RIP Nabra ;(

As a Muslim, I do not believe these hate crimes are at all justifiable. Of course, the news will tell you people like Nabra’s killer were unfortunately plagued with mental illness, while when someone (who is not even exhibiting the beautiful things and manners that the exquisitely wonderful religion of Islam teaches Muslims and seeks to spread) commits heinous crimes against humanity we are all antagonized and Islam gets unceasingly associated wit terrorism. I just want to make a plea for people to enlighten themselves before they commit acts against Muslims. It is unacceptable to set fires like at Nabra’s memorial! Stop attacking us! Muslims are not your enemies. Just like other communities, Islam is a group/ community, it has its terrible people that do commit terrorism and claim to be Muslim, and then it has moreover peaceful and amazing people. Islam, thus, deserves not to be treated any differently. Spread love and not hate. I do not go to the mosque much, I admit, but none of us should be scared to worship at a mosque. We would just be going about our routines and doing our stuff. This is my desperate plea to spare us, speak up and do not spread more hate under Trump. It is undoubtedly maddening how Mr. Trump stays silent when a Muslim or any minority group (Muslims in this case) are targeted. Mr. Trump makes me sick a do the heinous, deplorable people with no heart. If you have read up till here, thank you and please do not ignore my words!





Why do some Muslim people generally fail to realize I have no control over my sexual orientation? I know Islam is a beautiful and generous religion that promotes wonderful ideas, and I kniwa it is not bad I complicit.  People always pressure me to “turn straight.” It is in no way a choice. If it was a choice I would be straight, because I feel mortified when I think about the fact that I may have to tell my parents one day. I just want the Muslim population to be more tolerant and embracing of homosexuality, because being gay doesn’t make me any more or less bad or any more immoral. When people pressure me to “be straight”, it adds pressure and stress to me. I would appreciate f everyone stopped telling me to change myself or that it’s a “choice.” It’s REALLY not that easy. I can’t tell you what happened that I am so adamantly and fiercely saying this, but I in no way intend to angry or annoy anyone. I just want to be understood. I want to be genuinely lived and accepted. I just do. Today, I am confronting the prospect that I may never be able to come out to my parents, which is strangely unsettling… But they’d never understand and treat it as foreign and alien. I would like to just be my honest self, even around family. But I’m going to live it up and succeed. That is my rant… If you got to read it all, I personally thank you, even for taking a brief look…

On Trump… Against Trump… He is a heartless monster!

Donald Trump does not think the White House should be concerned with human rights. The Republicans need to stop acting like this. Trump has done enough damage. I still will not utter the words “President” and “Trump” right after each other. Trump is not my President. He bullied and cheated his way into the presidency and the Republicans did not bat an eye at it! I am extremely concerned and overwhelmed that Trump is doing deplorable things and making terrible decisions. I am not the most political person, but I do know we cannot have such a heartless disaster of a “leader” or a “president” in the White House. This is my plea for Donald Trump to be stopped and to stop being so despicable. I know for a fact I am far from being the only one. This is downright unacceptable the way people support him and the way he is using his undeserved power to benefit himself. No more Trump! Seriously, please!

BANKS… one of my favorite musicians

   I would like to shed some light on an artist I have had my eyes on for a long time, Jillian Banks, aka BANKS. I am surprised she has gotten little to no recognition by many platforms so far. Although I will admit, her hit song (my favorite by her), “Beggin for Thread”, is played fairly a lot on the alternative radio here in Southern California, I would enjoy seeing her rise in popularity. I just don’t understand. Her distinguishable, soulful voice and sound is remarkable and deserves acclaim. I have an eye for detail, and just like I can usually make a decision of if I want to approach or be friends with someone partly due to their image (I hope that doesn’t sound shallow), I can recognize awesome music. This is awesome music.
   With her downcast alternative music in a downtempo sound, tinged with elements of electronica and R&B, BANKS is definitely a force in the indie music scene. Her song “Beggin for Thread” is a dark, adventurous, and moving journey through a story appropriately titled “Beggin for Thread.” It opens with electronic and rock-ish elements and is a trip-hop-like, alternative R&B-style explication of having “edges that scractch” and being “tired of eating all of my misspoken words”, as BANKS herself says in the song lyrics. The song did gain moderate popularity and recognition, but still not as much as it should. My other favorites include a myriad, but I would like to talk about “Waiting Game”, which was featured on her amazing and commendable debut studio album, which reached 12 on the Billboard 200 albums, “Goddess” along with “Beggin for Thread” and other awesome tunes like “Brain” and “Goddess” and “Alibi.” “Waiting Game” also was featured in Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson-starring movie The Longest Ride. “Waiting Game” is a slower, even more rhythm and blues-oriented song featuring electronic elements and alternative pop elements. It is an emtional track outlining an uncertain phase between her and a possible lover.

