working girl: minna salami, writer

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– As told to Ellen Haile, Contributor

Focused on topics that revolve around contemporary African culture, writer Minna Salami dedicates her online platform to African womanhood, offering a vibrant feminist view on race, politics and lifestyle. She shares with us her journey as a writer and why she is adamant on breaking barriers that are imposed on women in general.

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Name: Minna Salami

Location: London, Lagos, Malmö

Profession: Writer, blogger, commentator

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How did you get started?

I started my first blog in 2006, but it was not until 2010 that I launched MsAfropolitan. By then I had discovered my “voice,” although let me quickly add that the discovery of voice is an ongoing process. More importantly, I had discovered that if you write about what you know, and not what you are supposed to know, you become seen as dangerous. And African societies – like others – do not want dangerous women around shaking up things. So I thought I would give becoming such a woman a go.

What’s an average day like?

Due to personal challenges, I’ve had to restructure my work pattern in the past year or so. So I do not have a typical or strict routine at the moment. But to call yourself a writer, you must write. So every day I write something no matter where I am.

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Ups and downs and you sometimes face on the job?

Ups: Connecting with people. Both via social media and in person. Researching. Writing a blog teaches you a lot about the topics that you cover. Then there’s writing itself. Putting words and paragraphs together is something that excites me.

Downs: Receiving threats. Annoying trolls. Writing a post that reveals that you watch pornography, only then to find yourself in a formal social situation where pornography becomes the topic of discussion, as does your blog.

Why do you do it?

“Your silence will not protect you,” said the inspirational black lesbian feminist, Audre Lorde. Six simple words that when combined convey a piercing truth. They describe my incentive on my chosen path, too. It is a path where I shred constraints of being a woman by voicing them. A path – the only one that I know how to walk in tact, in grace and in joy – taken by many before me, women who rocked the boat by refusing to be silent too. Women who voiced the nonnegotiable compromises to personhood that women, nevertheless, negotiate. Women, who with sharp talons, cut into the fabric of repressive social attitudes. No, my silence will not protect me. It never did. This is why I write.

Your greatest achievement so far?

I have made genuine connections through my blog. This means a lot.

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What might be next for you?

My future plans for MsAfropolitan are to continue to blog, naturally, but I would also like to publish in other formats.

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What are your top go-to hair tips?

Ahh, see, I don’t look after my hair well. I don’t moisturize enough, I don’t wear protective styles, I don’t trim once a month, I don’t avoid sulfates and I don’t sleep with silk pillowcases. It shows. However, if I had a lustrous mane and was in a position to give hair tips; then I’m sure those would be my 5 go-to hair tips.

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Fun Fact: I have lost count of how many tattoos I have.

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