"With Dark Hues I’m really enjoying helping people in a creative way, encouraging them to be who they are, and representing what I want to see in the world."

Spotlight on: Veema Sawmynaden – creating meaningful impact through her digital magazine, Dark Hues

Veema had always been looking for ways that she could create a meaningful impact to society, but wanted to do so in a creative way to represent what she wanted to see in the world. So after attending a workshop around colourism, she developed the idea for a digital magazine to inspire conversations and raise awareness around the subject. Now, Dark Hues is a fast-growing platform for dark skin people of colour to share their experiences.

I co-founded Dark Hues, a digital magazine for dark skin people of colour (particularly focusing on women, non-binary and trans-men), with my friend Chizoba Itabor in May 2020. We met when we both attended a workshop that was based around colourism. I’d always wanted to create content that would uplift dark skin people and as Chizoba is a really great content creator, I suggested we collaborate on the magazine. 

Once we began to set it all up, we started searching for people who would be interesting to feature, and began to approach them. The initial idea was that people would email us with written interview style pieces since we couldn’t meet up in real life due to the pandemic. 

After a few months, juggling my full-time NHS job with Dark Hues magazine became quite a challenge. After making the exciting decision to begin expanding our team, we decided that we needed content creators and writers who could help us manage the workload. We also narrowed down the different themes we would need to cover – beauty, lifestyle and fashion to name a few. 

As we are volunteer-led, we decided to look for dark skin people of colour with little to no writing experience to give them a platform and provide a safe space to be able to do it. 

There’s a lot of research involved when looking for content creators and writers – looking at profiles, talking to people, sending emails. We also hold bi-weekly meetings with the whole team to discuss current issues and what content we want to create over the coming weeks. It’s very collective and collaborative, and all of our volunteers are given the chance to contribute with their ideas. 

Myself and Chizoba are co-editors, and we have a beauty content creator and three writers, one of whom is based in Nigeria – so we are growing internationally. 

In the future, I would love the magazine to grow and reach more people. One of the main issues that I am keen to tackle is colourism in urban schools. When I was growing up in London, colourism was a huge problem and it still is. I previously helped to run school community workshops, and I want to draw on this experience to educate young people ton how to tackle prejudice and discrimination.

I’ve always wanted to volunteer in a field that was meaningful to me and in which I could make an impact. With Dark Hues I’m really enjoying helping people in a creative way, encouraging them to be who they are, and representing what I want to see in the world.

You can follow Dark Hues on Instagram to keep up with their incredible work. Read more stories from our 10 great guardians who we’re highlighting as part of our tenth birthday celebrations.