Her album, “The Altar” debuted at 17 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured singles like “F*ck with Myself” and “Gemini Feed.” I would like to say that “Gemini Feed” easily became my second favorite song after “Beggin for Thread.” “Gemini Feed” is an electropop/ alternative pop ballad outlining a relationship. The song mentions how her love thought he could get her to the altar and how she felt “like a dog that needs water.” A bass-heavy and catchy indie/ alternative tune, it complements the other massively magnificent songs from this album. BANKS deserves this profound praise, epsecially from a voracious fan like me. Her music should be better-acclaimed because it delivers more than music. She tells narratives and sends messages through music, which is appreciable to say the least!

  She is releasing a new song, which I desperately searched for and heard a snippet of on Facebook. The track is named “Crowded Places.” It seems to be a slower song with electronic R&B undertones. One her Facebook page, Jillian Banks says it premieres tomorrow! I cannot wait! BANKS never disappoints… ever! Rock on Jillian Banks! Never stop impressing fans with your fervent attempts at delivering genuine, introspective messages through promising, perceptive, and amusing tunes that I, for one, am exceptionally fond of!
-Umar Siddiqui, 4/6/17



Fashion Roundup- Tokyo Men’s Style, Modesty in Fashion, and Hijabs in Fashion

Living is one thing, living in clothes is another very real thing. If you’re going to live in your clothes though, do it while you are really able to. Regardless of your age or gender, what have you, you can! Nothing is impossible and everything can be fun in style, especially if you are extravagant and improvisational in a way that does not eat up the scenery! It is quite appreciable to just witness the openness in fashion, whether that is being openness to expressions of gender and decadence or combatting homophobia, transphobia, or Islamophobia. Fashion is always under evolution, which is amusing to me boundlessly. Pushing boundaries intuitively and retrospectively, reviving and questioning the existence of certain trends, and defining and redefining issues like conventionality and uncoventionality are some of the things fashion does effectively!
   One of the most appreciable spaces for blurring of boundaries and challenging cycles of trends in fashion is when the issue of gender and its expression are brought up. Recently, on runways and in editorials and popular culture, you have seen skirts on the man and manipulation of the overall silhouette. Jaden Smith has been known for his wearing of skirts. Some women as well, like Tilda Swinton, have circulated (no matter how notably, but very effectively and eminently) the androgynous look. Cara Delevingne and others have done this too! Anyway, for men, in Tokyo, we can see the unconventionality embodied quite efficiently and articulated through juxtaposition. Distinguishable by prints, like polka dots, spray paint, animal prints on animal prints, plaid, and skirts, the men of Tokyo fashion certain personify something we might perceive as not in the norm, but something awesome and revolutionary–leading in a really positive direction. Expressions of gender are further communicated in make-up and decadent dressing, like color and volume (size) of the clothes. Make-up make an indispensable impact.
   Another facet of fashion is the newly-popularized modesty. Like that picture of Dolce and Gabbana’s model in a hijab, we see the pivotal impact of identifying with high fashion in an ad in a secular space. It is of course true that Islam has been wrongly stereotyped. With Donald Trump’s unfair and controversial attempts to undermine the followers of this notably beautiful religion and way of life, protesters flooded streets of not only the United States, but Europe as well, to protest the Muslim ban and the Mexican-American border wall. Anyway, a once alienated and exoticized way of dress is now the popular in many definitions and facets of the word, “popular.” Now it is not, in all spaces, that same sign of women’s oppression and does not invite that notorious question “Don’t you feel hot in that?” Sure, its corollary and alternative mode of modesty, the chador is a less fun, more monotonous staples of Islamic fashion, but definitely and remarkably the hijab and covered clothing is gaining positive eyes that look on with amusement, not disdain. A singularity that may be associated with Islamic fashion, as it is one religion and can be conflated with religion and practice of religion, should not be and cannot be what is perceived. Open-ended and insightful positions on fashion with, of course the religious significance, the meaningful and appreciable staples of Islamic fashion, the hijab, and coy, humble clothing are definitely rising up. Icons of this new phenomenon can be hijabi model, Mariah Idrissi, and Youtuber NabiilaBee, who creates hijab tutorials. Lastly by not least, Youtuber named Saraswati, who, on Instagram, is “Queen of Luna,” transforms into Disney characters with the help of the hijab! I love Disney unexplainably, so this one is a definite notable and plus point for me!
dolce and gabbana hijab
Hijabs Catering to Middle East and Muslim populations by Dolce & Gabbana. Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana.
Tokyo Men’s Fashion 2017. Photo Credit: Matthew Sperzel.
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Tokyo Men’s Fashion 2017. Photo Credit: Matthew Sperzel.

