent on whose daughter or wife she was, and that she was free to create her own success, at the age of 27. “I know if I didn’t push myself, I couldn’t achieve anything." You can read her inspiring story here.
- Aboriginal actress Shareena Clanton is speaking out about her experiences of racism on the set of Neighbours. Clanton and fellow Aboriginal actor Meyne Wyatt have called out the Australian soap opera's production company for its “non response” to claims of racism on set. Slanton says it was "traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe space". An independent review has been launched to look into the matter.
Kids These Days ... They're Smarter Than Us!
17 year old Dasia Taylor invented game changing, colour changing sutures
Sutures are the threads used by doctors to close wounds to skin or other tissues (yes, we had to google to find out what a suture is!).
Anyway ... Taylor realised there was a gap in the suture market. In the US, sutures are covered in a conductive material that senses the status of a wound and can pick up any changes (e.g. an infection). The sutures relay any changes to doctors and patients via computers and smartphones. But these “smart” sutures are less accessible to people in developing countries.
So, Taylor's colour changing sutures were born! Using beetroot as a dye, Taylor's suture thread changes colour from bright red to dark purple when a wound becomes infected. Game changing!
The Iowa City West High School student won a state science fair and became a finalist in a national competition for her invention. She's now eyeing up a patent.
If this wasn't enough to make you question all your life choices, we'll remind you of Gitanjali Rao. The 15 year old was TIME Magazine's 'Kid of the Year' in 2020 for her impressive inventions. We won't be surprised to see Taylor as the 2021 'Kid of the Year'! Seriously, kids these days ...
The Empress Of African Song
Miriam Makeba, aka 'Mama Africa' was one of the first African musicians to receive worldwide recognition. But she had it tough the first few years of her life
Born in Johannesburg in 1932, Makeba faced a lot of difficulties growing up. Her father died when she was young, and Makeba was forced to work to help support her family.
She had a brief and abusive first marriage at the age of 17 and survived breast cancer.
Despite the hardships she faced as a child, Makeba knew that "music was a type of magic" that could elevate her from the poverty that surrounded her
Her vocal talent had been recognized when she was a child, she sang at school and church.
She began her music career in 1950. Makeba performed a mix of jazz, traditional African melodies, and Western popular music with the Skylarks (an all women group), the Cuban Brothers and the Manhattan Brothers.
The key to her international success was a small singing part in the film Come Back Africa. When the film was finished she was invited to attend a screening at the 1959 Venice film festival, where she became an instant celebrity!
Makeba used her voice and platform to campaign against South Africa's apartheid system
She was responsible for popularising many anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues" which refers to the children's protests and the resulting massacre in the 1976 Soweto uprising.
Makeba also used her high profile to became a spokesperson for Africans living under oppressive governments, particularly for black South Africans living under apartheid. She testified against apartheid before the UN in 1962 and 1964.
Many of Makeba's songs were banned within South Africa, leading to her records being distributed underground, and even her apolitical songs being seen as subversive.
To much of the world, Makeba reflected a level of statesmanship that verged on saintliness. "There [was] nobody in Africa who made the world more aware of what was happening in South Africa than Miriam Makeba."
One Lioness To Another
“Dreams and reality are opposites. Action synthesizes them.”