Weekly Tip #9: Have Initiative

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These Weekly Tips are a reflective elaboration from my speech at the 2016 Muslim Women’s Literary Conference: “Just Let Me Bee: Finding Your Creative Niche”

The bee flies far away from her hive to pollinate the flowers. She’s a forager…a gleaner. She comes bringing the dawah; she doesn’t wait and say “bring the flower to me”. She has initiative. And she’s not afraid to go the extra mile. I have recently been reflecting on representation in movies. Virtually every movie and TV show that my family watches is lacking diversity as we see it in the world, especially as it relates to the main characters and protagonists. It’s slowly changing with the #diversevoices and #ownvoices movements–I’ve seen a lot more mixed families and representation of many different hues of browns, but in general, our children aren’t seeing themselves. For instance, when was the last time you saw a Muslim child or teenager on the big screen or in mainstream programming? Or even a Jewish one? Or an underrepresented Christian population? Hindu? Buddhist? A Black Hispanic who is actually playing a Hispanic role? Paint the world with your beauty and your beautiful colors and spirit, whether it’s through art, literature, film, or drama. Our children need to see themselves represented. So we must represent ourselves. And this requires going the extra mile. The flowers don’t fly to us; we must fly to the flowers. Where’s the Muslim film industry? What can trying hurt? What can you lose with trying? Whereas with not even trying, you lose everything. Have initiative and go the extra mile. Who knows where you’ll land when you simply just reach?

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