On ephemeral sources of hope and friendship

It’s not very versatile. I tried to paint my nails yellow and it looked like pale slush. The polish itself was lumpy, so maybe that was the real problem, but I don’t think so. Yellow and I have always had a complicated relationship. I don’t look good in most shades. I have one yellow t-shirt to my name and with the cheaply sewn checkered patterns that coat the sleeves, it looks like something you would wear to a go-cart race.

Is yellow just a “cheap” colour? A cop-out that’s not enough orange? But, damn, I like it so much better…

A work in progress

I have thought about writing something like this for years, rather than only posting about it on social media. So here are my thoughts on how I, and those some from the same ethnic background as me, can offer our support to the Black Lives Matter movement, and to Black people more personally at this time and in the future.

As Indo-Caribbeans, we have a long legacy of anti-Blackness in our communities. Since the era of indentureship, Indian workers were encouraged by British imperialist to mistrust Black workers, and vice versa. …

‘Talking Black’ doesn’t make you cool. It makes you racist.

A photo of Awkwafina.
A photo of Awkwafina.
Awkwafina attends the 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival — Virtuosos Award held on January 18, 2020 in Santa Barbara, California. Photo: Michael Tran/Getty Images

Cultural appropriation is a racist practice that devalues a culture’s history and language and thus disrespects its origins by claiming something to be your own when it’s not. It’s fairly commonplace, with non-Black people appropriating anything from clothes to hairstyles. But the appropriation and theft of African American Vernacular English, also known as AAVE, particularly by non-Black Asians, is a form of appropriation that isn’t as commonly discussed.

This year, East Asian rapper and actress Nora Lum, known professionally as Awkwafina, gained a lot of criticism for her constant code-switching. When she emerged as a public persona under her stage…

Where do we look for representation?

I grew up on Mean Girls, Clueless, and 10 Things I Hate About You and I have no regrets for knowing all the words to Regina George’s vicious monologues. But I also grew up on Bollywood, and I will always be a fan of 90s superhits with coming of age themes like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. India’s fluffy and often surface-level cinematic universe is huge and powerful, extending to international reach, but its lack of originality means it’s still somewhat of a joke to many audiences. …

Art by Vivian Chambers

At Pizza Pizza, Starbucks, and the photo store down my street, my name is Sara. It’s not a lie. It’s my middle name. It’s easy to spell. It’s “normal.” As I approach 20, I find myself thinking more about what this word “normal” means. A few months ago, I read a three-year-old piece by Toronto writer Shailee Koranne, called, My Name Was Anglicized — But I’m Taking It Back. In this essay, Koranne highlights the microaggressive behaviours that resulted in a passive erasure of her identity. She told students in high school her name was “Shelley,” using Anglicization to achieve…

Gen-Z Needs Suzanne Collins To Answer Some Tough Questions

The Hunger Games arrived five years ago on the cusp of social movements sparked by the next generation of young people, and it could be the perfect time for a comeback of the modern revolutionary classic. A lot of weird things are making a comeback this year. This was the year of the Disney remake, with films like Aladdin, Dumbo, and The Lion King making comebacks in a live-action form that try to find a place within today’s zeitgeist by touching on feminism, animal cruelty, and corrupt leadership respectively. It’s also…

No one will know about my family’s struggle with mental illness because no one will talk about it. Generations have lost this knowledge and now I have only my mother’s half-hearted attempts at storytelling to help me understand my own mind. A slim recount of my grandmother’s breakdown and other such stories. God forbid I repeat them here. It’s not the fault of my family, so I don’t say this with anger. Secrets are expectations passed down over silent years.

My first experience with anxiety was throwing up before preschool and in my kindergarten class. I’ve thrown up at every…

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day,” says Winnie the Pooh in A.A Milne’s classic novel. There we have one of the most important lessons for today’s world. It’s okay to just do nothing sometimes.

When I was three years old I got my first life-sized Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear. I found him on the bottom shelf of the toy section at Walmart, and I haven’t let go since. If I press his belly, he says “there’s a rumbly in my tumbly” or “where’s Piglet?”

I can’t distinctly remember the moment I got my silly…

The future of menstrual education

My grandmother is one of the greatest women I know, but even she fell into the harmful pitfalls of traditionalism. When my mother first got her period, she was chastised and yelled at for having blossomed at such a young age. Eleven was not old enough to be a woman. In Guyana, it was normal to wear rags of cloth stuffed into underwear as pads. So this my mother did, without any guidance, and became accident-prone to spillage at school.

She would never let me have this experience.

My mother first demonstrates the use of a pad when I am…

I was six years old when I realized that Santa Claus wasn’t real, but I told no one. I let everyone in my family believe that I was waiting for the big red bringer of gifts to bestow me with my hopes and dreams. The older I got, the more they expected me to reveal I didn’t believe anymore, but I never did.

When someone in my family finally said, “do you still believe in Santa Claus?” with one of those knowing smiles on their faces, I realized I grew up. …

Hadiyyah Kuma

Fiction writer, poet, and freelancer. Indo-Guyanese. Professional yawner. Twitter @hahadiyyah Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/hadiyyah

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