The publication for and by people of colour is putting their stories at the forefront
Ashamed is a volunteer-based digital and print magazine by and for people of marginalised genders, including women, non-binary people, and trans men. As a publication for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, they’re putting their stories to the forefront through explorations of art, fashion, film, politics, and so much more. Let's hear from the founder Halima about why she created Ashamed, how it’s evolved over the year, and what to expect from the publication in the future!
did Halima create Ashamed?
Halima: “I created Ashamed in the summer of 2019 out of frustration. I’d been writing for online publications since I was 15 (2015) and I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere in my writing career. A lot of my white peers were getting major bylines in these massive and popular publications and I was writing for the same places I’d been writing for since I was 15 and making little to no money from my work. I was just starting to question my place in this industry when I felt like my words and work just wasn’t valued.
At the time I was writing for two other volunteer-based magazines and I enjoyed it very much, I’d say some of my best writing came out of writing for Aurelia Magazine, however, at the time I wasn’t feeling very good about my writing and I just felt like I needed a break from it, I was burned out and I wanted to do something different. I had the idea for Ashamed for about a year before I got the courage, and the funds (thank you student finance) to make the website and just go for it.”
“I want to make honest art, and give artists of colour a loving beautiful home to express themselves.”
has Ashamed evolved with the ups and downs of this year?
Halima: “Ashamed has evolved massively with the ups and downs of this year! When we got sent home from uni in March, I had a lot of spare time to completely make Ashamed in the way I wanted. We went on a long hiatus after Christmas, and I didn't think I'd continue running the publication (around that time it was called Pardon!). In actuality, a lot of the time I think about going on hiatus or permanently closing Ashamed because I'm struggling with my own mental illnesses and university work. But when I read the articles or see the artwork people submit, or how happy people are when we publish their work I'm filled with an indescribable joy.
I wanted to make sure that the beautiful work we publish had a beautiful home so I worked with this amazing designer called Alice and she completely revamped the site. I also started to really dislike the name Pardon! so Zara Afthab (Ashamed’s Newsletter Editor/Creative Director/The Love of My Life) and I started brainstorming names. We are both big fans of Omar Apollo, and I really loved his song called Ashamed – I thought the name would work for the site especially since I feel so much shame every day of my life. I could be walking down the street and all of a sudden feel really self-conscious and just ashamed of my own existence. It definitely comes from a place of deeply not liking myself, and I know a lot of my peers unfortunately feel the same way. So Pardon! became Ashamed, a space for us to write about shame, and reclaim it.”
can we expect from Ashamed in the future?
Halima: “This is a hard question for me, I really hate thinking about the future but I just know I want to make beautiful print magazines filled with the work of PoC. That's it. I want to make honest art, and give artists of colour a loving beautiful home to express themselves. I want to cultivate a space for us to not just talk about our traumas but our joys, and the weird and wacky things we love. We already do that online, but to do it in print regularly! That's the dream.
I'd also love to make documentaries (I'm a history student) and short films through Ashamed that would be super cool!”
“I want to cultivate a space for us to not just talk about our traumas but our joys, and the weird and wacky things we love.”