The Guardian – November 11, 2010
Princess Hijab is Paris’s most elusive street artist. Striking at night with dripping black paint she slaps black Muslim veils on the half-naked airbrushed women – and men – of the metro’s fashion adverts. She calls it “hijabisation”. Her guerrilla niqab art has been exhibited from New York to Vienna, sparking debates about feminism and fundamentalism – yet her identity remains a mystery.
The Princess’s first graffiti veil was in 2006, the “niqabisation” of the album poster of France’s most famous female rapper, Diam’s, who by strange coincidence has now converted to Islam herself. With the Paris metro protective of its advertising spaces, her work now usually stays up for only 45 minutes to an hour before being ripped down by officials. She has become highly selective, doing only four or five graffiti “interventions” in Paris a year. But each is carefully photographed and has its own afterlife circulating online.
France’s currently most successful rapper, Diam’s, has turned to an entirely religious life. The 29-year-old woman, who converted to Islam in 2000, has so far not displayed her religion publicly or reflected about it in her lyrics. She was rather known for her rebellious and feminist position, voicing the needs of youths from Paris’s banlieues.
Now Diam’s has released a new album, “S.O.S”, which is very different from her previous ones in terms of lyrics and underlying ideas. Diam’s struggle is no longer for freedom and equal rights, but rather for traditional gender roles. “Because no one can change these roles,” she assured in her song “Rose du bitume”. If her husband was a Kalashnikov, she sings, she would gladly be the shoulder supporting him.
Diam’s has also decided to put on the veil, which many fans and feminists regard as a step backwards. The artist, who suffered mentally from a difficult upbringing, claims that where doctors failed to help her, religion will now step in. She refuses to explain her decision to journalists.
As French rapper Diam’s (born Mélanie Georgiades) releases her fourth album, S.O.S., new questions emerge around her conversion to Islam following the release of photos of the young musician leaving a mosque wearing a headscarf in French tabloid, Paris Match. She has refused to answer questions about her private life in the promotion of her music.
Young French Rapper Diam’s (Mélanie Georgiades) has converted to Islam, explaining to the French Press, “Medicine was not able to heal my soul, so I turned toward religion.”
Diam’s has received a great deal of media attention as she has adopted a black covering and hijab since converting to Islam following marriage to a Muslim man.
Wilders’ anticipated and controversial film ‘Fitna’ did not make as grand as an entry as expected, and hype assumed. While the film is dotted with Quranic verses and violent imagery of terrorist attacks in recent years, some cited the film’s content as highly predictable and nothing new. Maurits Berger, a professor of Islam at Leiden University told the Associated Press it’s a serious of photos, headlines from recent years which we already know. It appears Wilders is also running into some legal problems with the film; a photograph of the rapper Salah Edin was mistakenly used as the photo of Mohammed Bouyeri, the murder of Theo van Gogh. The rapper is consulting his lawyers on legal action. In addition, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is suing Mr. Wilders, alleging he infringed copyright by using a cartoon of his without permission.
Geert Wilders has kept his word. He has circulated his film Fitna before April 1 and has, as he puts it, been ‘properly’ restrained. The film, which nevertheless appeared unexpectedly on the Internet on Thursday, is indeed not as shocking as expected during the hyped-up prelude to the premiere. This might still prove a problem and he will probably have to explain himself before the courts. For example he used material from the Danish cartoonist without asking permission and wrongly said a photograph of a rapper was the murderer of film-maker Theo van Gogh. And he has dragged others along with him – proof of a stunning lack of responsibility. The Dutch public prosecution department is also looking into whether Fitna incites hatred in the legal sense.
French rapper Medine promotes a toned-down Islam to French listeners with his hip-hop music. This article suggests that his music promotes full participation in a secular democracy and free market. Named after Medina, Medine doesn’t emphasize religious dogmas. Rather, he focuses on the universal principles his tradition shares with Western society. Amel Boubekeur of the _cole des Hautes _tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris notes that Medine reflects a larger social phenomenon in France. Boubekeur has named this new widespread movement among second and third-generation youths in Paris cool Islam.
Controversial Moroccan-Dutch rapper Salah Edin recently released a new album titled Nederlands Grootste Nachtmerrie, or Netherland’s greatest nightmare. The 26 year-old artist has aroused the concerns of many, such as the National Reformist Party, which worries his music will sow hatred. Edin’s music is concerned with how he and other young Moroccans experience the Netherlands-it is anything but clogs and roses. His message: this is why young Muslims radicalize.’ Edin’s music is also about the Muslim life in Europe and its complexity. He reads the Koran yet acknowledges that many Muslim youth do not. His music also references the pleasures of a joint and beer that, although no longer part of his life, are experiences of many Muslim youth now. I want to reconcile, not polarize. But I also want men to think.