“……As U.K. Editor for Brown Girl MagazineSejal Sehmi is a globally celebrated media insider – self-described as a ‘writer and full-time thinker’. Her passion for writing has ‘stemmed from challenging society defined rules created for women of her generation.’ Dr Reena invites Sejal to Harley Street to discuss topics further in depth and she reveals how her role within the industry has evolved since starting out.
As I lay down flowers outside the grounds of Buckingham Palace to pay my respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month, I am taken back to the summer of 2001. My then 4-year-old cousin had decided to throw a royal tantrum outside the palace grounds, once she realised that she wasn’t on Her Majesty’s invite list to the annual Garden Tea Party. “But I want to see the Queen!” she cried. Just like her, I grew up on fairy tales of Kings and Queens living in magical Kingdoms — yet our reality was far from fiction. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the country’s longest-serving monarch, leaves behind a legacy that will continue to heighten so many emotions and divide views amongst South Asians in the United Kingdom. For many, the history of colonisation and wounds of partition, inflicting my own family, is far from forgotten. Yet, equally there are those, like my immigrant grandmother, wanting to move forward — who not only participated with fellow South Asians in the Queen’s Jubilee celebration in Jun, but waited 12 hours to see the late Queen lying in state — that are simply mourning the matriarch, the mother, the grandmother — who single-handedly served the country for over 70 years. A country that my grandmother calls home. As BGM’s UK Editor, I was well aware of the challenges in bringing together different voices on one platform. Voices of loss, grief, anger and even hope, but voices that need to be heard. I am thankful to my team and all the guests that have contributed such raw emotions.
Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Brown Girl Magazine’s U.K. team along with guest contributors, some who have been associated or recognised by the monarchy, have penned their views on whether this historic moment will shift attitudes towards the significance and standing of the Royal Family. Read the full Brown Girl Magazine opinion link here
Language isn’t the sole identifier in embracing and appreciating your cultural roots, so why do society set benchmarks to determine someone’s cultural appreciation. As UK Editor of Brown Girl Magazine and born into a mixed heritage, I have come across so many stories that relay the same question – why do we struggle with identity? I speak to Sharan Raju – creator of Too British To Be Asian podcast to discuss if these narratives will ever change?
“….It’s not us who should be silenced or forced into guilt, it is those who hold resentment and fear of what our collective voices can evolve into that need you. Because I certainly don’t and I no longer wish to carry you alongside with me.”
“….Actor, feminist, humanitarian — just a few words that describe the dynamite who is Jameela Jamil. It was February 2009, when this quirky, tall and slightly nervous looking British South Asian presenter exploded on to U.K.’s Channel 4. The cynic in me, of course, assumed this was just a strategy to tick the “brown skin on-screen” box. How wrong was I?!…”
Brown Girl Magazine U.K. exhibited “Disrupt” at TedxUCLWomen – a collection of stories at the that represent how, through our platform, across the world, South Asian women are “disrupting” the status quo and shaking up the dialogue in our communities. By championing women of colour who disrupt the narrative of cultural or societal formed norms – through arts, politics, or simply humanitarian channels, these stories are a reflection of how each of these women are shifting paradigms to create their own paths that define their individuality. Check out the photos from the event below.
Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian women globally who believe in the power of storytelling as a vehicle for community building and empowerment. BGM U.K. will display a collection of stories at the TedXUCLWomen exhibition that represent how, through our platform, across the world, South Asian women are “disrupting” the status quo and shaking up the dialogue in our communities. By championing women of colour who disrupt the narrative of cultural or societal formed norms – through arts, politics, or simply humanitarian channels, these stories are a reflection of how each of these women are shifting paradigms to create their own paths that define their individuality.