Aminah Rahman is a 17-year-old award-winning published poet and spoken word artist born and raised in Cambridge, UK. She is a third-generation British-Bangladeshi with over 60 years of family history in Cambridge. She has been writing poetry since she was eight years old. Most of her poetry focuses on fighting racism and celebrating who we are as individuals.
To support the International Women’s Day theme and to call upon further spoken word poets to step forward and use their voice to influence positive change, Aminah crafted an inspiring poem “Changing the Future”.
Aminah’s mission is to break down any barriers that could stop people from reaching their potential, and she hopes to connect to the souls of many people who draw comfort from her words.
“I believe that it is important to be there for one another. I remember when I wrote my first rap ‘Accept Me Please’, after hearing stories about tackling racism. I ran up the stairs, taking two steps at a time as so many ideas came flooding in to me, and then I put pen to paper,” she explains. “I had never written so quickly! It was an incredible feeling knowing that I had my first rap right in front of my eyes. Poetry has enabled me to learn about the world around me and most importantly who I am as an individual.”
Winner of prestigious awards and accolades
Aminah wrote her first poetry collection Poems by Aminah in 2016. She then wrote Soul Change, her next collection of poems about social issues that affect humanity today. Five of Aminah’s poems have been published in Young Writers UK anthologies. Aminah is featured in the June 2020 edition of Writing Magazine, the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for writers, where she talks about her passion for poetry. Aminah was also recognised as one of the ‘Top 6 Most Influential Muslim Youth’ in Hayati Magazine, Nigeria’s
She was the winner of the Young Muslim Writers Awards Key Stage 2 Poetry category in 2015. In 2017, she was the joint winner of the Cambridge News and Media Education Awards: Pupil of the Year award. She also took part in the BBC Upload Festival 2020, a festival that showcases talent from across England and the Channel Islands. Aminah represented Cambridgeshire with her poem ‘Please’. She has spoken at numerous events, actively promoting inclusion and diversity.
Using poetry to understand the people and the world
Poetry can be a powerful mechanism for change. For Aminah, it is the heartbeat for change.
It helps her to understand and appreciate the way the world is today. Poetry is a form of expression that helps her to process her thoughts and feelings. Writing and reading poetry helps her to see things from a different perspective.
For Aminah, words are the best reflections. “Poetry helps me to empathise with others and it leads us to love. It also helps me to understand my own identity. My journey has helped me to discover my own voice. Poetry is a powerful gift because it addresses feelings which can be hard to describe. Poetry brings us together,” she adds.
Having a voice gives women power
For Aminah, it is important for women to use their talent to help forge an agenda that is meaningful. It is also important for women to have a voice, rather than some others giving a voice to them.
“Having a voice gives a person power. I have three older brothers and I am the only daughter in my family. This makes me feel more determined to make sure my voice is heard,” she says. “Women can build confidence from using their voice. We need to be at the forefront and not behind. It is important that we keep moving forward because our voices deserve to be heard.”
Inspired by women role models
Aminah is inspired by fellow poet Amanda Gorman, who reminds her that she should be proud of who she is and that the power of words is so strong.
“She helps to envision a way where we can be united and encourages us to love and be who you are. Her meaningful words inspire us to do greater things and climb our own individual hills, no matter what obstacles stand in our way,” explains Aminah.
The Olympian fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, is also an outstanding role model for Aminah because Ibtihaj stands up for what she believes in, never backs down, and encourages people to move forward. “I am really inspired by these women and what they have achieved in their lives. These women are not just inspirational to me, but to us all,” concludes Aminah.
“I discovered my voice within my spoken word poetry performances. I have built confidence and trust in myself. I am passionate about the work that I do but I also enjoy being able to help others too.”