Hailing from Sydney, Zeadala has never been one to shy away from embracing her ‘differentness’ and addressing the many social justice and political issues present in our society as she continues to work with communities and connect to her audiences through her raw and hauntingly honest music. This is shown in her latest release ‘Your Hands’ featuring Mack Fyah.
Things I wish I knew as a young mixed-race girl growing up in Australia by Zeadala
- Your perspective of the world is unique and important: There were times when I felt so much like an outsider growing up, the only thing I could do was to sit and observe the world around me. To study human behaviour and our weird need to feel elite, or better than, by excluding people we considered too different from ourselves. This kind of mentality is obviously problematic to our progression as the human race. However, because of this experience, my learnings have contributed to the deep compassion and empathy I feel for all human beings and our collective existence.
- Your ‘differentness’ is your strength: You look a bit strange (in a good way!) and people can never seem to pinpoint exactly “where you come from”. But this, is your very own super power! Your ability to morph and move through spaces has rendered you something like a ninja- and that’s pretty damn cool!
- Half the cultures, double the advantage: Two very different types of food at dinner, two very different languages spoken you can add to your resume, and your secret ability to understand when someone is giving you a compliment in a language they think you don’t understand, or perhaps even some shade! Either way, you will be so onto it. And will be able to respond accordingly. Double the cultural holidays, and double the families you can get to know and stay with when you go to your parents’ motherlands. Need I say more? My ability to understand on a deep level the cultural heritage of my Mother who is Thai and Father who is Iraqi (with all the diversity in their traditions) has allowed me to grow up with a mind that is open, one that continues to unlearn, unclutter and clear the narratives we are usually fed about cultures other than our own. And for that I feel so blessed.
- Don’t get down about identity politics, mono-racial kids struggle with it too: Sometimes I don’t feel Iraqi enough to fit in, Thai enough to even call myself Thai, or even Aussie enough to call myself Australian. Our identities are so many things, and more importantly ever changing things. We are daughters, sisters, lovers, musicians, artists, activists, educators, feminists, woman. Some things are constant and sometimes we will cease to see ourselves in particular ways. The way we choose to identify needs not to be validated by anyone other than ourselves. If you feel that is what you are, and how you want to express yourself, then by all means, identify with that thing.
- No one in mainstream media looks like you & role models are few and far between: Don’t sweat it: I would love to turn on the TV and see more people who look like me. To see more cultures exemplified and particularly to see more first nations people being represented. I want to see Australia on TV, in music, on the radio, in theatres. That means all of Australia. In all its multiculturalism, in all its colour. And if no one looks like you. BE THAT PERSON. Get out there. Make yourself known. Shine. You’ve the right to.