We cannot begin to express our gratitude for having such a powerful force on our Sol Sisters team. Aisha Fukushima of Raptivism.org. Wet met Aisha after one of her shows in Oakland, CA that literally left us with our jaws on the ground. Aisha's presence on and off the stage is magnetic-everyone that encounters her desires to know her. Good news,. When you DO get to know her, everything you discover is good. Aisha has a positive spirit, an ambitious outlook on life, and as a result, combines these two characteristics to feed her ultimate movement-creating social awareness to global injustices through music.
Aisha, we thank you for who you are. You are not only our honored friend, you are united with us in solidarity which is the basis of sisterhood. We support you in the phenomenal work you do, and we thank you for your willingness to share your story with us and our community. Blessings.
1. Describe what your ethnicity means to you. How has it molded you as a person? What are the difficulties/challenges associated with it?
As a multiracial global citizen it seems that on some level my cultural identity is always evolving and developing. A large part of my life has been spent traveling between racial, ethnic, class-based, intellectual, political, religious, gendered, linguistic and national lines (etc.)--inhabiting a space of in between and allowing me to cultivate a very rich understanding of what it means to be ‘home.’ I think that many of these experiences influence my identity and inspiration as a cultural movement builder as well as an artist who envisions frameworks that build bridges rather than borders.
2. Describe what it means to be a woman in today’s culture? What do you value/love about being a woman? What is the most challenging?
I believe that what it means to be a woman in todays culture varies greatly on the intersectionality of our identities (i.e. how race interplays with gender, religion, locale, etc.). In that sense, it’s difficult for me to really nail down “what it means to be a woman in today’s culture” because there is such a range of experiences among our sol sisters out there.
That said, one thing I love about being a womyn is that I believe that we are the water of the earth because, like water, we are the basis of all life. We embody creativity and show so much courage with our versatile resislance. Like water we can take on many forms and play a key role in keeping the ecosystems of our society not only surviving but thriving. A challenge within that is how our contributions are not always recognized, or at times can be minimized--especially when people are intimidated by our strength. But if the strength of water can smooth rough stones over time, I think that there is hope for change in the patriarchy that detracts from our shared humanity.
3. What are your greatest motivators to keep pressing forward and achieving your goals?
Ancestors, strong women in my life, an excitement for learning, a passion for justice, and a strong intuition guided with an ever-expanding knowledge of self. A combination of these things help me in 1) defining my own successes 2) finding courage to take healthy risks and 3) dreaming big. I am also constantly reminded through these inspirations on a daily basis of how important it is to live with an attitude of gratitude and to give thanks where it’s due.
4. What are your greatest fears and/or hindrances that get in the way of moving forward in your goals?
One challenge I face is that I am so used to being able to take on so much on my own that I often need to remind myself to ask others for help. There is great strength in being able to share a vision with others and to work as a team to realize a goal. To mitigate this personal challenge, I find creative ways of highlighting and honoring those in my support system which helps me identify all the incredible allies in my life and to work with them in leveraging each others collective power.
5. In thinking about society’s pressure to conform to the “ideal woman,” what does she look like to you? How does that make you feel? Do you ‘qualify’? Where do you ‘fall short’?
An ideal woman love herself and the skin she’s in (literally and figuratively). Look in the mirror affirm your own existence rather than looking for reflections in magazine culture. There is not photoshop for the soul and that’s where real beauty begins.
6. You are a huge inspiration to so many women, young and old reading this. What would you want to say to adolescent girls entering into a world of harsh and FALSE expectations?
The first thing that comes to mind is a quote from one of my global sisters in rhyme, Akua Naru, who raps that “self love is the very first romance.” To me, this serves as a reminder that love for others needs to start from a place of loving yourself.
I also want to remind my sol sistars to breathe. Yes, life has its challenges, but we can’t allow the adversities to callous over our greatness. Sometimes petty distractions can detract us from our greater purpose, but if take a moment to find balance we may realize that sometimes when the worst things happen, the best is around the corner. No only do we deserve to shine, indeed, the world depends on our light to help cultivate the seeds of change planted deep in soils of truth and watered with the rivers of our ancestors scarifice/wisdom. Shine on, sol sistars, and let our wounds be a place for growth rather than a reason for why we can’t succeed.
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