7 October 2017

a long blog post about my favorite woc artists

There are a few factors that make this online world feel more like home, one of them is being able to connect with my fellow artists and creators. I sometimes wonder how we've grown from being a minority to a niche in just a couple of years. When I started using a blogging website (which is now dead) back in 2011, I thought there were no other Pakistanis on the web. But we're growing, day by day, each post at a time. I came across wonderful women who never fail to inspire me. I still remember I was shit scared to upload a picture of myself in hijab or dupatta, in case I might be targeted for being too Muslim. And now, I call myself a "Muslim artist" for a living now. 

What motivates me more than anything to be myself on the internet is the presence of my absolute favorite artists, mostly women of color. The girl who inspired me to come out of my shell and be a proud Muslim fashionista is Hoda Katebi, a Muslim-Iranian fashion blogger from Chicago. I am able to write about the incomprehensible tragedies of my everyday life because Warsan Shire and her work exist. And recently, when I saw two of my other favorites under attack for their work, I was truly mad.

Dina Tokio is one of the women I truly admire. I came across her on youtube about two years ago when my twin and I were binge watching Muslimah youtubers. It was a q/a video of her with her husband and the fact that she married a Pakistani man was so amusing that we subscribed to her channel (also followed on instagram, facebook & twitter) It took me two more months to be completely obsessed with everything about her personality. I truly respect her ways and how raw and original she is on her social media. Sometimes I see her being hated for wearing her turban hijab the way she wears it and it saddens me that how intolerant others are towards online creators, especially when the abusers are other Muslims. Another woman's hijab is not your problem, brothers and sisters, prepare for your own jannah (or jahannam).

Last night I realized that Dina Tokio was being abused for releasing her new t-shirt line because one of her tees said "Extremist".
Here's a story: I once wore a shirt (it was sent by a company to promote their line) that said "psycho" and uploaded it on my instagram and BOOM! it blew up. I started getting comments and messages that I was being an ablest and I should delete the picture. The problem was that I couldn't do that, I had made a contract to a company that I was to keep that picture up because I was also keeping the shirt. That was ugly. It was a sensitive topic and I didn't want to hurt anyone but I did, unintentionally, and it killed me. It was a goddamn mistake. Dina made a similar mistake. If I wasn't a psycho, I shouldn't be wearing a shirt that said so. If Dina isn't an extremist, she SHOULDN'T be wearing or promoting or designing shirts that say so. Extremist is a dangerous word, not just for Muslims but for people from other religions as well. People who are actually extremists are ruining countries and lives. And Muslims in most countries, especially in USA & UK, cannot afford to be associated with this word these days. It might cost them their lives. \

I still respect and love Dina the same, I don't mind if she made a controversial shirt because I've been through the whole thing by myself. If you're trying to bring her down because of a mistake, it’s foolish. Everyone makes mistakes and internet is cruel enough for us. Try to be tolerant of others and if you're an artist of color yourself, you should be more supportive.

The other one is Rupi Kaur. My twin and I love her work and we spent hours in two cities to find and buy her book. I don't agree with some of her pieces but I definitely am super proud of how far she has come. She has not only made poetry accessible for people who never bothered to understand it before but she is also a hope for other writers, especially for South Asian creators. You can't ~explain~ poetry to someone, it means different things to everybody. To me, it's a fancy arrangement of rhythmic words and I like poetry that slices through my skin and gets to my veins. And I like poetry that punches me in my stomach. Some of her poems made me feel that way and I'll forever love her for that.

She's been a target of online hate for quite a long time now because her work doesn't agree with the normal poetry writing style. You can open twitter and search her name and you'll see how salty some of the users are when it comes to Rupi's work. I have a big problem with it because my own sister (who writes poetry herself) was a target of bullies on twitter just because she wrote her poem on a tiled wall and some people didn’t like that fact, mainly because it looked like a "bathroom wall". 

Truth be told, I'm in awe of Rupi because she found a style and stuck with it even after all the hate and negativity she had to go through. It worked for her, the arrangements of words and placement of her illustrations with them, and she has made a shit ton of money out of her work. It's utterly impressive and should be motivating other writers to come out and present what their true work style is like even if they fear it might not be admired much by others. If Rupi is helping to make poetry a mainstream thing, I think academics should be glad because this generation needs more of it.

What do you think of Dina Tokio & Rupi Kaur drama? Would love to know your opinions as well!


post signature

No comments:

Post a Comment

Whoop! Your comment makes my day!