WOC newsletters you must sign up for
Once upon time, pre-lockdown emails of any kind were to be sorted and deleted immediately; until a pandemic happened and we were all inside, spending more time on our devices.
Ta-da, welcome to the newsletter boom.
Newsletters have become increasingly popular, with publications like TIME Magazine sharing that they now have a 70 percent open rate when the average is usually between 13-18 percent. Yet, I don't believe its sheer boredom as to why people are subscribing to newsletters. Newsletters have become the new blog, and similar to its online predecessor, you don't need to be a professional in order to create one, you just need a corner of the internet (and world) you want to tackle.
They are also intimately written and read, as newsletters are sent directly to our email addresses instead of an article we randomly come across. And due to its newness, there isn't yet an old boys club that caters to a mainstream white audience. Women of colour are creating the most inventive of newsletters, pushing the boundaries of what you can find in your inbox. They have especially done what would have once been unheard of: made email exciting again.
|Women of colour are creating the most inventive of newsletters, pushing the boundaries of what you can find in your inbox|
In light of International Women's Day, we're celebrating the best newsletters by women of colour on the internet, and those you should definitely sign up to.
The Aram by Tahmina Begum
A slight plug here (and why I'm writing about newsletters so devotedly), I write the bi-weekly newsletter called The Aram, which centres the joyous experiences of women of colour and Muslim women while also exploring our personal relationship with ease and joy. The intention is for you to feel somewhat at ease and hopeful after reading it.
The Greater Conversation by Alya Mooro
Author of the best-seller The Greater Freedom: Life As a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes, Mooro's weekly newsletter continues to explore Middle Eastern women's experiences around the globe.
Usually penned by Mooro and a different guest writer every week, The Greater Conversation covers everything from sex, shame, mental health and whatever is on the minds of Middle Eastern women today. It is a great example of how the 'single story' will never be enough.
Unsnackable by Folu Akinkuoto
If you want nostalgia, if you want to laugh and you frankly want to be ravenous after reading this newsletter, Unsnackable by Folu Akinkuoto is the one for you. Described as "a small tantrum about international snacks, beverages and fast food that I want but cannot have", it is the antidote to our growing worldly appetites and packs a great sense of humour.
Mixed Messages by Isabella Silvers
Isabella Silvers has been able to curate a weekly newsletter that has been necessary for so long. As a half Punjabi Indian, half white British woman, Silvers wanted to show how there's simply no one way to be anything, especially not mixed-race.
She interviews prolific mixed-race voices, from actors to journalists, athletes and politicians, and everyone in between. "We'll discuss the good, the bad, the amazing and the confusing about living life with mixed heritages."
Zeba's Newsletter by Zeba Talkhani
What I love about Zeba Talkhani's writing is its rawness and that is felt in Zeba's self-titled newsletter. I distinctly remember reading this paragraph on why Zeba had created an outlet for herself while writing her second book, in which she said, "writing around my writing helps a lot". Yet reading it feels like it's somehow helping ourselves.
There is no one thing Talkhani homes in on, nor is there a strict schedule on when her newsletter is published. It in fact reads like a snippet of a journal from one the greatest literary minds of our times. (And if you haven't read My Past Is A Foreign Country, I don't know what you're waiting for.)
Lol, So I Wrote A Newsletter by Lauren McGuire
Having only recently been made aware of Lauren McGuire's Lol, So I Wrote A Newsletter, I have truly been missing out. From posts on 'Sex, Stigmas and Suspicious Adult Friendships' and Lessons From Her Twenties, McGuire is hilarious, relatable, intelligent with a great dash of salacity. I'm impatiently waiting for the next one.
Diasporan Diaries by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
In trying to answer the mighty question: who are you? Yassmin Abdel-Magied explores her footing in the world in Diasporan Diaries. This is a space where Abdel-Magied gets to find out what's lying in the abyss in front of her without conforming to deadlines and journalistic expectations. It's soulful and asks a lot of the right questions.
ez wellbeing by Sasha Sabapathy
Founder of wellness company and cafe Glow Bar, Sasha Sabapathy's passion for centuries-old ways of looking after oneself is amplified across her newsletter ez wellbeing. You'll find recipes, food myths debunked and honest writing about anxiety, setting intentions and real wellness (which has not been whitewashed). It's a great Sunday read.
How To Cure A Ghost by Fariha Roisin
If you know Fariha Roisin's get-to-the-bones-with-feeling kind of writing, you'll adore her newsletter How To Cure A Ghost (not to be confused with her poetry collection under the same name). One week she's writing about healing as a way of time travelling, another week's segment is on loneliness to 'Conversations On God' as a queer South Asian Muslim woman. It's the stella kind of writing.
'Eyb' by Yousra Samir Imran
"Eyb' is the colloquial Arabic word for shameful. It's meaning in classical Arabic is 'flaw'," explains Imran in the opening of her newsletter. Through her personal essays, Imran investigates the way this word and phrase has been used across Middle Eastern and North African communities, contributing to the global conversation of Muslim women's bodies in particular, and of shame. The hope is for more women to resonate with these experiences and to not feel alone.
Honest by Alegría Adedeji
Written by the award-winning screenwriter, director and essayist, Honest by Alegría Adedeji is a collection of brief essays every other week on topics such as selfhood, culture, spirituality, creativity and so much more. A brilliant explosion of the long-form thoughts we all have when trying to work out the spring in which we are; Adedeji is poetic just as she is proseful and on point. A personal favourite of mine is "I'm over my ex, now what?". Sign up to it immediately.
Multimedia journalist and First Person editor at gal-dem, Diyora Shadijanova has created the perfect textbook on all things freelance in her newsletter The Freelance Fraud. Discussing everything from the toolkit you'll really need to begin to the feelings all creatives get when they're pitching ideas, The Freelance Fraud is a great resource for budding journalists (and a refresher for more experienced professionals too).
Tahmina Begum is a freelance journalist and editor.
Follow her on Twitter @tahminaxbegum