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BLACK IS KING ( Kandaka Edition)

Thursday, 6 August 2020


Queen B has returned and dropped Black Is King . This is a visual album to The Lion King: The Gift released last year along with the remake of the childhood classic. 

The aesthetic of this new release  showcased black excellence at it finest and incorporating many transitions from all over Africa, with influences from the Arab and India cultures.

It’s representation like this that need to be showcased continuously and allow many of us to pride in our culture and traditions, as well as creating our own in the present day. 

For example; originally my family are from Sudan and I was lucky enough to find some interesting similarities to some of the culture and traditions that we uphold till this day.

Tattoo lips and face marks were once seen as form of beauty and represented which tribe you came from.

Sudanese toub ( Sari equivalent)  is something we still wear everyday and is mainly worn by married women. This is traced back to Nubian pharaoh times and seen by the women of the Nile, as well as in Indian wedding traditions.

The similarities between Indian and Sudanese weddings is the duration of the wedding, which lasts about a week long and includes; henna parties for both the bride and groom and the difference Indian henna is mainly brown and Sudanese use black dye. Also in both weddings the bride is asked to wear as a symbol of prosperity and fertility and have special ceremonies which symbolize a rite of passage. 

Here’s a simple comparison I did with my friend Shivangi Gandhi  who is currently living in Mumbai as I noticed how similar our traditions are;

In Sudan, this ceremony is called a “Jirtig” and is mainly performed by the elder women in the family to bless the newlyweds with homemade scents and oils.

“ The significance of wearing red in an indian wedding is because red symbolises the married woman, in Hindi called ‘Suhagan’ . Gold is auspicious in the indian culture so it is used in the traditional Indian wedding dress. The golden borders and embroidery are created with golden ‘zari’ threads or sometimes it can be real gold thread. The ceremony the bride wears this outfit for is called ‘Phera’ which symbolises the sanctity of marriage in the presence of the Lord and holy fire.”                  - Shivangi Gandhi

A special dance is also performed by the bride in front of her mother, sisters, aunties and female in-laws. The reason for this is to show hope fertile she would be. 

Many young brides have also taken inspiration from Arabic belly dancing and wear frilly outfits, which allows their bodies to flow freely. 

Headdresses with gold beads, coins and shells represented wealth and royalty and were mainly worn by the ancient Egyptians and Nubians queens (or Kandakas) . 

These are just a few similarities, which I discovered from watching the movie. I’m certain if you look hard enough, you will be able to discover your own roots and culture within. One thing I can take from watching this movie is how black excellence is represented with such beauty and grace and it makes me even more proud of my roots. 

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim) 
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Shukri, We Stand With You

Monday, 8 June 2020
As a young Muslim woman, it is important that we continue to share our knowledge and support in any way.
With that, last year Shukri Abdi was a 12-year-old girl, who drowned in the River Irnwell in Manchester.

"Everything about it is out of character for her.
"She couldn't swim so she wouldn't even go near the edge." - words from her mother.

She did not deserve this!
This a young girl, who had her whole life and future taken away.
As someone, who grew up trying to understand what It meant to be Muslim women in society, it was hard for other people, who didn't look like me or have the same religious views as me to adjust and accept. But then my parents introduced me to the Muslim society, where I found people, who felt the same way as me and this pushed me to influence the next generation and make sure they stick together, through thick and thin.
This is why I will always continue to support these girls and protect them from any harm or injustice they make face.
These young females are going to be the future and it's up to us to fight for them.
So with that, I have donated some of my money to help get justice for her and her family.
This should have happened last year, but we brushed past it. Well, not today!
Donate and allow Shukri’s family to gain the justice they deserve!

Donation Link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/shurki-abdis-family?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet

(Petition Link : http://chng.it/m2Wk75wdfZ)

Demand justice for Shukri and let's protect these young queens, who will rise above and guide us to greatness!!

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Speaking My Truth

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Support Your Tribe

Friday, 5 June 2020

I cannot stress enough how important it is to support local businesses regardless of what race or background is. Each one of us can become a brand ambassador to them and as a creative myself, I can understand the process of how to come up with the idea, develop it further and share it with like-minded individuals.

Given the fact that a lot of black-owned businesses don't get enough exposure online, it's up to us to support them, champion them, and salute us.

Here a few people from different sectors in the industry and a few ideas on how to support them in each sector;

(Please note that each image contains a direct link to that creative's page for you to take a look further. 

Much love and continuous support to them. <3 i="">


  • Invest in their artwork and hang it up in your own apartment for friends and family to see
  • Attend any galleries which support their artwork
  • Share their story and their artwork on your platform


  • Invest in their brand
  • Wear their clothing with pride
  • Attend any fashion show they may have in the future
  • Share their story and their collections on your platform


  • Invest in their books, poetry books, and reading their article online.
  • Take the time to see them perform live
  • Attend any book launch, open mic nights and poetry slams
  • Review and refer their pieces to other people
  • Share their story, their books, and performances on your platform


  • Play their music on whichever platform they are on ( Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Soundcloud..etc)
  • Take the time to see them perform live
  • Watch and even take part in their music videos 
  • Share their story and their artwork on your platform


  • Watch their movies or documentaries
  • Attend their premieres
  • Share their story and their movies on your platform
At the end of the day, as long as you are sharing their story on your platform and championing them to greatness, it will inspire and motivate them to do better.

