French Montana causes uproar with burqa clad women in music video
The American rapper French Montana, has recently come under fire for his video that stars him and a few burqa clad women.
Born and raised in Morocco, the rapper is well-aware of his roots and has attempted to bring his culture to the world in the new video – at least that’s what he thinks.Montana explained the odd visuals of his song in a tweet, saying: ‘You don’t have to change who you are. You can bring people into your own world’.
However, the way he portrayed the women is what triggered a series of enraged questions. The women in the video are sporting red latex boots and gloves, as well as heavily made up eyes. Even worse, they are barely moving throughout the video.
While Montana raps away to lyrics that no parent should permit their young ones to listen to, the women in burqas stare silently ahead. They have no life, nor value; they are simply props in the video. Having them wear the same boots also signifies a unification of identity. Montana in effect, is taking away the agency of the women from them.
By trying to portray his Muslim roots, Montana has not only exoticised Muslim women in front of the western world, but has also added a ‘masala’ of cultural appropriation by adding western elements to an eastern outfit.Most importantly, he has also reaffirmed the belief that men can do whatever they want (i.e curse and dance in the video), while the women sit submissively on the side. They have no role – they are just there to complement the singer.
Montana is defending the video saying it’s a representation of how women can wear burqas but still dress up and party. But seeing how thousands of women are forced to cover themselves in numerous parts of the world, is partying the right definition of freedom?
What Muslim want women is equality and freedom from subjugation. They want the right to study and lead their lives according to their own desire. They want the independence to dream or even simply hold an opinion. Just giving them the freedom to ‘party’ has given the cause of Muslim feminists a very shallow twist – something we can only expect from a man unaware of a woman’s suffering.
By Fatima Shaheen Niazi