She grew up appreciating her diverse heritage. Now she encourages others to do the same.

Maha AJ grew up proud of her Sudanese-Iraqi heritage. Her parents made sure of it. From the time she was little, Maha Jaafar’s (or Maha AJ as she’s known to her fans) family constantly wove her mixed cultural identity into her life. Her dad would show her maps of Sudan and teach her about her culture’s history and traditions, while her mom would show her how to make both Iraqi and Sudanese dishes. “Mom always encouraged us to be proud …