Feminism in the Flesh: Kurdish Pop Star Risks Her Life to Make Music That Matters

by Ericka Andersen

It must have been difficult for 27-year-old Iraqi-born Kurdish singer Helly Luv to film her music video, “Revolution,” which recently went viral. In the video, bullets are flying, suicide bomber-esque explosions appear, tanks gun down citizens, a dead child lays placid his mother’s arms. It was a set up for the video but a parallel to real life for a vast number of people in the Middle East.  

But the message of “Revolution” was a powerful one, especially coming from an Iraqi woman stepping out of a traditional gender role. Her bold lyrics, courageous stand against ISIS and flashy, bullet-laced bracelets are just the beginning. 

Despite being on an ISIS’s “Most-Wanted” list, Luv says she see music as her weapon in the fight against violent extremism. 

“If I can fight against them with my music, then my song is as powerful as or more powerful than their weapons,” she said. 

But Luv isn’t recording from the safety of the United States or Europe — she’s in the middle of the danger zone. In fact, “Revolution” was filmed in a village near Mosul, in effort to support & inspire Kurdish troops there fighting against ISIS.  

“I’m going against the most dangerous terrorist group in the whole world but I feel that there are thousands of people risking their lives against them on the battlefield…If my life is at risk but I can get the message ot millions of people then that is a privilege,” said Luv

Here are some of the lyrics to “Revolution”: 

“United, united, we’re marching
Yeah, Stand up, we are united
Together we can survive it
Darkness will never take us
Love live to every nation
Rise up cause we’re so much stronger as one
Breaking the silence as loud as a gun
Brothers and sisters we all come from one
Different religions we share the same blood
Oh oh oh Breaking free”

The seven-minute long video is well-worth watching all the way through — a chilling reminder of exactly where Luv is filming and the innocent lives that violent extremism is affecting on a daily basis. 

If you want an example of courageous feminism that is breaking barriers, look no further than the very brave Helly Luv. 

That’s girl power if I ever saw it. 

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