Heady Mix was founded on the recognition that it’s impossible for each of us to fully comprehend the experiences of one another, and especially of those marginalised by society, whose stories are not mainstream or widespread. But of course, the book doesn’t stop there, in fact – the book starts there.
By reading the stories contained within each of our themed book boxes, our aim is that the Heady Mix community will become better allies of underrepresented groups. So that although divided by circumstance, we can be unified by empathy and the endeavour to understand. Unified by allyship.
Last month, we invited writer, performer and drag artist Amrou Al-Kadhi to share with us their stance on allyship, why it matters to them and whether they have any tangible takeaways to help others become better allies.
Having experienced their own struggles with under-representation, Amrou’s answers were insightful, and their words left us feeling moved and hopeful – that a more uplifted world is a better world.
We hope this short interview leaves you feeling the same…
Hi Amrou! Thanks for chatting with Heady Mix. As you know, our focus is on showcasing stories from underrepresented groups, to give their voice a platform.
So, we’d love to begin by asking you, why are you an ally?
There’s a saying, ‘I’ll always fight for the hunted’. I think if you have any sort of social privilege, the best way to use it is to try and lift up people who have less of it.
I always think that it’s important to always figure out a way to help those who are most marginalised, those marginalised identities. By doing this, we create a shared experience between different marginalised identities – we can lift each other up. That is a way of achieving collective liberation, if we all try and use whatever voice of privilege we might have to help.
We’re in quite an individualistic culture and a good way to fight that is to figure out how best to use your position to help others.
Absolutely, we completely agree with that. So, what does being an ally looks like in practice to you?
I think it’s less to do with what it looks like, and more that it doesn’t need to be showcased in a performative way. It’s more that you look out for different experiences, and read up on different experiences, so that you can check your own behaviour in a way that doesn’t have to be declared or performed.
It’s about making your own self aware of the experiences of others so that you can make sure that you are being sensitive.
I always think uplifting other peoples’ voices and sharing any platform that you might have with others is a good way to be an ally, rather than making it about yourself.
Thanks, Amrou. We think many of our readers will appreciate hearing that, and knowing someone like yourself who has a platform, considers ways that can benefit others.
Finally then, what simple things can anyone can do more of to be better allies?
Reading is a good way and educating yourself about others’ experiences. Education is really key to being a good ally.
I will always encourage people to read outside their comfort zone, to read about experiences of lives that might seem far away, so that we might have more empathy. And of course, if you have any kind of financial privilege too, really trying to share some of those resources is important.
A huge thank you Amrou for taking the time to speak with us. Amrou’s book Life as a Unicorn, is available to purchase now via our direct bookstore.