Imani Barbarin

Crutches & Spice

Photo Credit:  Maude Ballinger

Imani Barbarin is a disability rights and inclusion activist and speaker who uses her voice and social media platforms to create conversations engaging the disability community. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani often writes and uses her platform to speak from the perspective of a disabled black woman.  In the last few years she has created over a dozen trending hashtags that allow disabled folk the opportunity to have their perspectives heard while forcing the world to take notice. #PatientsAreNotFaking, #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow, #AbledsAreWeird and others each provide a window into disabled life while forming community.

Imani is from the Philadelphia area and holds a Masters in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, her published works include those in Forbes, Rewire, Healthline, BitchMedia and more. She runs the blog and a podcast of the same name. She currently serves as the Communications Director for a nonprofit in Pennsylvania. 

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Ableds Are Weird

In this talk, Imani recounts her personal experiences with ableist microaggressions and how those interactions informed her of how she was seen as a disabled person moving through society. Connect the dots from everyday interactions to public policy and how one may unlearn these biases. 

Things Disabled People Know

Imani created the tag #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow to explore media representations of disabled people they often don’t have in making. Stereotypes form that disabled people have to live by and for accurate representation, disabled people must be involved in every level of media and entertainment production. There is no substitute for the things disabled people know.  

Patients Are Not Faking

In response to a viral video poking fun at patients, Imani started this hashtag to address the many ways in which medical professionals discount their patients and put them in harm’s way. This is especially true of black and disabled people for whom access to care is difficult and when they are able to receive it, they are often not believed by providers. Imani discusses her own story in medicine and challenges the nondisabled people to hold providers and themselves accountable. 

Praise for Imani Barbarin



Imani Barbarin explains why ‘being an inspiration’ is actually harmful.


Imani writes about disabled people for Forbes Magazine.

Imani Barbarin is a vocal advocate for getting disabled people more visible in the media.