As a beauty influencer, Shahd Khidir typically uses her Instagram page to post immaculately-made up images promoting products to her followers.
But these days, the Sudanese influencer is using her feed for something altogether more serious by posting about the crisis happening in her home country.
In one of her posts, Khidir appears with no makeup, weeping and telling her nearly 100k followers about “the massacre happening in my country.”
The 26-year-old New Yorker said she was crying because one of her friends died in the ongoing protests in the country.
“I am at my office, crying because I have so many emotions in me, and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s (sic) and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days,” she wrote in the post.
“It’s really hard being an influencer and sharing information that is “off brand” and not worthy of the “feed” but I cannot hold this in anymore,” she wrote as she informed her followers and the brands she works with that she was taking a hiatus from promotional posts and would now focus on telling the world about the crisis in Sudan.
Since the post on June 6, which went viral, Khidir has continued to drum up support and raise awareness on her feed, asking her followers to donate to the country.
“It’s important to bring awareness to humanitarian issues. We should always inform others about what’s going on in the world and to offer our support,” Khidir, who has a degree in political science, told CNN.
She was one of the first people to speak about the killing of Mohamed Hashim Mattar during a crackdown by the Sudanese paramilitary forces on protesters demanding a change in leadership in Khartoum on June 3.
She had been unhappy about the treatment of protesters and had even discussed it with Mattar.
“I remember talking with him about the current situation in the country and how it’s affecting us as the young professionals. He was a young man with ambitions and hopes for a better Sudan,” she said.
Security forces have killed and abused hundreds of people in Sudan during massive street protests which led to the forced exit of longtime President Omar al-Bashir, according to Amnesty International.
Protests continued after he was ousted as a clamor came for the ruling military generals to transfer power to a transitional civil authority.
But they soon turned violent with demonstrators killed and up to 40 bodies thrown into the Nile, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD).
Celebrities, including Rihanna and Taraji P. Henson, have also used their platforms to draw global attention to the protests.
Khidir says she has been moved by the support from people around the world and she hopes that it will continue to inspire Sudanese people home and abroad to keep fighting for the change they desire.
“I want a civilian-led democratically-elected government in Sudan. That’s the change I want to see,” she added.