Written & Photographed by: Justin Anantawan ~ Model: Abdou Rahim King
Close your eyes and imagine yourself as your "ideal" beauty. Maybe you are 20-pounds lighter or 20-pounds heavier. Maybe your eyes are bluer; your skin tanned a shade darker. Perhaps you have been able to erase those "pesky" freckles you are so self-conscious of or draw in that six-pack you have been dreaming about having all your life (but cannot because you do not have the time to go to the gym seven days a week).
It is almost impossible to find any one who has not at some point in their life been dissatisfied with the way they look. This is because we live in a world where we have been programmed by evolution and culture to believe that some physical features are beautiful while others are ugly. If you possess the latter, you are shamed by society, your friends, your peers, your family and even yourself. Furthermore, humans are often frightened by difference, by the people who break the beauty rules, and are quick to shun them, to divert their eyes or to believe myths about these people that keep them marginalized from the rest of society. They sometimes even harm them physically.
People with albinism "break" the beauty rules. Lacking the pigmentation that colors the skin of the majority of people in the world, they look unique. However, there are those who would consider them unattractive, abnormal and therefore unworthy of the respect that would be bestowed upon so called "normal" people. Here in the Gambia, one girl with albinism told me that some people will spit underneath their clothes to ward off the "curse" of albinism when they pass a person with her skin condition. Another man with albinism told me that when he was a child, he had to fight off other children who would bully him and his albino sister because they did not accept their skin color. Our society is cruel to the rule breakers.
However, the world is changing and gradually and people are beginning to embrace the beauty of difference. Models with albinism such as Shaun Ross and Diandra Forrest, for example, are gracing the covers of magazines and walking the runways of major designers. They never would have predicted their top model success when they were being bullied at school. Here in the Gambia, I met a man who married an woman with albinism because he thought she was the most beautiful human he had ever seen. Slowly, but surely our definition of beauty is evolving and with it our perception of albinism.
In this new photo series, "Re-imagining Beauty: Albinism in the Gambia" I aim to contribute to this re-defining of beauty by photographing Gambians with albinism as fashion and beauty models. I hope upon viewing these photos that you are able to learn to accept your own beauty and appreciate your "flaws". As well, I hope to encourage you to learn more about albinism, support our cause and generate more discussions about beauty. God bless and love to you all.
For more information on how you can volunteer with or donate to the Albinism Society of the Gambia, please visit our website at www.albinismsocietygambia.com.
Its about to be June!!!!! And you know what that means Albinism Awareness Month in SA or Day in the States. 2015 was just the start ,but 2016 is the explosion of being unique, edgy, & eccentric. If your planning on going to Kenya around June 4th this would definitely be the thing to do. So get your passport right or if you already live in the area get your car fare right & be apart of the magic.
The Kiswahili book, Ni Rangi Tu, is written by renowned journalist Ally Mtenzi and is published by Oxford University Press. This book is ideal for every school aged person. He illuminates the sensitive, but vital, theme of the plight of people living with albinism and the discrimination the society has subjected them to, drawing parallels to the sad reality. He begins by explaining the contentment of his fictitious character – Majaaliwa, who the book is centred on. He describes his pleasure of landing a plum job after overcoming insurmountable odds while growing up and in his relentless pursuit of education. The seasoned journalist employs affluent Kiswahili vocabulary that is as gratifying as it is enlightening to the language enthusiasts and learners. Mtenzi’s style of creating suspense from the very beginning urges you to keep reading. He illustrates Majaaliwa’s parents unease upon giving birth to an albino child, to the point of reading mischief.
The birth is a subject of chiding from neighbours and the community members who associate the child to results of witchcraft. In school, the boy is subjected to diverse forms of discrimination and bullying from peers while some schools openly refuse to admit him. He also spotlights the cruel events of few years ago that involved the kidnapping of albinos, killing and harvesting their body parts for sale especially in Tanzania.
The body organs were said to be used in witchcraft. He reminds of the events by describing a plot to kidnap Majaaliwa by a notorious syndicate masquerading as sponsors of bright learners seeking to interview campus students to benefit from their programme. However, their ploy is brought to its knees by a suave detective (inspector Beatrice) working in campus to mitigate crime. Her smooth operations lead her to boyfriend the syndicate kingpin which eventually uncovered their human trafficking deals. It is after enumerating the sad journey of Majaaliwa that the story connects with his earlier satisfaction of occupying a high office, and how he has managed to be a subject of envy from those that earlier despised him. Majaaliwa’s rag to riches story informs the title of the book-Ni rangi tu (It is just the colour), which sets to explain that albinism is not a deformity but lack of a colour pigment in the body. It is also not a disability. Mtenzi’s rich language in the book and narration creates an emotional touch to the story that makes the events appear real other than a work of fiction. He has employed numerous proverbs and idioms to illustrate scenarios and infuse beauty in the reading. Its paltry 89 pages further ensure the readers do not tire, especially those averse to long books. The proverbs and the bombastic Kiswahili vocabulary are explained at the end of the book in their contexts. For students, he has set revision questions based on the story to test their grasp and understanding of the book. It also has been nominated for this Years’s Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature
Jeevan Trust is an NGO founded by Anubhav Gupta that helps people with Albinism and transpeople. With a Facebook group that brings together people with Albinism from around India, the NGO is helping them come out of their shells.
