Catbird x Hannah Magazine
Earlier this spring we shot a photo project with our friends at HANNAH, it was a story of strength and beauty, of birthing in all forms. Founder and editor-in-chief Qimmah Saafir created HANNAH as an ode to black women everywhere and true to its conception, this is the story of the many interwoven connections between Qimmah, her daughter Leahn, and Memaniye, the midwife who delivered Leahn 4 years ago.
The complete editorial will be released on Friday, May 7th on HANNAH's digital platform (stay tuned!) This is a glimpse, alongside an interview with Qimmah on motherhood, and all of the light and love on set that day.
In celebration of the project, The Catbird Giving Fund has made a donation of $10,000 to the National Birth Equity Collaborative, in support of their work in Black maternal and infant health.
Tell us about how Hannah Magazine came to be.
I essentially created what I wanted to see exist. I grew up with publications that highlighted and celebrated Black women. Aside from Essence, there were none that I could look to in my early adulthood. I wanted to celebrate Black women wholly, not just celebrities. I wanted to document how amazing we are, in a way that is beautiful and timeless.
You are also the creator of a digital platform on ‘perspective shifts’ - what do you find most useful for finding perspective, clarity, balance?
Carving out time for stillness. For sitting with my breath and grounding my heart. It's much easier to grant myself grace, allow space to feel something fully and emote when I am grounded in my heart space. Those things always bring clarity.
What was your inspiration for the shoot? What story did you want to tell?
I often think about the juxtaposition of soft and strong. How they are often seen as opposites but in fact go hand in hand. The way the earth must be soft to be workable, fertile, and the quiet strength it requires to support the growth of plants and crops. Also the characteristics of the womb. This is what was on my mind when thinking about this shoot celebrating birthing. I really wanted to visually present soft and strong.
What was your favorite part of the shoot?
Showing Memaniye a photo of herself in the dress we selected for her. She was hesitant when she saw it on the rack, but lit up when she saw how she looked in it. I live for those moments.
Describe your perfect day.
I have yet to master easing into my day with a toddler. I'm normally reactive as soon as I am called to open my eyes. A perfect day is any day that I have control of my time and process. As well as any day spent in nature or with loved ones.
What is your favorite mother-daughter ritual?
Our nighttime ritual. We read, we sing, we create stories, we cuddle. When she falls asleep I pray over her. Every night.
When you are in New York, what are you go-to spots?
Well the pandemic kind of shut all this down but Ode to Babel, Evelina, Ruby's and Zaca Cafe, Fort Greene and Prospect parks.
What songs are you playing on repeat right now / always?
I have an everyday playlist that I add to whenever I hear a song that moves me. It has everyone from Stevie Wonder to Gabriel Garzon-Montano to Tame Impala to Buena Vista Social Club.
What does jewelry mean to you?
My jewelry is an extension of my energy. I rarely take off my pieces and I have special occasion jewelry when I want to present my energy even more.
Questions for Leahn
What's your favorite color?
Did you have fun at the photoshoot?
Yes, I got to take some pictures.
Do you like jewelry?
Yes, especially pretty rings.
What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Square pasta! For lunch or dinner or anytime.
Can you tell us about your mom? We think she's so cool, she must be such a fun mommy!
I love my mommy. I love when we play together and go places. She's my favorite mommy.