If you're a young person of color and specifically Muslim, this week may have felt unusual. Anti-Islamophobia marches on June 6, 2022, marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of four members of the Afzaal family, while out for a walk in London, Ontario.

Then 19-year-old Pakistani-Canadian Iman Vellani, who went to Unionville High School (so did Hayden Christensen) in Markham, Ontario, became the first first Muslim American superhero 🦸🏾‍♀️ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And the global media covered this positive Muslim story! 🙌🏼

Vellani, like most first and second-generation immigrant teenagers, who love American pop culture, wasn't cool or popular and felt very disconnected from her culture growing up. With no role models that looked like her, she didn't see how being Muslim or Pakistani would help her succeed in pursuing an arts career in integrated media at OCAD. She's from a family of pragmatic professionals. Her mom's a nurse practitioner, her dad's an accountant and her brother is an engineer.

Every teenager yearns to find a community they can belong to and call their own while figuring life out. Often, they find it through a fandom like comics, music, movies, or by attending an Avengers-themed fan convention (spoiler alert) like the character, Kamala does with her friends in Episode 1.

Zoe Fraade-Blanar, the co-author of Superfandom, says:

Fandom is a verb. It’s a set of activities that people can do on behalf of the things that they love.

The cool thing about participating in a fandom like the Avengers is the diverse group of people you meet from different backgrounds. Without knowing it, you bond around your shared interests and passions. The doing and experiencing part of a fandom helps to break down barriers because strangers who regularly "geek out", embrace their differences quickly and become friends.

The most important part of a fandom is experiencing it together. That's both online and in-person. It's all the special and intensely satisfying moments and memories, with people who become some of your closest friends for many years.

In future issues, we'll cover Indigenous creators and how humor brings different people together. If you have a story or a topic for a future issue, don't be a stranger. Reach out by hitting reply.

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Have an awesome week!


Publisher and Founder, Spinning Forward

Tw: @flaviandelima IG: @flaviande


It is not every day that I turn on the TV and find a character who eats the same foods, listens to the same music or uses the same Urdu phrases as me. What a joy to see Ms. Marvel reflect the lives of a Pakistani immigrant family and reveal a young superhero whose powers connect to her heritage. Thank you, Marvel and Disney+, and most importantly, Ms. Marvel. #MsMarvel

-- Malala Yousafzai, June 2022