Albinism in India is still a misunderstood condition. Many people with Albinism in India face discrimination everyday, But one NGO is changing the way people view Albinism. Anubhav Gupta, along with some friends, founded Jeevan Trust in Delhi to create socially responsible media on topics not covered by the mainstream and launch the products in a multimedia format. “Usually, we see that the media releases one photo story, documentary, film, or article, and then the public forgets about it,” he says, explaining the focus of the NGO, “Here, the idea was to create all possible media on a topic and release it in one go, so that the impact of the issue is much more, the retention of people is more, and society has all the available material ready at hand.” In 2010, Anubhav Gupta started work on his first project, albinism. “Our aim was to create a setup for them where they could talk safely, meet safely, interact, and share concerns.”
The NGO finds media houses, schools and colleges, to talk about how to tackle albinism sensitively in the public eye.
Anubhav Gupta (far right) conducts workshops on albinism with media students to create awareness. This was at the Jagran Institute of Media Communications.
The challenge that people with albinism face in India is also reflected globally. June 13 has been declared by the United Nations as World Albinism Awareness Day.
About 100,000 to 200,000 people in India have Albinism. Sameer Garg, a teacher, works with Gupta to raise awareness about the issue. Gupta ran into Garg at a mall and discussed his project with him.Having Albinism himself, Garg readily agreed to help him out with the initiative. “Working at Jeevan gave me a lot of confidence on how to carry myself in public, as I was a shy person,” Garg shares. “We work on all the aspects of albinism – helping with their low vision, social, emotional, personal issues, marriage, genetic counselling, adolescence, and more, on a case to case basis,” explains Gupta. One of the group’s greatest successes is a Facebook group to connect people with albinism across India. Albinism India Group, with about 400 members, is active nearly every day, according to Gupta. “They have gained friends through the group,” he says, “A few months ago, I got a message from someone saying he wanted to commit suicide as he wasn’t feeling good about himself. We immediately reached out to him and had him join the group.”
Garg agrees the group has become an important part of their lives. “Almost every person with albinism is friends with others in the group,” he says.
Sameer Garg speaking at the DAV School, Delhi
“They share ideas about vision goggles, eye surgery, self-esteem issues, and more. They’ve brought together the community.” According to Garg, while family support is important, sharing with people who have a similar condition is a major boost for people with albinism. “Family can understand the problems but they can’t empathise with our challenges. That’s why, speaking to others helps.” Most of them live in far-flung areas, such as Bihar and Maharashtra. The group becomes an essential point for them to meet others like them, virtually. Says Gupta, “We have had several meet-ups in Delhi so far, and a few in Pune and Mumbai.” The virtual group has turned out to be an important tool for dialogue about albinism not just in India, but also in the rest of the sub-continent. Gupta says that they got to know of people from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, too.
“They are a husband, wife and eight children, from a poor background. They have had a lot of hardships and we have been helping them since three years with college fees and computer assistance, and more.” Albinism in India is often confused with another condition, leucoderma, which is characterised by patchy skin colour changes. But with the NGO’s workshops, there is more awareness on the subject. “Albinism is not largely known as a condition, but once people get to know about it, they really appreciate our work,” Gupta says. However, “there’s not a lot of corporate interest. We have not been able to raise money from there as of now.” “I work in the government sector. But if I went to the corporate sector, the social discrimination is still there. They hesitate to give me a chance, believing a ‘normal’ person can do a better job,” says Garg. However, he says that many albinos have worked hard in spite of such discrimination and physical challenges. “I feel if a person is confident and has the support of family and friends, like I do, he can do well too.” Today, many albinos work in the fields of medicine, law, business, journalism, education, and more. Anubhav Gupta, who was nominated for the Karmaveer Puruskar 2016, looked for more challenging issues that need to be highlighted.
If you like to find out more about the Albinism India Group go to: https://www.facebook.com/albinism.india
Angelina D’Auguste photographed people with albinism for her senior project at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Shaun Ross, a model with albinism, was her inspiration, she wanted to explore Albinism which is not often discussed.
Ms D’Auguste in an interview told the Independent that: “When I first knew I wanted to make albinism [the focus] for my thesis project, I knew that one of the hardest parts would actually be finding my subjects. Once I photographed one subject, that led to another, because they would recommend me to other friends or families [with] albinism, which is very common.”
