Her magazine, like her entrepreneurial work, sits in opposition to this continuum, but does it by highlighting the stories of those people who are already disrupting the now and redefining the next. A Black collective, the Swim Dem Crew, for example, challenge the notion that Black people don’t swim. Skater UKtis members remind us that Muslim women do skate. The S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys Project breaks down the boundaries of how we see Black boys’ lives. A modest fashion designer uses her self-affirming designs to call out police for wrongful imprisonment – and a Black/trans/dis/abled/athlete simply does.
None of these stories ignores the real and all too present and ongoing struggles of the faces and voices within them – Black, non-binary, queer, trans, intersex, other – but they provide us, she believes, with new maps, clear ways and alt-purposes to ‘develop and grow… and that’s something that happens from childhood to adulthood. So why wouldn’t that also expand into the future in the way that we understand these categories? Why shouldn’t these fictional categories like gender, like race, be re-imagined and then lived differently?’
Her latest issue, Body Movements, is testament to this. It is a joyful, self-affirming feminism of a different order, a next-age sensibility – one that draws on intersectionality, yes, but one that calls on us all, as she says, ‘to acknowledge that there are times when different people’s voices matter more, and marginalised voices in our publication are always going to be the ones that are at the forefront because they’re the ones that are invisible in wider society’.
And her job? To dial up their sounds, their colour, their voices and lives so that all of those third spaces, places and people – she includes herself in the latter – become the norm, where self-affirmation doesn’t require proof, or in the final analysis, defending!
You can listen to the full podcast here, and find out more about Rhona Ezuma and issue six of THIIIRD magazine here.