News Brief

Ilhan Omar Is the First Woman to Wear Hijab In Congress

The Somali-born lawmaker is one of two Muslim congresswomen sworn into the House of Representatives today.

Illan Omar, the first Somali-American woman elected to congress, made history in more ways than one today when she also became the first woman to wear hijab in congress and one of two Muslim woman sworn into the United States' House of Representatives.

Ahead of her swearing-in ceremony today, the lawmaker took to Twitter to reflect and to celebrate the milestone with a picture of her and her father. "23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC, she wrote. "Today, we return to that same airport on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress."


Her father also took to social media to share a heart-warming message about the significance of Omar's appointment, writing "It's an honor to have her represent me and our family is so humbled that Ilhan has the opportunity to serve in our democracy. I wish Ilhan's grandfather could be here to witness this historic moment. He will be here in spirit as Ilhan will place her hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in.

Omar and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, who is the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, both made history as the first Muslim women to make it to congress. Tlaib was sworn in with Thomas Jefferson's Quran, and wore a Palestinian thobe during the ceremony. "I like that," she told CNN of being sworn-in with Jefferson's centuries-old Quran. "I like that it's kind of pushing against the stereotype that somehow we're new to this country."

She's inspired other Palestinian women to share photos of themselves in the traditional attire, using the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.


Omar, who recently clapped-back after a Republican pastor complained that "The floor of Congress is going to look like an Islamic Republic," proudly wore hijab in Congress, where hats and head coverings had been banned since 1837—a law which Omar herself pushed to abolish, reports Vox. The law was officially overturned today, allowing for religious garments to be worn in the chambers.

The United States House of Representatives is currently the most diverse that it's ever been in its 230 year history, with 35 new women being sworn in today.

Photo courtesy of @sahraisha

#BlackOutEid​: Young Black Muslims Shine as They Celebrate Eid

Young Black Muslims have found creative ways to celebrate community and share their best Eid looks, even as they #StayAtHome.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim fam! Today marks Eid al-Fitr, the official end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite things being a little different this year (on account of the current pandemic, of course) this hasn't stopped many from finding creative ways to fast, pray and connect with their community during these times. It certainly hasn't stopped young Black Muslims from participating in the virtual tradition known as #BlackOutEid while they continue to #StayAtHome.

#BlackOutEid is an annual celebration which highlights the diversity within the Muslim world. It began in 2015, when Aamina Mohamed created the hashtag to combat the erasure of Black people within the community. Since then, the hashtag has been used across social media with Black Muslims using it to share their sharpest Eid looks.

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Rebuilding the Nigerian Fashion Industry After Coronavirus

While the style capital of Africa remains shuttered, Nigerian fashion insiders have an ambitious plan to forge an independent path in a post-COVID world.

Like most Zoom calls, the first digital edition of Woven Threads began with a headcount confirming whose mic was on, who was online at the moment and who was trying to join in.

The two-hour live session included the founder of Lagos Fashion Week Omoyemi Akerele, founder and CRO of Ruff n Tumble Nike Ogunlesi, special adviser to the Nigerian president on Ease of Doing Business Jumoke Oduwole and several other fashion professionals in a conversation on how African fashion can adapt to a fast-changing world of ruptured supply chains and cheap foreign textiles.

Like in previous years, Woven Threads was actually meant to take place in real life with a series of workshops and interactive sessions as well as a pop-up store. Normally the event is a big deal, signifying the opening of the first of Nigeria's two fashion seasons. This year it signified an industry determined to change in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Alton Mason's Lagos-Shot Coming-of-Age Short Film

The model's new project was released as a social impact campaign to help COVID-19 relief in Nigeria in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

Model and artist Alton Mason shares his new coming-of-age short film "Rise In Light," in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

The stunning visuals were shot in Lagos as an introduction to the model's musical debut "Gimmie Gimmie," and has doubled as a social impact campaign in the face of the current pandemic. Mason and Melanin Unscripted founder Amarachi Nwosu set out with a goal of raising $10,000 for the Nigerian-based Khan Foundation to help provide relief packages for families on the ground, and were able to reach their goal in just 24-hours.

"Rise in Light is a movement created by the youth to inspire and ignite the future leaders of our world," says Mason of the campaign. "It's a call for change, evidence of freedom and the expression of love and joy."

The model visited Lagos for the first time last year when filming. "The moment I landed and drove into the city of Lagos, all of those American perceptions, based on fear, were proven false," Mason tells Vogue of his time in Nigeria. I was immediately captivated by nature, the land, the buildings, the water, and the spirit of the country, which made me free to create the song and video in this sacred place. I felt home."

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