From top: IMAGE Woman of the Year 2018 logo; Tweets between Áine Carroll and Image magazine’s Digital editor Dominique McMullan; Áine
IMAGE.ie published their Women of the Year list at the weekend. All of the women featured were deserving of the accolade, but one thing stood out and made the list seem, well, odd. They were all white:
Dominique McMullan, IMAGE’s digital editor, responded on Monday to a tweet I had sent over the weekend (see above), but later deleted her reply.
Dominique subsequently reached out and provided a statement, which you can read at the bottom of this article.
There should not be two lists, and yet here we are. In 2018. With a white-only list and an alternative list that, frankly, I should not have had to compile.
Here are some exceptional women that IMAGE could have included, but didn’t:
Ellie is from Malawi and is set to become the first woman living in Direct Provision to stand in the local elections when they take place next year. Running for the Social Democrats in the North Inner City ward of Dublin City Council, Ellie is an activist speaking out about Direct Provision and founded Our Table to highlight the ban on asylum seekers cooking their own food in Direct Provision centres. Ellie is seeking asylum in Ireland and has lived here for more than nine years. She was recently celebrated in an exhibition of specially commissioned works of art, Local Heroes, run by Dublin City Council Culture Company.
Ola is absolutely smashing it as a fluent speaker of Irish and has a weekly radio show on Raidió Na Life every Saturday from 4pm-5pm. She is also a contributor to the Motherfoclóir podcast. With Nigerian heritage, she has a degree in English, Media and Cultural Studies from the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Ola is also a video producer and recently produced and directed a video, What does ‘Irishness’ Look Like, challenging stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be Irish in 2018.
Shubhangi is a young person of colour who is queer and disabled and who has recently moved on from housing insecurity to starting a not-for-profit brand. She raised over €10,000 for Repeal and other social causes in Ireland, on top of being a medical student and researcher who is lecturing publicly about the need for diversity in science communication. Shubhangi also recently created a website, repealist.ie, to platform diversity in Ireland.
FeliSpeaks (aka Felicia Olusanya) is a young Nigerian-Irish spoken word performance artist, writer and poet who is in demand. She delivers show-stopping performances and co-wrote a sold-out spoken word play called ‘BOYCHILD’. Felispeaks is also an award winning artist, honoured by the African Professional Network of Ireland for her unique contribution to the Dublin City art scene in 2017. Blurring the lines between music and poetry, she has performed alongside Saul Williams, Super Silly, JyellowL, NC Grey and more. With poems that explore different ideas of feminism, coming of age experiences and universal personal experiences, her art is centred on connecting with her audience through honesty, openness and thought provoking observations.
Ilaina is scientist and public engagement coordinator with Sense about Science, a charity campaigning to challenge the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. Ilaina has a research masters in immunology from Trinity College Dublin and is trained as a bioinformatician. Ilaina is also a campaigner and activist highlighting issues faced by migrant women and ethnic minorities.
Celaviedmai, also known as Maimouna Salif, is an Irish-born rapper who has opened for Lil Wayne, Mac Miller, Hoodie Allen, Tinchy Stryder, Sneakbo, Section Boyz and recently Jimothy Lacoste. She also wrote the catchy theme tune to the popular It Galz Podcast. The 25 year old from Galway is a talented songwriter and regularly performs at festivals and events, including Electric Picnic, the Fringe Festival and recently Working Class Heroes. Celaviedmai has been featured in the New York Times and Vice’s Noisey and is the face of hip hop in Ireland on Google. She has her own catalogue of music on Spotify.
Filomena is a blogger, YouTuber and Tedx speaker with a special interest in modern dating and relationships. She regularly features as a commentator and writer in Irish media and recently wrote about the nuances in implied consent for thejournal.ie. Her viral open letter titled ‘Dear Irishmen, Please Stop Sexualising Us,’ garnered immense media attention last summer where she shut down a phenomenon that has been recognised as the fetishisation of black women in dating circles. This catapulted her across the internet and featured her in over 15 publications worldwide, including Huffington Post, Refinery 29 and The Metro, to name just a few. Filomena made her television debut in May 2018 where she was part of the cast for a ground-breaking Channel 4 series called Genderquake. Watch her Tedx talk here.
Dr. Ebun Joseph
Dr. Joseph is an author, social justice activist, motivational speaker, intercultural consultant and researcher in the field of race relations, racial stratification and the labour market. She oversees a module in UCD, the first of its kind in Ireland, called Black Studies and Critical Race Perspectives in Education. The course examines “the histories, social movements and contributions of people of African descent, as well as look[ing] at contemporary forms of Blackness in society and around the world.”
Vanessa is a talented photographer and actress originally from Belfast. She was living in Japan when she took up photography to help her combat anxiety. Vanessa moved to Dublin in 2017 to attend acting school and from there contributed to the What does ‘Irishness’ look like video. Her mental health and recovery project, Zone In, was exhibited in A4 Sounds to raise money for the rape crisis centre and Vanessa’s newest project is called Off-White Sheets.
Clara Rose Thornton
Clara Rose Thornton is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, event organiser and radio and television broadcaster. Her work focuses on the arts and their intersection with social justice, identity politics, history and place. She is a three-time Dublin/Leinster Poetry Slam Champion. Clara Rose frequently contributes to RTÉ radio shows including “The Ryan Tubridy Show”, “The History Show”, and “Arena”. She was instrumental in founding the inaugural Black History Month Ireland in 2014, and toured the country as the observance’s headlining performer. She performs her provocative spoken word at festivals and venues across Europe and North America and her print cultural criticism is published internationally, including in the Irish Independent and the Irish Times.