The Tempest is an online editorial with over a two hundred thousand user following that caters to creating an open space for diverse millennial women. It was originally a faith based editorial site called Coming of Faith for Muslim women, and then, they decided to expand it so that a wider range of women could tell their stories.
About a month before I attended the Mixed Remixed Festival for the first time as a panelist, I became a contributor for The Tempest. I first started out as a contributor, than an editorial fellow, and now I edit for their Race section, while also writing one piece a week.
A little bit after school let out, I decided to submit my pieces to other online forums. I have been published on the AltFem Magazine site, and I was an intern with The Black Sheep Articles and got to publish pieces on their site. However, I wanted to showcase my work where I knew I could reach a wider range of people.
Moreover, I only talked about being mixed race on my personal blog as far as online content goes. Because of the Mixed Remixed Festival’s encouragement for me to keep writing and to spread my writing to other places, I wanted to make sure I talked about being mixed race on other online platforms.
I spent the next couple of weeks submitting essays and poems about my experiences to various websites. I even submitted a piece to the Huffington Post’s submission page, and, obviously, I never heard a response back.
To this day, I keep thinking that it was because mixed race identities placed into a binary tend to get more views than other mixed race identities. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about that from time to time.
I remember really enjoying a couple of articles that were published on The Tempest, so I decided to submit an article about the struggles of explaining my racial identity as a second generation mixed race woman.
Next week, I got a response from them, and it was the first time someone actually responded back to me that wasn’t an automatic rejection email.
They actually wanted my piece on their site!
I got to work on my piece some more with the Race and Politics editor of The Tempest, Asma Elgamal, so that I could make it more personable and write about the things that pissed me off the most when it came to feeling obligated to explain myself as mixed race woman.
After that piece went live, I began to send Asma more pitches about mixed race representation in the Roots miniseries on the History Channel, the show Recovery Road, The Tonys, and even some of my favorite books.
Because of how often I sent pieces to her, she asked me if I wanted to become an Editorial Fellow, so that I could publish pieces on the site five times a week, and write for other sections besides the Race section.
I said yes right off the bat. I was that excited!
Being an editorial fellow for The Tempest gave me a platform to talk about what it meant for me to be mixed race in various contexts. I didn’t always write pieces about multiraciality, but when I did, it was a great way to receive feedback from others who either didn’t know that that’s what some mixed women experienced, or was able to relate to it if they identified as mixed.
Also, even if the piece isn’t strictly about multiraciality, being able to include that about myself a little bit in an article, whether the topic is not mainly about race, or <a href=”http://thetempest.co/2016/07/18/culture-taste/culture/i-dont-need-to-pray-about-it-i-need-to-go-to-therapy/”I’m writing about one of my races over another</a? because the piece calls for it to do so, means so much to me.
Having my face on their site for others to see a mixed race writer means so much to me.
A bit before my fellowship came to an end, Laila Alawa, chief editor and the founder of The Tempest, decided to contact me about a position to work with Asma as the Race editor for the site.
I wasn’t even thinking that could be a possibility in my future with The Tempest. I thought I would be a contributor again once my fellowship ended.
Receiving the opportunity to help women craft their stories about their racial background, and being a face that stands out in the list of staff who were predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslim women is not an opportunity that is just handed to anyone. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to get to that place.
It was nice to see that the amount of effort I have put into The Tempest was being noticed to the point of becoming a staff member for their site.
It is such a great online community of women. The fellows, the staff, all the women are so open. Such a diverse of fellows and contributors work hard on The Tempest, and I am proud to continue to be a part of this safe place.
Maya Williams, Blogger for The Mixed Remixed Festival