Take a look at this these very stunning photos and then check out the rest of her work on her Instagram page
As a person who is legally blind, I like to be independent & we live in an age now where those things are possible. Apps are created everyday to helps those who don't see very so here are some new apps that just might make those sight troubles just a little easier to navigate with.......
Knock, Knock easily exchange phone numbers
Knock Knock is a new app that makes exchanging numbers with people you just met more seamless.
With the app, you simply knock twice on your phone's screen — even when the device is asleep or stowed away in your pocket — to instantly exchange phone numbers or various social media handles.
Price: Free (iOS, Android)
Paper, Sketching best sketching app.
Paper for iPhone is an app that expands the concept of what "taking notes" means on your phone
You can use it to make everything from lists to presentations that include charts and graphs. It basically helps translate the experience you have writing on "paper" to your phone — bringing back all the tasks that more traditional note-taking apps lack.
Price: Free (iOS)
Meeting up with friends is easier with TossUp
Sometimes when you need to meet up with a group a friends it's diffcult. If your one of those who like to plan things out. This is the app for you.
Microsoft's latest app take the hassle out of meeting up with friends.
It lets a group of people vote on aspects of an event — the wheres, the whens, etc. — in addition to saying if they'll be able to make it. No more annoying email chains.
So these are just some great apps I found that help me navigate. Try them out and tell me what you think. If there's a subject or story you'd like me to cover me @ Albinobeautymag@gmail.com
Long gone are the days when you could barely even find a person with Albinism shown in positive light. No lies seeing Diandra Forest on the cover of Ebony Magazine's September issue filled me with pride. And I know a lot of people feel the same way especially the women. I've watched Diandra career grow since I was 15. I first saw her on the Tyra Banks show & thought to myself "How cool is that. She had the confidence to go out there and be heard". Diandra didn't care about anyone's judgement she just went for her dreams & took a hold of it by the balls & said. I'm Here!!!!! She inspired a generation under her. Now there are models & and designers everywhere who have Albinism and are confident. Diandra being on that cover of Ebony Magazine just busted a multitude of myths about Albinism. Especially throughout the black community. It shows acceptance, love, & awareness with open arms. And just maybe the world seeing Diandra Forest on a major magazine will open up another dialogue even greater where Albinism can be talk about not as a disease, but just something we where born with.
I found this short United Nations Campaign video on Connie Chiu model & musician. Its very cool it gives you a little insight into who she is. As I've posted earlier for the whole month of July I will be posting interesting videos that I find around the web about Albinism. You'd be surprised at how many people haven't watched most of these video I post. So please enjoy & post a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Currently, gold trades -0.15% lower at 1142.20, testing fresh four-month lows reached at 1140.80 on Wednesday. The yellow metal remains undermined amid heightening Fed rate-hike speculations as markets respond to the recent Fed Chair's testimony. Fed Chair Janet Yellen repeated during her testimony on Wednesday the intention to increase interest rates later this year. Meanwhile, gold faced further pressure from the stronger greenback as the US dollar index turned into the positive territory to 97.80. On Thursday, buck benefited from a favourable labour market update, as the initial jobless claims stood for a nineteenth week below the threshold of 300,000 according to the fresh release. Gold prices are likely to get influenced by the US CPI and consumer sentiment figures to be reported later in the US session All in all it a good time to buy before gold actually starts to match what the FED is saying. Here's a few website where you can find out more:
Always remember to check with the better business bureau to make sure wherever you buying from is legit.
Two of the top Android manufacturers bring curves in all the right places, but in very different ways.
Two of this year's hottest phones are also two of the sleekest. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has the best of what Samsung has to offer thus far this year and gives it an impossible design. Meanwhile, LG takes what it's been doing so well the past couple of years and continues down that path with the LG G4.
And here's how they stand up next to each other.
Probably the most stark contrast between the GS6 — both the proper model and the edge version — and the G4 is in the materials. The glass-backed GS6 just feels more futuristic than the plastic back on the G4. Never mind "metallic" finishes or ceramic paint jobs. It's still plastic underneath. And while it looks fine, it feels ... like plastic. (That equation obviously changes once you get the G4's leather back on there.)
And while the front of the GS6 edge has that curve, the phones couldn't look more different from the back as well. The GS6 is flat as flat can be. The G4's curve is as curvy as ever. (And, in fact, the front has a very subtle curve to it this time around as well.)
The real battle (aside from the marketing one, which Samsung has been waging and winning for some time) really will come down to how the internals perform. The G4's Snapdragon 808 versus the GS6's Exynos processor. LG's quantum dot display versus a very good Super AMOLED panel from Samsung. And a camera from LG that promises greater color reproduction than anyone else in the business.