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The Diaspora Experience: Telling Our Own Stories, Aaraf Adam

Aaraf Adam is a 21-year-old Sudanese- American, Muslim creator, and independent filmmaker. She produces narrative art with intention and heart, with a focus on collaborating with Black artists and storytellers with the aim of uplifting continental and diasporic Black women with emblematic experiences, particularly those in underrepresented communities such as Black Muslim women. Here, she shares her thoughts on the diaspora experience, telling our own stories....

Diaspora: the exodus of a people from their original homeland. To be of the diaspora is to long for your homeland, to seek knowledge of your ancestors, to bridge the gap between where you came from and where you are, and to piece together the hidden gems. Often, diaspora children do this through art, seeking and exploring their rich history and using art as an outlet for their pain. The agony of being evicted from your home, the agony of feeling inauthentic in your own identity.

Art allows us to create our own safe space in which to tell our stories. Whether it's through painting, song recitation, visual arts, or dancing. It serves as a channel. It is a form of free therapy that also serves as a relaxation technique.

Before coming to this conclusion, I had to look in the mirror and honestly recognize myself, after which I had to appraise my worth. To bask in your light, you must first identify it. With the goal of becoming one with oneself and closer to Allah. Following that reflection, I became aware of the scarcity of forums dedicated to encouraging diaspora women. Black Muslim women, in particular. As a result, I decided to start my own, KanSuda. Suda, as in Sudan; Kan, as in Kandaka (Black/African, Nubian queen); ( African diaspora representation, underrepresented country in the art world). I founded a creative agency that collaborated with Black artists and storytellers, with the name originating in my heritage as a Sudanese woman. We champion continental and diasporic Black women with iconic stories, especially those from underserved communities like Black Muslim women. KanSuda represents a global network of artists dedicated to incorporating meaning into their work. Through artistic expression, we promote positive change, growth, and eventually relay the power and skills of the Black community.

The ability to see oneself holistically and elevate is the beauty of our existence. This necessitates the use of storytelling. Existence necessitates the telling of a story. By forming a community of shared experiences and sentiments, telling one's story validates another's experience. We all want to be respected and loved, but we often forget that we must first respect and love ourselves. Remember that you can only affirm yourself when you look in the mirror. You are someone's legacy.

Knowing the worth of our tale is the power of our identity. By recognizing and reclaiming our identity and basking it in the light of our self-awareness and grandeur, we may be the narrators of our own stories. It is always up to the individual to determine which path they wish to take and what their genuine intentions are. We reclaim our freedom, beginning with the freedom of self; to transcend is to belong to oneself.

Many people believe that changing your suffering, trauma, and story into something beautiful is impossible. When I write, I write to myself to promote a story that I believe I should live by. To use that motivation and strength to help others, particularly Black Muslim women, to discover their voice.

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The views of the artists, authors and writers who contribute to Bayt Al Fann do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bayt Al Fann, its owners, employees and affiliates.


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