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Understand Us

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

For someone who had to be educated in a westernized, white-washed school environment, it was hard for me to sit in History or English literature class and learn & discuss the history and lives of "Henry The 8th, Queen Victoria, The Romans, The Tudors, Shakesphere, Charles Dickens..etc without getting bored.

It left me wondering about black people's historic efforts to change the world, as well as my own roots in Sudan. Even though the internet was somewhat helpful, I had to resort to either asking my parents and various family members a million questions about our roots, watching as many tv shows and movies, which had enough black representation to discover more and most importantly searching for as many books and literature on black history, influential figures in history and modern-day authors to help me understand the world we live in today.

By doing so, it gave me a vast archive of resources to go back to and share with like-minded individuals.

So here are just a few titles of various books, tv shows and movies to help understand the black struggle a little bit more;

Top reads 

Netflix Specials

TV- Shows

Best Movie Choices

Early days of Slavery;


Police Brutality and Injustice

Strong Black Women 

Artistic Direction 

Make sure you pass this on to others and let's educate and restore justice and peace around us. 
Also, feel free to tag me or message me on Instagram >> (@azza_urbanista) if you would like more recommendations.

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Alternative Guide DXB

Saturday, 4 April 2020

During my most recent trip to Dubai, I created a scrapbook full of my favorite places to go and explore. Each location had a different energy and it allowed me to create an "alternative" guide to Dubai due to the fact that when people visit the city, they automatically visit the main attractions;
  • Burj Khalifa ( Tallest tower in the world)
  • Dubai Mall ( Biggest mall)
  • Burj Al Arab (One of the tallest hotels in the world)
  • Desert ( for quad biking and taking a picture with some camels)
However, what most people seem to forget is that there are so many hidden gems around the city, which no one gets the chance to see and with my digital guide, I want to shine a light on to them. As well as including a few top places from various creatives, who I have connected with during my time visiting the city over the years.

So let me share a snippet from the #MyDubai, 
                                                          An Alternative Guide of Dubai 
                                                                                       by Azza Gasim

Many thanks to all the creatives who participated in my Top #3 Picks of Dubai!
To see the full guide, click on the link below,

Click on this link >> #MyDubai Guide

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)

Surviving Lockdown

Thursday, 2 April 2020

It's been almost a week/10day since the announcement of the virus spreading vastly and us being told to stay indoors and only leave when it's necessary for work, picking up any prescriptions and buying essentials from the nearest supermarket.

For me; I have been able to set a mindset of

"Take each day as it comes and be grateful for all the little blessings." 

This helped me put so much of the things we take for granted on the daily such as our physical and mental health, our support system of family, friends and like-minded people and who we are a person and use that to keep it moving and keep creating on the daily. It helps keep my mind off the negative side of it and focus on the positive.

However, a lot of us are currently sat on our sofas or lying in bed trying to discover ways of passing the time and  I am proud to say I have found a bunch of creative ways for you to stay active, positive and be able to enjoy this time alone.

Things to do inside the house;

  •  Paint or draw a picture of something or someone that has once inspired you. 

  • Read a book that you have been putting off for a long time.

Here are a few book recommendations depending on the type of person you are and what you like to read...

  • Try out a new recipe from a cookbook or online

  • Binge-watch your favorite show or new movie release.
  • Jam out to your favorite album and have a solo dance party.

Use social media with your activities;

Although we are currently under the strict rule of social distancing and self-isolation, it doesn't mean we can't reconnect with the universe and share our thoughts and activities with others.

Lately, I've been trying to keep my friends and family engaged on my Instagram Stories by either posting funny memes that I created, funny videos and my positive thoughts to encourage them to get and go to!!

Heres some examples of how you can do the same;

  1. Artist/illustrator; go on to IG Live/Facebook..etc and do paint and chill. Find one picture to illustrate and teach your friend how to do it.
  2. Musician/Music Lover: go on to IG Live/Facebook..etc and have a live listening party to your favorite album and just vibe out. Or create competition with a friend over who is the best artist in each category... ie Best female rapper...etc. ( I saw a few friends do this and it brought alot of people together.)
  3. Authors/Poets/Book Lovers: go on to IG Live/Facebook..etc and do a book reading or start an online book club do discuss a new book release or any book for the month.
  4. Chefs/Bakers/Foodies: go on to IG Live/Facebook..etc and pick a recipe to cook together. You can learn a new skill with this.
  5. TV/Movie Lovers: Use Zoom or Netflix Party and stream movie or TV Show of your choice and watch it together. Although it's not the same as them, not physically being there, but its better than watching it alone.

Working from Home...

  1. Set yourself a schedule for the week and include breaks to help break out your day. Although you're in the comfort of your own home, you are still being employed by your company and you owe it to them to do your part. Even if it's in your PJs. 
  2.  Make sure you get plenty of rest before and after your work shift. The more rested you are, you are more likely to perform better and accomplish more than you imagined.
  3.  Keep yourself hydrated! Always have a bottle of water nearby, as it kills off any viruses. 
  4. Keep active! Walk around your house if you need to and even better take a break at some point and have a solo dance party to get your adrenaline going to work again.
  5. Make time for yourself and only leave your house to get the essentials and if you need to get some fresh air for a little bit.
I hope these ideas have helped you and please make sure you can keep safe, sane and creative!

Posted By Urbanista ( Azza Gasim)
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram (@azza_urbanista)