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Saudi Rapper Faces Jail for Saying Women Are ‘Powerful and Beautiful’ in Music Video

Asayel Slay

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    Officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have ordered the arrest of a young female rapper who released a music video that empowered women in the holy city of Mecca.

    The song, titled “Bint Mecca” (“Girl from Mecca”), is offensive to the customs and traditions of the city, the holiest site in Islam, authorities said.

    In the video, rapper Asayel Slay can be seen performing in a cafe with a group of men, women and children as background dancers.

    “A Mecca girl is all you need; don’t upset her, she will hurt you,” the song goes, praising the women from Mecca.

    Image Screenshot via Asayel Slay

    Last week, Mecca Governor Khaled al-Faisal ordered to prosecute the rapper and her production team, claiming that the music video “insults the customs of Mecca.”

    “Prince Khaled al-Faisal of Mecca has ordered the arrest of those responsible for the ‘Bint Mecca’ rap song, which offends the customs and traditions of the people of Mecca and contradicts the identity and traditions of its esteemed population,” Mecca regional authorities tweeted last Thursday.

    Asayel’s YouTube account has since been suspended. However, her music video still receives praise as people continue to use the hashtag “#Mecca_Girl_Represents_Me” in Arabic to show their support.

    “It’s the only rap song that doesn’t contain a single obscenity, insult, pornographic scene, nudity, hashish or smoking, and the rapper is even wearing the hijab,” one popular tweet said, according to the BBC. “The girl faces arrest because the song doesn’t suit new Saudi Arabia or old.”

    Image Screenshot via Asayel Slay

    Others criticized the Saudi government for putting forth an image of modernization, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan, but this is far from the truth.

    “This is so typical for the Saudi government to do, bring Western influencers to artwash the regime’s crimes but attack real Saudi women who try to artistically express their cultural identities,” Saudi American feminist Amani Al-Ahmadi tweeted.

    While some expressed support for Asayel, others reportedly sided with the Mecca government and called for her arrest. Some even took a jab at her being of Eritrean descent, according to the Middle East Monitor.

    “Enough of this depravity,” one Twitter user said about the video, according to Al Jazeera. “I hope the punishment for this African woman will be imprisonment then deporting her back to her country.”

    Another commented, “Immediate deportation is the answer, in addition to holding every foreigner who claims to be from Mecca accountable.”

    Feature Image Screenshots via Asayel Slay

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