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“Do I Make You Feel Uncomfortable?” Embracing The Radical Joy Of Leah V

The multi-hyphenate content creator is finally ready to tell her story.

By Mike Sheffield

“Visibly Muslim, hijabi. I’m fat but don’t get it twisted. Are you afraid that if we could love — truly love — ourselves, imperfections and all, that we’d be free? Do I make you feel uncomfortable?” Thus begins the video “Muslim Girl Dance #BodyProject,” a movement-centered performance art video by writer, speaker, and cross-medium content creator Leah Vernon, better known as Leah V. The video would start the creative on a path of bold expression and mentorship. But life didn’t always feel so limitless for Leah V.

Born and raised in Detroit, Leah was brought up in a strict Muslim household where freedom of expression wasn’t always a given. “Growing up, people chose who I was. They had such a say in who I was going to be,” Leah says. In her religious community, as well as in her marriage, Leah felt trapped by the roles that were thrust upon her. After a divorce, Leah had to figure out who she was beyond what others had made of her — besides being Muslim, besides being a wife.

“I had to figure out what Islam meant to me and how to present it outwardly as well as internally,” Leah says. “I can now say that I am very much so spiritual and very much so Muslim, even though I don’t always look the part or fit into the box of what a hijabi looks like.”