First female rapper debuts in Afghanistan

First female rapper debuts in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - The Associated Press
First female rapper debuts in Afghanistan

The 23-year-old rap singer and actress Sosan Firooz is making history in her homeland Afghanistan, where society frowns on women who take the stage.

“Listen to my story! Listen to my pain and suffering!” Afghanistan’s first female rapper Sosan Firooz pleads into her microphone. With her first rap song, the outspoken 23-year-old singer is making history in her homeland where society frowns on women who take the stage. She is already shunned by some of her relatives. But for Firooz, the best way to express herself is through rap, a musical genre that is just starting to generate a following in Afghanistan.

She sings about repression of women, her hopes for a peaceful Afghanistan and the misery she says she experienced as a small child living in neighboring Iran. Her song’s message to Afghans: Stay in your homeland. Those who leave, she sings, will only get jobs washing dishes or working at a car wash. “They will miss their homeland,” she raps in a staccato style, part rap and part hip-hop. “They will want to kiss the dust of their homeland.”

“What is the result of Afghans being refugees in Iran and Pakistan?” she raps in Dari, one of Afghanistan’s two main languages. “Half of them are addicts and the other half are terrorists!”
So far, the song, titled “Our Neighbors,” has only been released on YouTube, with a video that shows a series of pictures of Firooz posing in a hip-hop style gear, with jeans, dangling chains and bracelets. In some pictures, she wears a bandana with skulls, but her long hair flows freely, with no headscarf - a rarity among Afghan women, including the few female singers.

Firooz is also an actress, appearing in secondary roles in a number oflocal TV soap operas. Earlier this month, she sang at a three-day music festival in Kabul. Because social interaction between men and women are restricted, the musicians played for a female audience the first day and males the last two days.

She is still not yet widely known among Afghans, but she’s breaking traditional rules for women in a very conservative society, where some women don’t go outside without wearing blue burqas that cover them from head to toe.