We recently celebrated two years of flyness and two years of spreading the No Fly on the WALL message, but who is the team behind the No Fly on the WALL we hear you ask? Who are the busy bees working hard behind the scenes to bring you thought-provoking posts and brilliant monthly events? Well, ponder no more. Meet team No Fly on the WALL.
Team NFotW (from left to right): Esme Allman; Siana Bangura; Jesse Bernard; Troy Aidoo; Photo Credit: Sarah Nwafor
Esme is an aspiring History student, performer, and actress. Having ‘discovered‘ Feminism recently and attending No Fly on the WALL events, she is now our intern/ ad hoc assistant editor.
Catch her tweeting at @emporesme
Describe yourself in three words? Goofy, Funky, Open
What does (Intersectional) Feminism mean to you? To me, Feminism means being a part of a global community where each of us are able to identify with who we truly are without the worry of any prejudice or preconception. It amounts to universal equality between the sexes regardless of class, race, ability, sexual preference, talents, intelligence – the whole lot!
What does sisterhood mean to you? Sisterhood is essential in my day-to-day life; the ability to connect with all females both women and girls I encounter remains important in creating an environment which we can all safely express ourselves. Being a woman is unique and so is the sisterhood that is formed when women share the experiences that define us as women.
What does allyship mean to you? How do you become a good ally? – Allyship is a difficult one for a lot of people because it takes time and care. Behind its aims, that attempts to eliminate any ambiguity between the various minority groups that exist, there is constant failure that must be embraced. A successful ally requires compassion and empathy; its reasoning needs both these elements just as much as its execution.
When did you stop being a fly on the wall, and become active in your community/ society/ environment/ space (at home, at uni, at work, etc…), and start challenging the status quo? Since a young age I’ve always seen myself as an active member of the immediate community I’m in, whether it be in school, a performance group etc. Yet, it was the feeling that I was simply re-enacting what was taught to me was when I realised I needed to stop being a fly on the wall. The realisation of the word ‘no’ and gaining the confidence to challenge the barriers held up to myself and my peers is when I became a fly girl. And I’m still learning. Establishing an identity for myself has been and continues to be a difficult process, but being able to encourage others on this journey keeps that wall at bay…if that makes sense?!
Tell us something interesting about yourself? Earl grey tea with milk? Yes please. I also have a cool ‘fro….
Siana is a writer, blogger, freelance journalist and spoken word performer from London. She is also the founder and editor of No Fly on the WALL. Having graduated from Cambridge University in June 2013 with a degree in World and Gender History, she was overcome with the need to create a positive platform for Black women and women of colour in the UK so as to elevate and highlight their voices and unique experiences. She can often be found on stage, in person , or online critiquing society and all its contradictions.
Catch her tweeting at @sianaarrgh
Describe yourself in three words? Outspoken, determined, creative
What does (Intersectional) Feminism mean to you? Feminism is the movement to liberate all people from the contraints of gender norms, sexist role patterns, domination, oppressions and patriarchy. Black Feminism specifically understands that our various intersections are inextricably linked, so we will experience and perceive the world differently because of this. Black Feminism is a call to action – a call to challenge white supremacy, capitalism, heteronormativity, hegemonic masculinity, and just all the shit that makes the lives of the marginalised very bloody difficult. Feminism is one part of a wider and more noble struggle for the liberation of all people. Intersectional Feminism to me is a demand for equality with no exception.
What does sisterhood mean to you? Sisterhood to me is survival. In a world so hostile towards women, especially black women, we must learn that our sisters are all we’ve got and they should be our closest allies. Women must uplift other women at all times and actively work together to destroy patriarchy.
What does allyship mean to you? How do you become a good ally? Allyship to me means support. An ally must support you. They should never speak over you or walk in front you you, they should never tell you that they know what is best for you, they should never tell you how to define yourself and your struggle, they should always challenge dominant members of society and step up up to the plate when times are hard, not just when times are good, they should always be humble and ready to (un)learn. It isn’t easy to be a good ally and there are a LOT of bad ones out there.
When did you stop being a fly on the wall, and become active in your community/ society/ environment/ space (at home, at uni, at work, etc…), and start challenging the status quo? I think I’ve always been outspoken to some extent but I think I became brave just before the end of my time at University. Once I became brave I decided I had the power to make my voice count so I created a platform that would be a hub for many voices to challenge the current status quo. I’ve always found myself involved in projects that were positive for my community, just mainly because I’m a bit of an extra-curricular freak and from the age of 15 I just said yes to every opportunity. I would say I was that kid who asked ‘why?’ all the time and I absolutely hated the response ‘it just is’. That was never acceptable to me and my mum always encouraged me to question everything. I’ve kept that spirit and used it to drive every project I’m involved in today.
