February marks Black History Month. This month is a time to reflect on the prominent Black individuals that made history fighting for justice, such as, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali. While these well known figures are recognized for their work towards civil rights and achieving justice, Black women are not as widely recognized.
Here are 5 Black Muslim women that are currently breaking boundaries in their industries.
1. Halima Aden
(Yu Tsai, Sports Illustrated)
Halima Aden is a Somali American model changing the world of fashion. Aden became the first hijabi to be featured in Sports Illustrated and fashion magazines alike. Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, Aden has redefined the definition of a fashion model as a hijabi. She continuously proves that the hijab does not restrict Muslim women from expressing themselves creatively through fashion. She has not sacrificed her modest ideals to obtain jobs in the fashion industry and continues to show the beauty of hijab to the world from the runway to the front pages of magazines.
2. Ilhan Omar
( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Like Aden, congresswoman Ilhan Omar grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing Somalia. Her experience as a refugee hasn’t stopped her from fighting for justice and making sure minorities are represented in Congress. Serving as a U.S House representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, Omar has fought against the Muslim Ban and is not afraid to convey her disagreement with the Trump administration when she believes justice is jeopordized. Omar has made history by being one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress and continues to serve as an example for Muslim girls around the country who aspire to serve their communities in Washington, D.C.
3. Ibtihaj Muhammad
(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)
Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first Muslim American women that has competed in the Olympics for the United States in a hijab. Muhammad earned an olympic medal in sabre fencing and shows Muslim girls around the world that the hijab does not stop individuals from pursuing their goals, especially in sports. Muhammad can be seen in Nike ads and in Time magazine for making history in the 2016 Olympics for being her genuine self, an African American hijabi, Muslim fencer.
4. Astuanta Niang
Astuanta Niang is a Senegalese American teen that is making thousands of individuals laugh on the trending app Tik Tok. Her hilarious skits and jokes about being a Senegalese American Muslim women convey to her audience the normal life many Muslims in America live, humanizing muslims and hijabis. Her funny videos help Tik Tok users unfamiliar with Islam let go of the stereotypes about Muslims, as they learn that many American Muslims are normal people that live very similar lives.
5. Neelam Hakeem
(Dillon Ivory and Marquis Henri, Vogue Arabia)
A convert to Islam, Neelam Hakeem is an African American beauty blogger and rapper with over 400,000 followers on instagram. Besides sharing fashion and makeup tips, Hakeem is an inspiring rapper. Going by her first name, Neelam raps about social justice, women’s rights, and political issues to bring light to important issues. It is not common to see a Muslim women rap, but Neelam Hakeem shows that women who look like her have the ability to rap and share their opinions on prominent issues in our society.