Orange is My Favorite Color…

I have loved the color orange since forever. I just happen to think it is a perfect color and adds pizzazz to anything! First of all, I am a total scaredy-cat and I know Halloween is often associated with it. I hate horror and the horror genre mostly in general but Halloween is awesome because it is a creative and festive holiday. Ultimately, I have to mention that that being that case, I still have a profound love for orange. I just don’t like how now orange is being associate with Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is a horrible person that I do not like.

Anyway, I love the fruit. Orange is radiating and energetic. Something about it is just so vibrant and happy! I like it in all ways and in all its stones and shades–like, for example, coral and rust. The one challenge posed to me that I often contemplate how to wear it. I really want to successfully get the look down!

I have multiple orange accessories, like bracelets, sunglasses, then even shoes. I have a pair of orange Toms and a pair of orange Vans. I do have a denim orange jacket (even though it is funny to talk about jackets in such hot weather; it is spring in California and it is a high of 90 degrees today!) I have bright orange t-shirts and a red orange t-shirt from River Island. I have coral swim trunks and coral shorts from H&M both. I have more rustic orange like my orange chinos from Topman, and one other orange pant that I not rustic or too bright, from H&M. Don’t forget my neon orange pair of jeans!

I want to successfully nail the orange look! I know I can try it and do that in various ways! I imagine I would balance it and consider my skin tone. I believe I could put it with more neutral colors, like navy or then, like I read, use grey with it. I will have to wait a while to wear my hefty orange jacket, so it will be some time, but I will make a impeccable and grand debut with it! Trust me!

Orange denim jacket.jpg

Orange denim jacket I bought from, the brand is Reclaimed Vintage.

orange topman pants

Orange chinos I bought from Topman.

My Love for Denim…

Since I have a profound love for denim, I have a considerable amount of denim in blue colors and washes, orange and rust, and white and black. My most coveted pieces are my rust-orange denim jacket that I bought off of; the brand is Reclaimed Vintage, my black studded denim jacket from Zara, my distressed denim jacket from Armani exchange, my white jeans with zips from Zara, and my D-Grundy pants from Diesel. I especially enjoy shopping for minimalistic pieces that have edgy details, like studs or zips or distressing. I also have many jeans in biker details, destroyed, or even with holes, like my H&M jeans. I also have this awesome denim shirt from AllSaints that has a leopard print collar, that is also certainly a favorite of mine. The collar really spoke to me.

That brings me to the issue of double-denim. If I try it, I want to nail the look! I have been apprehensive because I have constantly been uncertain of how to pull it off!

*Below are pictures of some of the items I listed and some of my denims favorites. I am that good of a photographer, so excuse me there please! Thank you!Armani Exchange Distressed Denim Jacket

This is an example of my distressed denim! It is my denim Armani Exchange jacket!Diesel D-Grundy.jpg

This is another one of my favorite pieces! It is the D-Grundy pant from Diesel!