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5 Ways To Continue To Fight The Power From Home

Between work, a baby, and COVID, I knew protesting in the streets was a no go for me. Here's how I found a way to contribute to the cause from home.

Human Interest

I dare not lie and say I have all the answers to fighting systematic racism or the social injustice that continues to plague black folks. In fact, a few weeks ago I was just as angry, tired, and confused as the next person. I cried my tears, stewed in my frustration, and vented until I could vent no more.

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I had an honest moment with myself, admitting that all the reposting in the world did little to fix the issues at hand. After coming to grips with this reality, I decided I was going to do something that mattered, but what? Between work, a baby, and COVID, I knew protesting in the streets was a no go for me. Thankfully, my Sorority sent out a call-to-action that included several ways I could make a difference from home. Once I worked through that initial list, I stumbled upon resource after resource and even created a few ideas of my own.

Here is a rundown of some of my faves thus far.

When We All Vote

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If you are like me, you have seen activists everywhere harping on the importance of voting. There is a reason for that. Our vote dictates more than who becomes President, it influences who serves as District Attorney, Mayor, City Councilmen, and so forth.

Make a concerted effort to learn more about the issues affecting your state and hometown. Next, look at which candidates seem most aligned with the needs of your community. Take note of their stance regarding social injustice and other issues facing the black community. Mark your calendar with reminders of election days in your city. Finally, if you've moved, changed your name, or just aren't registered to vote, you can visit whenweallvote.org to register.

See Something, Say Something

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We often discount the power of our voice. If you notice a lack of diversity or an instance of social injustice, call it out and ask for help changing it. It is as simple as writing or calling your Congressman to state your concerns and what you'd like to see happen as a result of those concerns. If you're not sure where to begin, NAACP.org does a great job of laying out some of these concerns in an easy-to-understand format that you can use as a guide.

Lack of diversity at work? Write your CEO to respectfully explain your experience as a black employee, why it matters and solutions for change. You may be surprised to see the impact your voice truly makes.

Participate in the Census

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There's not enough emphasis placed on truly understanding the importance of the census.

The census is vital to change because it directly affects billions of federal government budgetary allocations. These allocations could be the difference between funding community centers in black neighborhoods or elsewhere. Nearly everything you can think of is impacted by the census – public transit systems, highway repairs and construction, free lunch, daycare, and housing assistance just to name a few. In addition, the census determines congressional representation. It is also used to draw congressional legislative districts as well as state legislative districts. The opportunity only comes once in a decade and it's here now. If you haven't already completed your 2020 Census, visit 2020Census.gov. The process is quick and painless but makes a world of difference.

Spend Consciously 

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With black consumers spending more than any other demographic group, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. Only shop with socially responsible companies who reflect good diversity practices and are in the fight for equality with us. Be conscious about supporting Black-owned businesses and double down on your philanthropic efforts by contributing to organizations that are making a difference in your community. Not sure whether you should support a brand? Go follow @pullupforchange. You will find diversity stats and action plans for a ton of major brands with the list growing daily.

Use Your Influence

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Been sitting on a great idea? Now's your chance to put it out there. Get creative about effectuating change by leading your own movement. Do not despise small beginnings. If everyone did something positive, imagine the difference we could make.

For my part, I have hosted a little black dress photo challenge to bring awareness to the slaying of Breonna Taylor and raise funds for justice. Aside from this, I created an email template that can be used as a starting point for discussing workplace diversity. The outcome of these efforts has been phenomenal. A huge reminder that we all have what it takes to fight the power by using our voice and our resources.

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Featured image by Shutterstock.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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