ISSUE 1 of Ina’Xaashi explores the subjectivity of identity and belonging for second-generation Somali diaspora, beginning with a personal essay by me on the relationship between my British experience and Somali heritage and how the dirac (traditional Somali dress) has come to symbolise a key part of my own journey.
Broadening the conversation, I’m delighted to present my first series of interviews with Somali diaspora women on how they choose to present their identity to the world and the interplay between their Western and Somali influences. I’m also excited to feature a discussion with writer Hanna Ali on her new book “The Story of Us” in which her characters negotiate the borders between the familial Somali household and Britain on the outside, and a Canadian artist whose digital selfie art explores visibility from a Somali woman’s perspective.
Finally, my opinion pieces “2018: The Rise of Scoring Identity By Popularity” and “Why Asking Where I’m ‘Really’ From Is Ignorant and Low-Key Racist” seek to place some of the themes raised in this first issue within their wider topical context and challenge the problematic discourse surrounding national identity when it comes to non-white members of Western societies.
A special thanks to all the incredible Somali women who agreed to take part in my interview series and model my diracs, and my endlessly talented writer and photographer friend Peter Arkley Bloxham for the great pictures (which feature on the homepage), guidance on my writing and cups of tea along the way. For more of his photography, check out @peterarkleybloxham on Instagram.