Through this new launch of the HOLIDAY T-Shirt, HUMAIN still wants to stay proactive in its inclusivity focus, especially during this time. In this campaign, KANI: FACES OF HUMAIN, HUMAIN is paying homage to the Black community and Black Lives Matter movement with an interview I, Caroline, had with Kani Kubari, a Sudanese refugee who is now studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. Combined with the images of the photoshoot, and an array of questions, Kani shares how it has felt for her, personally, to be a black woman in America and her thoughts towards the Black Lives Matter movement. This is Kani's voice.
INTERVIEW WITH KANI:
CAROLINE: Could you begin by telling us about your own relationship to the Black Lives Matter movement?
KANI: As a Black woman living in modern day America, everyday I feel targeted not only for the color of my skin but also for the fact that I am a womxn. The Black Lives Matter movement has been a big part of my life since the birth of the movement. I wasn’t as vocal about it when I was younger and this stemmed from fear and lack of knowledge but now more than ever, I understand that it’s my fight and my duty to help not only me but everyone in my community, and that includes all identities.
C: Describe some of the emotions you have experienced during the recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter protests.
K: When it first hit, I felt helpless, sad, and frustrated. This has been an ongoing fight for years and we’re still fighting it to this day.
C: How are you finding yourself as a Black woman in America?
K: I feel like we’re the most targeted and hated. Sometimes it feels as if we’re fighting the battle on our own.
C: How do you see BLM being misconstrued by the media?
K: There’s many ways I’ve seen it misconstrued but the two ways that have stuck out to me are that it is a terrorist organization and we’re only fighting for the men in our community. Black Lives Matter is not and never will be a terrorist organization. This is a false concept spread around by those threatened by the movement in fear of losing their privilege. BLM is also more than a fight for one entity. There is no BLM without our Trans folx, or women, our LGBTQ folx, or any other intersectionality. BLM is fighting a bigger fight.
C: Studying at one of the top universities in the world, what are some of the most prominent racial obstacles have you overcome in the academic setting?
K: There’s a huge lack of Black presence on campus. We also have to fight for our resources with our small number. We shouldn’t have to beg the institution to care about us. We shouldn’t have to depend on the whole student body to get a Black resource center. Our faces are the first ones plastered everywhere when it comes to diversity but our problems and concerns are the first ones to be silenced.
C: What area(s) do you think white people can go wrong in declaring their “allyship?”
K: Allyship shouldn’t be performative. If you’re not going past the screen to try to change your mindset and advocate for people from disadvantaged communities, then you aren’t being a good ally.
C: How do you personally believe white people can dive deeper in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement?
K: Educate the white people around you. Talk to your friends and family about the movement. Make the uncomfortable comfortable. It shouldn’t just be the Black people educating everyone. Your Black friends are tired.
C: In terms of racial media diversity, how can the fashion industry improve their scope of inclusivity in their branding and marketing?
K: Include people from all different backgrounds, shapes, sizes, identities. Not the ones that fit their eurocentric beauty standards. Black folks come from different scopes of identities. We are tired of the one Black token person the media and fashion industry chooses to portray.
C: What/who are some of your favorite black influencers/Black-owned businesses?
K: Jackie Aina, Nyakim Garwech, Nikki and Duckie Thot.