Author: maya

african-feminism-photography-by-chika-oduah

A Conversation With Nigerian-based Journalist Chika Oduah About Those Stories That Deserve To Be Told

When you hear the word “Africa” what do you see?  Despite it’s cultural vibrancy, those from the outside looking in often only see a faceless dark mass ridden with terror and desolation. Chika Oduah sees colors of all different shades because Africa could never be reduced to anything less than a multifaceted diamond in the rough. She sees the future of a continent that’s incredible strength has been proven through its trials and deserves much more than to be painted with a single brush. Chika artfully pens about her subjects in a way that allows them to breathe a raw energy into her stories. Because after all, it’s theirs to tell and should never be misconstrued. Chika’s articles include stories of culture and stories of change; stories of horror, yes, but also the untold stories of happy endings. She opens the book and articulately tells each one, seeking to eradicate the western myths of the unknown Africa. Through her journalistic work and evocative words, she investigates then illustrates the life and times of Nigeria and beyond. Chika Oduah …

Essence Murjani

Doing Things Our Way, The Black Girl Magic Movement

It’s 2016 and there’s something in the air. A thick, wondrous mystical aura clouds the atmosphere and it appears that the world has been cast by a spell. Word has it that it’s a crazy kind of magic but we’re not talking voodoo. This is a special power that shines through any darkness and it’s called Black Girl Magic. By now the term may ring a bell. The hashtag #BlackGirlMagic has been taken off by storm on all social media platforms, accompanied by gorgeous photos of sistas in all shades of dark doing their thang, and damn do they look good while doing it. The phrase was first coined in 2013 when CaShawn Thompson introduced it as a way to celebrate the fierce willpower of black women, resilient to the impact of an oppressive past that dared to defy their magic. Soon thereafter, T-shirts supporting the campaign were in high demand and stars like Amandla Stenberg strutted the electric words with utmost pride. Dear Black Girl, 💕 Do not be afraid to embrace your roots. …

Muxes of Juchitan

The Muxes of Juchitan: Unapologetically Being Who They Want To Be

While the “machismo” social construct continues to root deeply in Mexican culture, and homophobic sentiment still runs high, it may come as a surprise to hear that the country is also home to one of the most gender-bending societies to date; and it’s allegedly been that way for thousands of years. Nestled near the Guatemalan border and a six hour drive from the southern city of Oaxaca sits the dusty district of Juchitan. Not a lot goes on around here, and from a distance the townspeople appear to pursue the mundane rituals of work life and getting their hair done. It’s not until you notice the extravagant make up, fluttering false eyelashes of the hairdresser and the masculine build beneath her summer dress that you realize something beautiful is going on in Juchitan.     Meet the Muxes. Not woman, nor man, but considered a gender of it’s own. Muxes (pronounced moo-shays) is a term is derived from ancient Zapotec dialect to define the vast community of gay men who choose to dress as women …

food waste featured

Eyes Bigger than Our Stomach: The Perilous Food Waste Regime

Waste not, want not is how the old saying goes. The proverbial ideology that if one were to utilize commodity or resource in a wise manner, they will have enough in the long run. And in theory, it makes sense. However, in an era where suppliers are racing to meet the heightening demands of Western consumers, mama’s motto is lost in the dust. We want more; the bigger the better. Yet as we have the privileged access to a stocked fridge and fast ready meals at our greasy fingertips, we take it for granted, rabidly chewing a whole lot more than we can swallow. Research analysts have discovered that approximately one third of food produced around the world goes uneaten. That’s 1.3 billion tons that is lost or tossed in the dump every year. (source: FAO.org) The United States alone wastes up to 40% of their food, about 60 million metric tons of food that is tossed yearly, with an estimated value of $162 billion. About 40 million metric tons of it end up in municipal landfills, …