Ghanaian activist goes viral with headscarf photoshoot

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Too often, we take for granted the privilege of looking as young and vibrant as our first born. Or the joy of getting the best deal on a rare prom dress. But one woman wants to stop the huge business of fake, filly tones, injections and bleaching. That’s why she’s campaigned to stop the use of botulinum toxins, most commonly marketed as colourist kits, to lighten skin.

“One of the funniest things I have done in my life is have Botox removed from my own face,” says activist and activist Audrey Kwa, author of the revolutionary 2014 book “Are you too nice to wear make-up?”

With that seed of a young activist born within her, Kwa has found her creative outlet as a journalist — covering issues of racism, social justice and personal freedom.

“I always believed that I should be pushing other women to think about their power,” she says, naming “John Brown’s body bag” and “The Secret Power of the Virgin” as books she has always loved.

But in the eyes of the police, Audrey Kwa stands accused of threatening public order.

That’s because the 32-year-old from Ghana is facing trial in her homeland over a photoshoot in which she dons a grey hijab with Muslim women for a group called Ghana Women Against Veil Violence.

“I should be able to cover up my face just like any other person,” she says. “I should not have to worry about whether or not the men who are supposed to be my protectors will be passing by. And most importantly, I should be able to make my own decisions about my body.

“This is not about wearing a headscarf, this is about wearing what you think is right and what feels right for you.”

Human rights’ champions

Audrey Kwa

Kwa is an accomplished professional, who started her journalism career at the prestigious American Television Network and was named in Time magazine’s list of the top 100 most influential people in the world. But she’s been gaining international attention with her bold advocacy work.

A project she did for Bensaolu Berhane, writer and spokesperson for the African Union (AU) in Morocco, caught the attention of “Detained” director and actor Naomi Wolf.

Wolf, known for her groundbreaking books such as “The Beauty Myth” and “The Age of Consent,” which chronicle the often profound friction between feminism and the age of color, is now Kwa’s partner in activism.

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