Muslim Feminist

Ep 3: Learning From Failure With RV Mendoza

Honey Bunches of Oats, 

 

The long awaited episode three is here, and we have my Leo twin, queer Filipino pop star by night and software programmer by day and of course, Emotional Intelligence Diva, RV Mendoza! I usually don't like other Leos because they are extra af. But, the first day I met RV, it was love at first sight. He's such a sweetheart, a bad ass performer, and amazing songwriter. 

In this episode, we talk about learning from personal failures and how they can lead to success, imposter syndrome, and deflecting negative voices. 

Listen to the gems being dropped in this episode, and don't forget to give RV some love by following him on Instagram: RVXMENDOZA and listen to some of his jams on his SoundCloud and twerk to his music. HA. And, if you wnat to support him, head over to his Patreon.  

After you've listened, join in on the conversation: what failures have you been through and what have you learned from it? 

 

xoxo,

 

Leah V

Episode 1: Body Confidence with Etta Flyy

On Episode 1 of Respectfully Messy with Leah V, we have the dopest, most coolest, most flyy-est guest to pop this podcast's cherry, Detroit's own, Etta Flyy. She's 1/2 of the creative minds behind Naturally Flyy, Detroit's premiere and largest natural hair expo encouraging women to be who they are naturally starting with their hair. 

Today, we are talking about the highs and lows of body-confidence and what it's like to be a woman in a society that constantly tells you that you ain't enough. 

After you listen, we'd love to hear your thoughts. What's your take on body-confidence? Was there are a time where you just wasn't feeling yourself and fell prey to the pressures of unattainable societal beauty standards? 

Let's keep the conversation going! 

Check Etta Flyy out on Instagram. And, you can find me @Lvernon2000, where the shenanigans continues. 

 

xoxo,

 

Leah V 

Inclusion: The Perception of Perfection in Islam

Photos Courtesy of  Eric Puschak

Photos Courtesy of Eric Puschak

Recently, I’ve been politely shunned because of the kinds of videos I make and the kinds of things I say aren’t ‘halal’ enough for Islamic audiences. I’ve also been outright told by another Islamic organization that I “don’t meet the needs for their current student body” and was denied a speaking engagement. Times like these I want to move further away from so-called Islamic organizations and communities.

Because I talk about bikini waxing, I’m not Muslim enough.

Because I talk about dating, I’m not Muslim enough.

Because I wear tight jeans and turbans, I’m not Muslim enough.

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Ever since I was a young, Black Muslimah, I’ve always felt displaced. No matter how hard I tried to outwardly appear Muslim and fit in, it was never enough to just believe. To the Arab-speaking Muslims, I wasn’t Arab so I was immediately dismissed. They wouldn’t give me salaams even though I’d offer it first or embrace me like they would other Arabs. I was ignored, pushed to the side. When I was in the Black Muslim communities, I hadn’t covered my face with niqab or wore black all the time, so to them I wasn’t Muslim enough because I was chasing the Dunya.

I’d go to the mosque seeking spiritual cleansing just to be stared down for wearing pants or bright colors or nail polish. I’d been told that my prayers weren’t going to be accepted. Basically, why are you even praying was what I heard. I always thought that in Islam, you come as you are.        

When I think of Islam, I imagine acceptance and openness and beauty and a sense of calming. Instead, I am met with opposition, fakeness, sexism, and criticism.   

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I’ve been invited to speak at the University of Ottawa next month about Islam and feminism. I was so shocked that Muslims at the collegiate level wanted me to speak about such a taboo topic. I thought that I’d reach out to other Islamic organizations as well and propose to lecture on topics like prejudice, sexism, and feminism within the communities.  

It’s 2017 and with all the community based campaigns that have been going on about tolerance and acceptance, I thought that perhaps some change had occurred.

I’ve emailed about 60 organizations. Not one has accepted my invitation to speak. Will my Black face tarnish the other male speakers or the perfect Middle-eastern or Indian hijabi speakers? Will my turban, red lipstick, and nail polish create a frenzy at your panel discussion?

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It’s funny how I’m too risqué for certain Muslims. What uproar do you see when DJ Khaled partners with Ciroc or when French Montana was dating a Kardashian but was openly fasting during the month of Ramadan or how Nouman Ali Khan was playing the field but still keeping it halal? How interesting that communities want perfect, virgin Muslim women to speak, be in the forefront, but men are judged on an entire different level.

The truth is, I don’t belong. And, I’m not sure if I should be sad about it or liberated. I’m too out there. Too opinionated. Too real for the organizations who like keep up appearances. How sad that we can’t include all Muslims in discussions. Include all Muslims in community campaigns and events. As a Muslim woman, why do other organizations welcome me with open arms? The LGBTQ community, the body positive community, random artists, and loners and the small amount of Muslim sisters who rock with me. With no judgment. They care about my character more than my appearance as a human being.

As for me, I’m going to reach out to other organizations that can handle and will celebrate a fierce, Black Muslim girl.

 

xoxo,

 

Leah V