#INTHEFRO: A ‘Slut Walk’ Chat With LA Activist Samirah Raheem

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From YouTube platforms, to talk shows and unapologetic protests, women are consistently breaking barriers and eager to have their say in today’s society. Therefore it wasn’t a surprise when the video of Samirah Raheem debating with reverend Jesse Lee Peterson at LA’s SlutWalk 2017 went absolutely viral, fuelling more fire to the existing debate concerning the sexual liberation and protection of women.

The ‘Slut Walk’ movement began in 2011 when an ignorant police officer in Canada suggested to a group of female students that the best way to avoid sexual assault is to not ‘dress like sluts’. Now the SlutWalk movement has become a global stance in over 200 countries, with celebrities backing the protests, most notably Amber Rose.

Samirah spoke to me about this during her stay here in the UK, along with her plans for the future and her reaction to the unexpected growth of her digital presence following the coverage.

“I own my body” was the direct response from the ‘Hood Activist’ whilst challenging reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative personality for his misogynistic attitudes, “My body is not a political playground. It’s not a place for legislation. It’s mine and it’s my future.”

She expanded on her response by providing her exact definition of what the word ‘slut’ means to her, “A slut is a liberated woman who’s broken away from misogynistic standards but may be misunderstood by many.”

The internets positive response was an amazing example of unity between all women, regardless of race or background, as there was one combined agenda that was suitable for all – freedom.

Samirah went on to describe her thoughts on the internet’s reaction, mentioning that she didn’t realise this could be a one way ticket to a chance pursuing a career in social activism, “The only thing going through my mind during the time of the video was I see this man wants to talk, maybe he’s someone grandpa just now starting his YouTube dreams, I never thought it would end up getting so big.”

However, with anything, with the positive and uplifting support also came slander, personal attacks and trolling from people on social media. But this didn’t phase our LA girl boss, who explained how she’s learnt to adapt her mindset towards negative situations. “The backlash hasn’t been anything I can’t handle. I’ve been dealing with opposition throughout my life. Remembering positive affirmations and reading my favourite quotes help get my mind right, and on the other hand the positive support was mind blowing. It was like a tsunami of love and appreciation and I was just swimming in it!”

 

When asked who some of her inspirations were one particular example stood out, not because of the celebrity status, but because one of Samirah’s biggest inspirations was an everyday woman dedicated to pushing others, “I have a DJ friend by the name of Kitty Cash who’s been around before this whole moment happened. I watched her build her whole DJ empire from the ground up. She taught me so much and allowed me to shadow her for months after I graduated school. Women who shamelessly follow their dreams and don’t hesitate to educate others on how to do the same are my idols!”

Having taken part in a number of different campaigns to support the notion of being confident and free, the overall message Samirah aims to portray to young women is to know that they are in control of their own expressions.If that’s the case I’d say expression is your birthright. Follow the rules but break them equally as well!

During her time here Samirah has enjoyed the vibes of UK females too, “What I admired about UK women during my time in London was the amount of poise and restraint they have.  They have this witty banter that’s genius! I can imagine that it could be difficult to uphold as well, and they do it effortlessly!” seems like she’d fit right in if she came over here more often!

The actress, model and social activist is due to visit London again soon, with hopes to join a London agency, with female empowerment remaining at the core of everything she does.

 

“A slut is what I made it, a BOSS.” – Samirah Raheem

 

Have a watch below if you need a recap on how Samirah Raheem put Jesse Lee Peterson in his place – enjoy!

 

Keep up with Samirah Raheem:
Twitter: @thisishowispeak
Instagram: @thisishowilook

Read more about the SlutWalk movement here