Black Iranians Launch Collective to Highlight Their Stories

Collective for Black Iranians
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[Collective for Black Iranians]
Kounkou-Hoveyda: "When we process the idea of being Iranian, we should also be able to envision Blackness and Africanness as being a part of it, because it is."
Photo: Twitter

The Collective for Black Iranians group has released a short animated series (Siyaaa Zibaast\Black is Beautiful) as part of their effort to highlight the stories of Black Iranians and Iranians of African descent.

She sits with an air of reflection, a tea in one hand, staring into the moon over the Gulf through the window. Next to her are two books, one titled Iranian.

The second one is opened - and on a fresh page she has written down and underlined the word "Africa."

It is a scene from Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful), an animated short series. The woman depicted is Khyzran Khanum, a 22-year old who was kidnapped from Tanzania and sold as a slave in Iran in the mid-1800s.

Despite being told to remain home, Khyzran hears from another enslaved woman about the potential of petitioning for her freedom. British records from the port city of Bandar Lengeh show she fled, and sought out freedom by pushing for her emancipation. However, there are no records to show what came of her story.

The animated series is one of many works that will be featured by the Collective for Black Iranians, a newly launched group which focuses on amplifying representation of Black and Afro Iranians - something that is long overdue, explains the founder, Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda.

"When we process the idea of being Iranian, we should also be able to envision Blackness and Africanness as being a part of it, because it is," Kounkou-Hoveyda says.

The collective is held by three pillars - amplify, educate, advocate.

"The idea is to emphasize stories of Black Iranians, stories of people who come from cultures between Africa and Iran, and Iranians of African descent."

Read the rest of this story here:

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