When Samirah Raheem speaks, every word sounds like gospel. The LA-based model and actress has proved that she has a lightning quick mind when it comes to articulating her own beliefs – as you’ll know if you saw the interview she did at SlutWalk 2017, which went viral this year. After being approached by conservative pundit Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, who questioned her on camera about being “a slut”, Samirah perfectly used the opportunity to illustrate how to render a gendered insult meaningless, declaring: “We are all sluts!”
For our latest instalment of Dazed Texts, she channels Chicago Tribune journalist Mary Schmich, reciting the eternally inspiring words of her 1997 essay “Wear Sunscreen” (popularised by Baz Luhrmann’s song of the same name in 1999). The text, which was written as a hypothetical commencement speech, is arguably one of the earliest examples of something going viral. As Schmich explained in an interview to mark the text’s 20th anniversary last year: “There was no such thing as online publishing at the time. Email was relatively new... So this thing started going around in the early internet. It was one of the first viral things, people just started emailing it to each-other.”
In this video, directed and produced by Bec Evans, Samirah is bold and fearless, encouraging women like her to “enjoy the power and beauty of (their) youth”. Gifted with a sense of conviction most of us can only dream of, and due to her enchanting oration, you’d be forgiven for thinking she wrote the words herself.
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” Samirah says without a hint of fear or trepidation. Confident, exuberant, and comfortingly intimate, with each verse she dares the viewer to join her in actually enjoying themselves and living fearlessly.
Watch the moving film starring Samirah Raheem above.