Rapper Intibint launches magazine that celebrates Yemeni culture through female lens

Yemeni-British singer and artist Noha Al Maghafi, better known by her stage name Intibint, is launching a print magazine to represent Yemeni women in a way that is “long overdue”.

Al Yamaniah, a publication which celebrates female creatives from a country embroiled in civil war since 2014, has been a digital platform since 2019 but will be available in print for the first time from March 2. The launch issue features 286 pages of poetry, photography, illustrations, collages and fashion from more than 80 Yemeni female contributors.

Al Maghafi says the magazine’s purpose is to celebrate Yemeni culture through a female lens at a time when the mainstream media continues to paint a “one-sided” picture of the country.

“Global awareness of what is happening in Yemen and how this affects its people in the country and diaspora is long overdue,” she says. “As this slowly shifts, we want to do our part to make sure the world does not only see a one-sided representation of Yemenis.”

Culture, art, identity and feminism are focal points for Al Yamaniah. The cover of its first print issue features a veiled woman wearing a printed silk scarf, exaggerated cat-eye sunglasses and leather biking gloves. Above her, the title is written in orange and green block letters, in both English and in Arabic.

Al Maghafi, whose stage name, Intibint, Arabic for “you are a girl”, released her single, Silently, earlier this month as a tribute to Yemen. She says her music is a natural extension of her passion for art.

Raised both in Yemen and the UK, Al Maghafi is passionate about keeping the focus on creative women from her country. “I grew up in a family with more women than men but always found that the men’s needs were put first,” she explains.

“It’s something that always felt wrong, especially when all the women around me were so strong, talented and inspiring. With this in mind, I wanted to create a platform for celebrating women. It was long overdue in so many ways.

“My intention was to create a community that could give all Yemeni women the same confidence I was given when I started sharing my work – this way more of us can thrive and the world can see our talent.”

It was Asma Ibrahim who proposed the idea of creating a physical edition of the magazine after joining Al Maghafi’s online project. She is now its editor and has been working closely fashion photographer Asma Hamdi, the magazine’s creative director and designer, on the print launch.

The first issue might appear like a luxury glossy at first glance, though readers will quickly note that the opening, full-page adverts from Dolcetain & Gabbana and Al Chaneel, are not representative of the famed European fashion houses, but are instead satirical renditions created with a playful punch.

Likewise, the magazine’s editorial team is introduced not through posed portrait shots, but rather, through Zoom screenshots, complete with filters and props.

Brimming with youthful passion and energy, the content is both vibrant and varied, at times coming across as tongue-in-cheek and at others, very emotional. Interactive and engaging, one page features a wordsearch in Arabic, while another contains a recipe for a traditional tuna steak.

There’s a photography series starring hijab-clad Fulla dolls, while the magazine’s main fashion shoot showcases the designs of Yemeni label Kazna Askar, who became the first designer to incorporate hijabs into designs shown at the Central Saint Martins’ MA fashion show at London Fashion Week and also won the Debut Talent Prize at Fashion Trust Arabia in 2022.

Ibrahim says she was keen to create a tangible publication that could showcase the creative community of Al Yamaniah beyond its digital pages. “I know how powerful material impact can be,” she says.

Hamadi, meanwhile, explains that the publication’s focus on Yemeni women makes it unique within the already underrepresented niche in the Middle East.

“I liked the idea of a physical archive that documents contemporary Yemeni female artists,” she says. “There aren’t many publications that would publish this many artists together.

The launch issue of Al Yamaniah is the Al Dar (Arabic for home) edition, symbolic of childhood memories of Yemen. “As a diaspora-led project, we really wanted to capture the sense of nostalgia and romanticism that people can develop after a long time away from home,” says Ibrahim.

“We decided a focus on childhood was important because the war has made it difficult to visit Yemen over these past eight years, and many of our core memories of Yemen are rooted in our childhood visits.”

Among the other highlights inside the launch issue are sections on patterns and textiles, as well as historical tributes.

The launch issue of Al Yamaniah is out on March 2 and is available for pre-order from

Updated: February 26, 2024, 3:06 AM

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