I thought it was really interesting when she said she had never thought of herself as black (in the sense of like, “Iman the black model”) before she started her fashion career. At first I was taken aback, but I think that’s because most of the time when I hear people say they don’t consider themselves black or some variant on that trope, it’s coming more from a place of internalized anti-blackness… whereas here she goes on to say something like, coming from Somalia and living in Kenya etc., how else would she think of herself?
I think it’s rare for black Americans to have that same feeling of being able to take their race for granted (in the positive sense)… or maybe I’m projecting? IDK anyway more to the point Iman is beautiful
when you grow up in an African country where black faces are the norm, you aren’t identified or “othered” in the terms of your blackness, you’re more identified by your ethnic distinctions ie (tribe, clan etc). She didn’t mean it in a negative way or trying to deflect from her blackness, it’s more so that she was explaining within the context of growing up as a somali woman, she wasn’t hyper aware of her blackness because it wasn’t constantly contrasted with whiteness.
I can’t find the quote but I believe Lupita Nyong’o and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke about this more eloquently in terms of African born people who have ties to a specific ethnicity don’t frame their identities in the context of American racial markers. They aren’t oblivious to their blackness of course but blackness isn’t the primary identifier.