#Okay100Women

MARI MALEK

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Mari Malek is a refugee turned runway model, DJ and actress. Malek was born in Wau, South Sudan during the Second Civil War. Her father was a diplomat and her mother a nurse. During the most violent times of the war, her mother moved her and her sisters to Egypt and they eventually ended up in Newark, New Jersey. At the age of 20, after attending college and becoming a single mom, she decided to try out modeling.




Malek is now a heavily sought after DJ who plays New York’s hottest clubs as DJ Stiletto. She describes herself as “the first nationally and internationally known South Sudanese DJ.”

This year, she is starring in the Sundance film, The Nile Hilton Incident, and has a foundation advocating for quality education in South Sudan. Stand 4 Education focuses on providing access to education in South Sudan. Her foundation is visionary as it empowers girls by using education as their resource.



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Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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