Women in Arab Hip Hop – Shadia Mansour

After watching both “I love Hip Hop in Morocco” and “Slingshot Hip Hop”, I was inspired to learn more about Arab Hip-hop. Naturally the first thing I did was to enter “Arab Hip Hop” into a Google search. Though this is my natural response when I want to learn more about something, searching on Google also had the intended benefit of leading me to the most relevant and popular content (though it is very important to note this relates to only to its view in our country). I was fascinated by the result. After Wikipedia articles on “Arab hip hop” and “DAM”, there were two video suggestions. I want to focus on the second, a song by Shadia Mansour found here,  as it really surprised me. Shadia, a Palestinian singer and MC, is known as the “first lady of Arabic hip hop and raps entirely in Arabic.

After watching the two documentaries I was shocked that one of the first songs I came across was created by a women. The documentaries really explored how tough it is for women who want to participate in Arab hip hop and the way in which they face severe societal pressures. For example, instances in which they cannot appear on stage for fear of their own safety.

What really fascinates me  is the discrepancy between the difficulties and lower standing of women in Arab Hip hop that the films depict, and the inclusion and popularity that Google search results imply. I am not suggesting that the search results suggest anything about the actual popularity in the Middle East, but rather that we should consider how the way we  are presented information may  prevent us from seeing complex aspects of middle eastern media forms.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Women in Arab Hip Hop – Shadia Mansour

  1. I was also thinking about writing about this! I noticed hat if you click on more videos (on google), the 5th video is called “Arab hip hop legend: Shadia Mansour”. I was also surprised that she’s one of the first to pop up. I feel that women are sometimes limited to protesting only about women’s rights. I was surprised that her music was so political and almost hostile sounding. I think it’s inspirational, and a topic that could/should be discussed further.

    • I wrote about Shadia Mansour as well in my blog post! I focused on her song “Kofeyye Arabeyye/ The Kufiya is Arabic” which is a political song responding to the creation of the Israeli Keffiyeh. Until your post, however, I did not know how popular she was as a Hip Hop artist. This could be completely wrong but maybe because of her popularity she doesn’t feel the need to focus specifically on the struggles of being a female Arab Hip Hop artist because they have not been a huge part of her career.

  2. Anat Waldman says:

    Great topic. Shadia Mansour is a really interesting figure. I think that the titles given to her, like the First Lady of Arabic Hip Hop, are pretty accurate; She is, from what I can tell, quite popular among those who like Palestinian hip hop, not just in the West but in the region as well. If you look at statistics YouTube provides on each song, videos of her are predominantly popular in the Middle East, which is the same as you’d find for videos of any of the other Palestinian rappers. This sort of points to what I mentioned the other that, that within the Palestinian hip hop community, there’s often remarkable support for female rappers. I think that a very big part of the difficulty comes from OUTSIDE the hip hop community. It’s a popular medium, but it’s not something that all Palestinians listen to/like, and there’s definitely push back against it. It went so far as to force a hip hop show in Gaza to be canceled last minute when extremists threatened to attack the show for religious reasons.

Comments are closed.