Tell us something interesting about yourself? I once lived with the Amish for Channel 4… and won a Bafta for it (well, me and the other gazillion people involved in the documentary but I claim this nonetheless!)
Troy James Aidoo
Troy is a freelance videographer and award winning filmmaker from London. He is the founder of Visionnary Arts, creator of the ‘More Than Melanin’ series, and the in-house videographer at No Fly on the WALL. He has created films of No Fly on the WALL workshops and most recently, our short film celebrating our second birthday.
Catch him tweeting at @TJVisionnary
Describe yourself in three words? Creative, Resourceful, Leader
What does (Intersectional) Feminism mean to you? Intersectional Feminism is a movement that focuses on the rights of women of all colour, classes, and intersections. It focuses issues overlooked by mainstream feminism, as they mainly focus on issues a lot of women can’t relate too. It also deals or looks at matters for men such as masculinity and matters within the LGBTQ community
What does allyship mean to you? How do you become a good ally? Allyship is a relationship between people who have a common goal, but may have different ways or different thoughts to achieving it, so they work together. I think to be a good ally you need to listen to and understand who you are working with even though you may not believe in their methods. I feel there needs to be a degree of trust, a lot of communication and a mutual respect.
When did you stop being a fly on the wall, and become active in your community/ society/ environment/ space (at home, at uni, at work, etc…), and start challenging the status quo?
Went to the library with friends a couple of years ago, got into a conversation about women and challenged their views. It was hard, because not only was it how I used to think, but they were friends. I feel that was not only the moment I became active, but grew up as a person and had more respect for my female counterparts. It kicked on from there, to work, and just different avenues in life. Online stuff is great, but it doesn’t reach everyone.
Tell us something interesting about yourself Aside for my passion for moving visual I had a decent football career. I still hold two caps playing for the Bexley district.
Jesse is a freelance Music journalist, podcaster, workshop facilitator, novelist, and self-proclained ‘vinyl junkie’. He is our Fly Boyz editor and assists with engaging our male audience especially and devising events focusing on deconstructing masculinity.
Catch him tweeting at @marvinscorridor
Describe yourself in three words? Trill, based and cool
What does (Intersectional) Feminism mean to you? It’s basically the movement for representation, acknowledgement and respect of women’s rights across the world, no matter your race, sexuality, ability or class. At the same time, I believe it’s the destruction of toxic patriarchy and hypermasculinity, which in turn benefits men more than they know.
What does allyship mean to you? How do you become a good ally? Listening first and foremost, that’s paramount. Can’t rally to a cause if you don’t even know what your ally is feeling. Understanding secondly. You don’t have to live an experience to understand it’s impact on another. Finally, calling out your own privilege and those that abuse their own. Being an ally is tricky but those three things are all you really need. I think for me, as an ally, I’m always going to get a lot of stick but in those moments that’s where my allyship is put to the test.
When did you stop being a fly on the wall, and become active in your community/ society/ environment/ space (at home, at uni, at work, etc…), and start challenging the status quo? There was no one defining moment for me, it was gradual process and I’m still learning to this day. Twitter was the first platform I used to become active and then my blog. Then I became known as the ‘angry black guy’ among social circles and it’s a title I embrace unreservedly, if that’s what it takes. A lot of people can’t due to many reasons such as commitments, time, family, resources and that’s understandable. I’d say in the past two years, I’ve changed so much and that’s down to engaging with people from so many walks of life. Like, I’m talking to people in LA about their experiences and stuff. (Black) Twitter has helped a lot and many people want it to go back to the ignorant days but people grow and I’m one of them. If I was the same I was in 2012, I’ve failed. When it comes to this activism stuff, I’m very abrasive and that’s something I won’t change
Tell us something interesting about yourself I’m writing a novel, which I’ve been doing for over a year now. I think what’s interesting about it and myself is that I’m learning more about myself as I write. I think I’ve moulded the protagonist who resembles me in some respects.
And here are some of the articles our team have written for No Fly on the WALL:
Esme – ‘Finding Feminism’ Series
Siana – ‘The Colour of my Struggle’
Troy – ‘Can a Black Man be a Dad?’