February Spotlight: Nabra Badr

“BLACK WOMEN ARE OFTEN THOUGHT TO BE STRONG AND TO UPHOLD A CERTAIN STANDARD BUT THE BLACK WOMEN AROUND ME TEACH ME TO BE SOFT AND VULNERABLE, FUNNY, INTELLIGENT AND TO STAND IN MY TRUTH, TO LIVE EVERYDAY WITH COURAGE, WHICH TO ME IS THE STRENGTH I NEED TO CONTINUE YOU WHAT I DO.”

Photo by: Ebti N.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background both personally & professionally. 

My name is Nabra Badr. I would categorize myself as a multidisciplinary creative who loves to experiment with many forms of art. I’m definitely a ‘pick up a new hobby every week’ type of girl — thank you SkillShare! But professionally, if I had to narrow it down to my top three, it would be photography, illustration and graphic design. I’ve grown up around loads of creative in my household, even if they don’t think so, who have informed all the work that I do. My dad’s extensive knowledge of Nubian culture mixed with my mother’s very amazing fashion sense have made me the person I am today and ultimately informs all of my creative decisions.

How does your experience as a Black woman inform (or affect) the work that you do?

I mean it sounds pretty cut and dry but it really is one of the biggest influences on the work I do. I’m proud to come from a family with so many women and, to be exact, Black Muslim women. They teach me that my identity is multi-dimensional. Black women are often thought to be strong and to uphold a certain standard but the Black women around me teach me to be soft and vulnerable, funny, intelligent and to stand in my truth, to live everyday with courage, which to me is the strength I need to continue you what I do. Often times even when I’m not actively trying to have my work influenced by my community, I most likely still reflect back at pieces and can see that my identity has intertwined itself in my work, even in the smallest of ways. I hope that all Black people are granted the beauty of living an unapologetic life with no boundaries. To be fair, I am still actively working on [that].

What's one thing that you've seen, read, or heard that has given you hope for the future?

I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron recently. It has been really encouraging me to journal and work throughly thoughts rather than having negative self talk. It’s been keeping me busy during these crazy times and I have learned so much about myself in the short time I’ve been doing it, I think that give me a little hope about what’s to come.

What impact do you want to leave on others?

Wow, um, that’s a loaded question and it kind of makes my stomach do a little baby summer salt haha. The impact I leave on others has really shifted with being at home and all. It has become less about my work and more about connecting. I am working at being a better friend, daughter, sibling, community member and better to myself really. When my time comes to leave this Earth, which. I hope is not for a long time, I want people close to me to know my truth. I’ve always liked the idea of being a warm person, I hope when they think of me, they think of the sun. Sunny, bright and comforting. It sounds basic but living life normally is really hard right now so if I can make the smallest impact to those around me by being a good person then I think I’ve done my job.

How are you celebrating joy for yourself in today's current climate?

Okay, let’s bring it back to my 55 hobbies. That’s really how I’m celebrating joy for myself these days. In particular, I’ve picked up pottery as it’s honestly been the best way to distress. If I mess up with my bowl or the vase that I am making, I just start over, and even if it comes out weirdly shaped, which usually I like, I still embrace it. I just love that it releases me from all of my anxiety and I get to embrace the unknown. Similar to today, we are learning to relinquish control and let what needs to happen, happen.

We’re passing the mic to you now… rather than this being a question that we’re asking you we want to leave this as a spot for you to say anything, whether you want to open up a conversation around your personal experiences, Black History Month, etc or if you want to leave a community with a question or questions. Anything that is meaningful to you and that you want to share.

The word that keeps coming back to me is grace. We all need to grant ourselves a bit of grace. I talk to my family, my friends, my community and so many of us are struggling. Especially Black people are dealing with a lot of grief, both personally and in the media. I hope those in the Black community take a break to see the value you bring to the table and literally any facet of life, personally or professionally. Black people are more than just a pawn to be used in a brand marketing scheme, we are human beings and should be treated with respect. It is unfortunate that this has to be a daily reminder. Oh yeah, and also pay us our rates!!

Connect with Nabra here and check out her gift from us to you here!