The (In)Visibility of Black Muslim Womanhood with Vanessa Taylor


Manage episode 287005006 series 2867605
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“As a Black Muslim woman, it gets very exhausting to exist in a world that projects onto you.” In this episode, Vanessa Taylor, a Philadelphia-based writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of the Drinking Gourd, a Black Muslim literary magazine, discusses the paradox of Black Muslim womanhood - being simultaneously hypervisible and invisible. Within that nuance, Black Muslim women carve out spaces where they embrace their multiple identities as Black, Muslim, and women while resisting the impulse of others to reduce their multi-dimensionality. Vanessa chats about this spirit of resistance: how Black Muslims challenge anti-Blackness within the Muslim community and Islamophobia within the Black community, and how she, as a Black Muslim woman, navigates her multiple identities to take up space and create spaces where she and other Black Muslim women can thrive.

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Topics Covered:

  • Why Vanessa converted to Islam
  • The history of government surveillance of Black Muslims and Islamophobia in the United States
  • The paradox of hypervisibility and invisibility of Black Muslims
  • How Muslims have created their own spaces to resist surveillance
  • Questions of authenticity and legitimacy of Black Muslimhood
  • Anti-Blackness within the Muslim community
  • How Black Muslim women navigate their multiple identities (race, gender, religion) to take up and create their own space
  • Defining modest fashion and Black women’s contributions to modest fashion
  • The co-optation of Black Muslim style
  • Why Vanessa developed the Drinking Gourd
  • The meaning of the title the Drinking Gourd
  • How Vanessa breaks concrete

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