When I first saw the video “Somewhere in America” I got goosebumps. It was so refreshing to see Muslim women in a video just having fun. No politics attached, just happy smiling faces.
I only had the chance to go through it once and didn’t even pay attention to the lyrics whatsoever. Of course I noticed the different hijab styles that aren’t necessarily something you see every day on the street, but it was cute and playful to me and more of an entertainment piece than something about real life.
A few days later I saw only negative comments about this video clip. People called it racist, classist, sexist, unislamic etc. you name it. And I was confused because I wasn’t sure if I was watching the same thing? How were people able to dissect a 2.5 minute video clip into such heavy themes?
I did take more notice when watching it again and the lyrics were not in line with what I would listen to, so that jolted me a bit, particularly the use of the N word.
I’m guessing the producers behind Somewhere in America, didn’t really think the song selection through, because they have since put the cleaned up version online.
I have always been critical of the hijab fashion scene and the images we put out and this video has been something I’ve had to really think about and reflect on. And sometimes I feel that I go back and forth.
I’m from a somewhat “different time” in terms of the technology used when I was growing up to what is available now. It can be hard for me to reconcile what I’ve grown up with in terms of what hijab is “supposed” to be and what is now part of these online communities.
And I try to reflect on whether I have a problem with hijab fashion per se or the fact that this is something that I’m not used to?
I also often ask this question to myself and others, how do we balance being Muslim women in hijab and being ourselves and not what others think we should be?
Anytime Muslims especially women in hijab, put out an artistic endeavor it gets shot down without even a chance to become something amazing.
No one has talked to the folks behind the video to ask how they even came up with the idea. And I think we need that perspective. What motivated them to put this out there? How did the girls in the video get involved? What was the aim of this video?
I have lots of questions that I’m curious to find the answers to.
(I’ve tried to reach out to the production crew via twitter and haven’t received a response yet).
And for those who absolutely hated the video and had nothing positive to take away from it, why not use this as motivation to make your own?
Update: It has come to our attention that the video was taken down from Vimeo because they used the song without permission. But you can watch the You Tube version here.