they seem cool

The Black Lives Matter Activist Who Loves Boxing and Sci-Fi

Meet Janaya Khan.

Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis
Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis

You may recognize Janaya Khan as Future, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter Canada. You may have watched them speak about privilege in viral videos or read their tweets, which are more eloquent than anything on Twitter has a right to be. They say their work as an activist, organizer, and de facto teacher is primarily about believing in possibility — “the possibility of reversing climate change, of dignity and an end to mass incarceration, of enough food and clothing and housing for all people.” But even the most inspiring people have guilty pleasures — like belting Queen at karaoke. We spoke with them about sweatpants, superheroes, and Alexander Wang.

Whats your most-used emoji?
The eye-roll emoji has yet to fail me under any circumstance. The eye-roll emoji is eye-rolling me right now.

Favorite holiday?
Not stuck on a particular holiday but I love sharing good food with the homies. Will take any excuse to do that.

If you could spend three months anywhere, where would it be and why?
I would def spend three months in South Africa.

What superpower would you have and why?
I am so lucky that I don’t think about superpowers; I am already surrounded by superheroes. They are activists and organizers and freedom fighters who know how to make something out of nothing, amplify the voice and stories we need to hear most, and create tangible change for oppressed people in the world. Those are the superpowers I admire and try to live by as best I can.

What’s the best album ever made?
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill  by Lauryn Hill. Easily. Illmatic is a close second.

Go-to karaoke song?
Anything Queen. Anytime. Anywhere. I love Queen.

Who do you think is cool?
Independent journalists who are committed to telling the truth, especially the journalists at Truth Out. Janelle Monáe is cool. Mariame Kaba, an incredible abolitionist and advocate for incarcerated women and people, is perhaps the coolest.

What fictional character would you love to hang out with?
Lauren Olamina from Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” and “Parable of the Talents.” We would have much to discuss; power, feminism, Earthseed and the creation of a new belief system in the digital age.

If you could be a magazine, what magazine would you be?
I would be the lovechild of British Vogue, the Cut, and Dazed. The name would be something dope and peculiar. Maybe it would be called Dope and Peculiar.

If you could speak to animals, which animals would you want to talk to?
All of them. All. Of. Them.

Jeans or sweats?
Sweats forever.

What’s something your social-media followers don’t know about you?
My social-media followers don’t know that I am a hopeless romantic. They also don’t know that I am a competitive boxer who loves sci-fi and fantasy. A hard punching, hard loving nerd.

What was the last website you looked at?
The last website I looked at was The Guardian. Every morning I wake up and check different news sites with my morning shake. The Guardian is one of them.

If you could be outfitted by one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Alexander Wang. The work Wang does on subverting cultural norms and pushing back on the status quo speaks to me. I also love black. It’s a good look.

What do you eat for breakfast?
A vegan protein shake with greens.

If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Jerk chicken with rice and peas, greens, and mangos.

If you were a color, what would it be?

Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis

Janaya wears Moncler Palm Angels jacket and pants.

The Black Lives Matter Activist Who Loves Boxing and Sci-Fi