WHM: Vantablackness – Shaking Things up

American Muslims comprise a spectrum of people from numerous races, ethnicities, nationalities, etc.  Also, there are contentious issues involving gender. Consequently, the American Ummah is constantly in a state of socio-cultural transformations that include people willing to push against the status quo and highlight issues, and the people affected by them, many may consider uncomfortable.  The vantablack Muslimaat featured like to shake things up and get people thinking.

IMG_1285Amina Wadud

Amina Wadud has a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and Arabic and is a visiting Scholar at Starr King School for Ministry in Berkely, California and a visiting consultant on Islam and gender at the International Centre for Islam and Pluralism in Indonesia.

Wadud authored several books on women, gender and Islam,  including Inside the Gender Jihad and Qur’an and Woman, now available in 7 translations. A core member of Sisters in Islam, Malaysia since 1989, Dr. Wadud contributed the theological basis for the organization in its earliest stages of development. She continues to combine academia and activism; progressive Islam and spirituality in her work.

She continues to travel extensively providing consultation on areas related to Islam and Pluralism and is an expert on the theology of Islam and gender equality. She is doing research on knowledge production and gender in Islam.

Wadud caused a stir of controversy when she led a mixed prayer in 2005, which served as a catalyst for conversations about gender roles and leadership in an Islamic context.  Many may have disagreed with her decision, but by making it, she forced Muslims across the country and globally to think instead of relying on assumptions about worship and Muslim women. Vantablackness doesn’t have time to deal with generalizations!

Visit Amina’s:

  • Twitter – @aminawadud
  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dr.aminawadud2/

zara jZara J.

Bestselling author Zara J. began her career as an Urban fiction writer. She then launched her publishing company and started writing Muslim fiction novels with the objective of giving the world a glimpse into Muslim courtship experiences in the West.  Her debut Muslim Fiction novel Dowry Divas became an Amazon Bestseller within 24 hours of release. Zara J. prides herself on creating exciting, dramatic tales that non-Muslims can enjoy as well.

In addition to writing novels, Zara J. is founder and president of Black Muslims Singles Society, a matchmaking service.  According to the matchmaking website,  “is a way to bring together men and women who are not only looking to meet other singles, but also want to build and bridge professional gaps within the black Muslim culture. The Society serves as a web of opportunity to connect with many black Muslims in different industries, events, and information to directly improve black Muslim life.”

The service also has a blog with advice articles like “3 Tips for Marrying someone with debt,” “Black Men Need to Travel, here’s why…” and “5 Quick Ways to Not Be a Jerk in the New Year.”

Zara J.’s Black Muslim Singles is the first to focus on and American Muslim demographic whose members are prone to experiencing racism and anti-Blackness, especially in the area of courtship and matrimony.  She uses her vantablackness to operate a FUBU service that reduces the stigmatizations related to being Black and Muslim and opens spaces for self-love and appreciation in Black Muslim communities.  We need more of this!

Visit Zara’s:

  • Blogs – http://www.blackmuslimsinglessociety.com/
  • Twitter – @ZaraJMatchmake
  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Zarajmatchmaking * https://www.facebook.com/BlackMuslimSinglesSociety/

UmmjUmm Juwayriyah

Umm Juwayriyah (Maryam A.Sullivan) is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts and is a second generation American Muslim public educator, business owner, and storyteller. She holds a Bachelors degree with honors from Bay Path University, a Masters of Arts degree with honors from Regis University, where she is currently a doctoral student.

She is the author of Tried & Tested, The Size of a Mustard Seed,  Hind’s Hands ~ A Story About Autism, and The Princess and the Good Deed. Umm Juwayriyah was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Award from Holyoke Community College and a Spirit Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Her writing and short stories were featured in  Muslim and non-Muslim publications around the world. She is also the Editor-in-Chief for the New England Muslim Women’s Association and the founder of the literary initiative #MuslimGirlsRead, a campaign to promote reading among Muslim girls in American and around the world.

Like many vantablack Muslim women, Umm Juwayriyah is all about supporting and amplifying. She is a proponent of Muslim authors asserting unapologetic voices in their work.

Visit Umm Juwayriyah’s:

  • Blogs – http://ummjuwayriyah.blogspot.com/
  • Twitter – @UmmJuwayriyah1
  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Author.UmmJuwayriyah/

Kameelah Janan RasheedKameelah Janan Rasheed

Conceptual artist and activist Kameelah Janan Rasheed uses her artistry to highlight experiences of homelessness through archival installations that map conversations between found material culture, ephemeral historical residue, personal objects, self-authored books and original photography. Rasheed has a BA in Public Policy and Africana Studies from Pomona College, an Ed.M  in Secondary Education from Stanford University and is a Fullbright Scholar. She was a Keyholder Resident at the Lower East Side Printshop and conducts archival research on early 20th-century Black religious movements through the Triple Canopy Commissions at New York Public Library.

Rasheed participated in the  PICA Creative Exchange Lab this past fall. She is preparing for several shows opening in New York and Boston through 2017. Currently, she is an artist in residence at Smack Mellon.

The popular self-love “Flexin My Complexion” movement came from Rasheed’s  STRAIGHT FLEXIN’/Flexin’ My Complexion //

After Rasheed tweeted her work with the hashtag #FlexinMyComplexion,@PoCBeauty gave it a signal boost, and the hashtag became a movement with over 85,000 tweets in a week.  Black and PoC continue to post with the hashtag to express their confidence in their skin tones. In true vantablackness, Rasheed used vantablackness to foster personal esteem and self-worth.
Visit Umm Kameelah’s:
  • Blogs – http://www.kameelahr.com/
  • Twitter – @_kameelahr
  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kameelahr
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