The August-September Edition of the New African Woman is out now, and it’s another double delight with two Covers graced by BAFTA-Awards winning filmmaker and director Amma Asante and US actress Teyonah Parris, as the magazine launches its own Call-To-Action against harmful traditional practices and gender-based violence in Africa, beginning with a spotlight on African female voices against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Women in male-dominated fields
Continuing with its new series highlighting Black/African women excelling in male-dominated fields, one of the Covers features the Bafta award winner – Ghanaian/British Film Director Amma Asante.
Asante will this October, open the highly prestigious and coveted BFI London Film Festival with her upcoming new film A United Kingdom. She will become the first ever black person to do so in the 60-year BFI history.
“A United Kingdom is a controversial and complex love story Seretse Khama coming to England to study, enduring racism, falling in love with a white woman, and taking her back to be his queen… the couple defied family, apartheid and Empire,” she tells New African Woman in a wide-ranging interview in which she also touches about her personal experience and endurance of racism, growing up in the United Kingdom: “I remember my mum sometimes coming home with spit on her back. I remember the shit through the letterbox. I remember that we used to have to lay trays in front of our letterbox when we went to sleep. …You realise that we are consigned to repeat the problems of our past if we don’t make a change”
Asante is indeed without doubt one of the few award-winning filmmakers and directors with a passion to tell the stories of black people, which have often been erased from popular culture. Her 2013 award-feted film Belle starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, received high acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
A United Kingdom stars Nigerian actor David Oyelowo and the English actress Rosamund Pike.
I remember my mum sometimes coming home with spit on her back. I remember the shit through the letterbox
And with the unstoppable rise of the natural Afro hair movement, the second Cover features American actress and Afro-naturalista Teyonah Parris. In an exclusive interview with the magazine, the Dear White People and Chi-Raq actress stresses on the importance of self love and acceptance saying:
“Everyone has a different reason for going back to natural hair. For some it’s a political statement, for others it’s a social statement. For me, it was really about self-acceptance…I would like young women to know that you don’t have to look like anything or what anybody says you should look like. You can look like yourself just like God made you. You’re unique! You don’t have to bend, lighten and straighten to look like somebody else.” Teyonah Parris
Her interview is followed up with an A-Z guide on of nearly everything about natural Afro hair.
I would like young women to know that you don’t have to look like anything or what anybody says you should look like. You can look like yourself just like God made you.
Harmful Traditional Practices
The magazine is launching this new series to highlight the dangers of some traditional practices still rife in African societies. This issue spotlights Female Genital Mutilation with a call to action.
Acting now is precisely what some of the formidable women the magazine features with a lead interview with the respected women’s rights campaigner Somaliland’s Edna Adan Ismail.
“FGM is against the teachings of Islam. Sometimes people try to attribute FGM to religious obligations. Our prophet [Muhammad] had daughters, and they were not circumcised. That is proof that it is not a religious requirement,” she tells NAW in a broad interview against the practice she has been fighting for over 40 years.
Adding to her voice is that of 24-year-old Gambian new face of women’s rights activism Jaha Dukureh, who moved the audience, which included Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, close to tears at the inaugural United State of Women conference at which she pointedly said: “Violence on women stems from society’s refusal to accept women and girls as whole and human – instead they are seen as properties and objects moulded into their desire.”
A change of this mindset is more crucial now than ever before, emphasises the New African Woman magazine.
Sometimes people try to attribute FGM to religious obligations. Our prophet [Muhammad] had daughters, and they were not circumcised
And of course, the issue is complete with its trademark fashion, culture and health and wellbeing section. In line with the Olympics fever, an analysis sign-posting readers to African female athletes to watch nicely concludes its back pages.
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