Editor Jameela Elfaki, is a woman of colour with Sudanese and English heritage, 23-year-old London-based photographer. A student at London’s Central Saint Martins art school. She introduces this first issue with the intention to empower, but not to offend. “I’ve always looked out for them but there were never any publications that specifically featured and represented women from the Middle East and North Africa, or women of colour,” she says. A frustration that led her to found the magazine AZEEMA, a publication that fuses fashion shoots with opinion features and interviews with inspiring women of colour. “It was important to create a magazine that was knowledgeable and understanding of Islamic faith, Arab and African culture. It also had to be a true reflection of the young women it represented.”
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Jameela is confident of AZEEMA’s place in the world. “I’ve been contacted by a number of young women who want to participate in the next issue and others have reached out to tell me how inspired and happy they are that the magazine even exists,” she recalls. “I’ve always struggled with understanding and accepting my heritage fully and finding my identity – this journey helped me to feel closer to my culture.”
Jameela revealed that AZEEMA magazine aims to challenge oppressive beauty ideals created by the media. It also gives people a voice to share their stories and come together to make a change by creating empowering works. “If AZEEMA helps young women struggling with identity issues, helps girls who are finding their heritage or family values confusing, or helps to deal with issues surrounding beauty ideals, then I have accomplished something.”