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As I was starting to think through the second issue, I felt this pressure to be more provocative, more confessional, and I really tried not to give into that because I think it’s harmful and also, we don’t owe anyone that.
It’s ultimately about creating work that feels honest and true.
We received really positive responses for both of the issues.
We talk about a lot of taboo topics in our zine, and I get the impression that a lot of Somali girls have been able to see themselves in our work.
A lot of the representation that Somali women currently have is pretty harmful and largely objectified. On a broader level, I think we also wanted to fill a gap…we have very few tangible works around Somali diasporic life.
What about all the Somali kids who were either born here or migrated here quite young and had to make sense of themselves and their place in their world in this space?
Especially younger Somali girls who aren’t necessarily tapped into “rad” or pro-Black scenes on social media.
Do you identify as an artist, a poet, a mediamaker, and do you face any obstacles within yourself to identifying that way? I’ve always been a huge nerd; I always excelled at school.
And to be clear, I don’t say that to play into any Orientalist Western conceptions of Muslim rigidity around sex (or Western sexual exceptionalism).We really wanted to capture our realities as second-generation Somali girls, living in urban cities, in beautifully complicated and hood ass neighbourhoods who have a lot of shit on their plates.You’ve described this “magical summer” of you and Sumaya producing the first issue of the zine.Darya (MARG): What are the goals or vision behind producing Somali Semantics for you?Yasmin: The vision is really to allow Somali girls living in the diaspora to see a part of themselves.