Disney’s Iwájú: The Power of Afrofuturism

In 2017, Tolu Olowofoyeku, Hamid Ibrahim, and Fikayo Adeola, three friends from Nigeria and Uganda, found Kugali Media. Their vision was to create a pan-African media company aimed at telling stories of the African continent by Africans. They created a sci-fi Afrofuturistic comic-book called “Iwájú,” which roughly translates to “the future” in the West African language of Yoruba. 3 years later, in December of 2020, Disney announced a partnership with the company; it will be adapting the comic book into a science fiction animated series for Disney+ coming out in 2022. The show is to be set in Lagos, Nigeria and will explore issues like “class, innocence, and challenging the status quo”–themes all too relevant today.

WRITTEN BY: Lucy

Dear Gen Z, AAVE is not “Internet Slang.”

“It’s the AAVE for me,” “Chile, anyways,” “We been knew,” “Finna,” “Periodt, “No cap,” Well, aside from being ingrained in “Internet culture” and often incorrectly referred to as “Gen Z slang,” “internet lingo” or “stan language,” they’re all rooted in AAVE – African American Ventricular English. AAVE is an established, recognized system of linguistics and a dialect of English natively spoken by Black communities, notably in the United States and Canada.

WRITTEN BY: Cil

Register for the Women of Color Conference!

2021 is finally here and #ItsOurYear! The Women of Color Conference is giving girls the tools to live up to this claim. Through career panels, grants, and mentorship programs, we aim to inspire young women to never limit themselves, but instead to reach for the stars and land among them. Through our conference community, we’ll remind them that no matter what they’ve gone through in 2020, they can use their voice to illuminate a brighter future. 2021 is the year of the black and brown girl; it’s the year for us all to be loud, make change, and thrive.

Diversity in Disney: A Tale as Old as Time

Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. These are all classic stories that were brought to life by the Walt Disney Studios. For almost a century, they have dazzled audiences old and young with these tales of fantasy. But what do they all have in common? Their stories are centered on thin white beauties. This is not to claim there is an issue with that, but when you look at the expanseous vault of Disney movies, you can easily deduce that characters of color are painfully absent.

WRITTEN BY: Evie Fitzpatrick

Black History Month

Black History Month started at a Chicago festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved people. Carter Woodson observed this festival, and opened up a Black history booth during the 3 week duration of the celebration. Soon after the festival ended, he decided to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (Now changed to Association for the Study of African American Life and History).

AI, Racism, and Society

In a fiery spoken-word piece performed by Joy Buolamwini, she asks artificial intelligence a simple question: “Often forgetting to deal with// Gender, race, and class, again I ask Ain’t I a Woman?” This sentiment rings true as visuals play of multiple high profile black women, such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Serena Williams, being misidentified by various facial recognition software. The AI jumps to the conclusion that they are all men. This situation is evidence of underlying racial bias, and it’s not an isolated incident; racial bias is persistent in AI.
WRITTEN BY: Lucy Damachi

Why Mental Health Issues Disproportionately Affect the LGBTQIA+ Community

4.5% of adults in the US identify as LGBTQIA+ as of 2017. 39% of those people suffer from mental health issues – that is 5.8 million people. It is really important to know that identifying as LGBTQIA+ is NOT a mental illness or disorder. Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity. People who identify differently than the majority of the population fall under the term LGBTQIA+. Although being LGBTQIA+ is absolutely not a mental illness, more LGBTQIA+ people experience mental health problems than their “straight” counterparts. This is mostly due to the shame, fear, discimination, and traumatic events they have to face due to how they identify. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Many people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are also part of other marginalized communities. This adds the potential for xenophobia, racism, ableism, ageism, sexism, and much more to homophobia or transphobia they already have to face.

WRITTEN BY: Eliza Cline