“Hip hop taught me how to be strong and how to face men, even if they are bigger than you.”-Soultana
Soultana is a prominent Moroccan rapper and one of the first Arab woman in the field addressing the patriarchy and gender obstacles through her music. She joined the hip hop industry in search of respect for herself and for women and has inspired many to get into the hip hop industry themselves, among them Mai Mandour and Malikah, to rap about the stereotype of how women are treated and viewed in society.
In her first solo single, Sawt Nssa, which translates to “The Voice of Women,” she talks about how she speaks to the patriarchy while calling women to rejoice in her words that share their story, one that is often found lost in her country.
She’s selling her body because you are the buyer/ And when she’s walking by, you act all Muslim/ She’s prostituting to earn a living for her orphan brothers/ They live in the projects and you live in a mansion/ Don’t forget that paradise lies at a mother’s feed/ She could be your mother. She could be your sister/
In the song, she addresses the matter of prostitution and sexual harrasement that is prevalent in her country. She states that men ignorantly demean and disrespect women, only using them and humiliating their lifestyle, however she calls men out to make them understand that this lifestyle is not out of choice. Women become prostitutes because they know men will capitalize on that, and subsequently they can make money to bring back home to their families so they can be a provider as a better mother, a better sister, etc. She claims and demands men to think about their actions for they should respect women that undergo so much to take care of their families as these actions are something that their mother, or their sister could have been involved in to raise you.
Soultana states 50% of the problem is on the people and 50% on the government because they need to be cultivated and educate themselves for progress. A little bit of change can go a long way and she continues to be a strong voice for women and inspire a progressive thinking in her country as well as the world.