For many, hip hop is the sound of rebellion, and Sosan Firooz — Afghanistan's first female rapper — has pro-Afghanistan and anti-Taliban messages in her track "Our Neighbors."
Firooz, who is 23 years old, spent time in Iran and in Pakistan as a refugee from the Taliban regime. According to a story by the AP's Rahim Faiez, she is back in Kabul — living in a mud brick house, using an electronic keyboard someone gave her, and breaking rules in a country where many women don't go outside without a burqa. Violence against women is still common in the country, and though Firooz recently performed at a three-day music festival in her city, it was a segregated audience: all-female the first day and all-male the two other days.
Her song is about her life, with lyrics like "War drove me out of my homeland" and:
In the country of strange our child was abused
Our educated ones became street workers
We ate our own body when we were starved
We drank our own tears when we were thirsty
We thought going to Europe bring us joy
We might find a living, we might end suffering
But we were stuck in the refugee camps
Where our skins were extinct
I dreamt kissing the dust of my homeland
We were kings and queens in our own land
But here, we are waiters and dish washers
Still, the track ends on an upbeat note:
But, but we are hopeful now
United from now on
No more child abuse, woman abuse
No more going silent
Speaking out like this is not without risk; even appearing in her video (comprised of still photos) with her hair flowing free is pretty scandalous. The fact that her music is getting international attention, and putting a face and heart to headlines we might otherwise gloss over is another reminder of how important art and music are as forms of expression. Someone needs to put together a Pussy Riot/Sosan Firooz show!
Though some of her family members have shunned Firooz, she has support, as Rahim Faiez writes:
Firooz's uncle has cut off relations with his family because she appears on TV and sings, says her father, Abdul Ghafar Firooz. He says he has quit his job at the government-run electric department to accompany her whenever she leaves the house and protect her as she pursues her acting and musical career.
"I am her secretary, answering her phones. I am her bodyguard, protecting her. When she's out, I must be with her," her father said. "Every parent must support their daughters and sons to help them progress," he said.
First female rapper, Sosan Firooz, debuts in Afghanistan [AP via The Grio]