How many of us find that we can stand up for our friends, our neighbours or people we’ve never even met – but not for ourselves? As a child, the shock of moving between countries and the struggle to reconcile different aspects of her identity led anaiis to stop speaking altogether. The less noise you make, the lower the chance of getting into trouble – right? But as she grew older and started to witness injustice, she realised she would have to speak up. Looking to her mother and grandmother for guidance she saw a reflection of herself, women who had compromised themselves in the service of others. And so she turned to her art to help her to find self-acceptance and, in the process, self-liberation. A multi-talented singer and musician, anaiis has lived multiple lives. Moving from Toulouse, to Dublin, to Dakar, to California, to New York and finally to London, anaiis’s feeling of belonging everywhere and nowhere has added many colours to her creative palette. Her music explores narratives of blackness, but purposefully seeks to defy any attempts to reduce Blackness into a singular narrative, instead showing human nature in all its complexity. anaiis’s style transcends genres; her tone is fearless and urgent, her sound a languid haziness. Paying homage to Nina Simone, anaiis’ debut single “Nina” touches on themes of reclamation and freedom. Her latest project “Darkness At Play” carefully exposes a world in decay, yet resists the temptation to minimise this world to its doomed fate and goes on to explore political contradictions, selfhood, and the divine feminine. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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