Hip-Hop and Muslim Religion in Morocco
The film “I [Heart] Hip-hop in Morocco” is a documentary featuring the journey of Moroccan youth who want to create their country’s first hip-hop festival in celebration of unity music and the freedom of speech. Originally, Morocco was considered the gateway between the West and the Arab world and, it is no surprise that the film shows the youth have adopted a genre of music that is largely associated with the West. The film depicts the challenges the youth artistes face in trying to spread their message through hip-hop by creating a hip-hop festival. They are aware of the religious and cultural constraints that make it difficult for them to deliver their message, since the hip-hop culture goes against fundamental Islamic principles. However, the youth have recognized that the situation in Morocco needs to change, and that hip-hop will create the movement that will awaken the people to fight for change.
The hip-hop artists in Morocco feel that the difference between them and their Western counterparts is that they lack freedom of speech. Whereas America has a democratic government that advocates for human liberties, Morocco is under the rule of an oppressive King (Needleman et al). The artistes face a challenge about how they are going to put across their message. Islam and the throne are sacred in Morocco, and one cannot openly speak against these two entities. Yet, the subject of oppression, economic strife among other issues is linked to the throne and the application of Islam. To instigate change, these entities must be criticized. The aim of the hip-hop culture in Morocco is to advocate for a political-cultural progressiveness in a nation clinging to archaic ideals (Swedenburg 67).
In the second part of the film, one of the artistes believe that traditional Moroccan music is not enlightening, and that hip-hop gives people the opportunity to hear the truth about the real situation in Morocco. The Muslim culture limits the participation of girls in what men do. FatiShow, a girl, is a hip-hop artiste who at the same time is a student (Needleman et al). Morocco, despite being an Islamic state, seems to have moved away from fundamental Islam ideals. Therefore, the film depicts the Moroccan society as challenging their cultural ideals and identity through the hip-hop culture.
The essence of the hip-hop culture and art for that matter is to make people aware of the social injustices that are present in society. The creation of the concert is not just about recognition of their talent, but also to let the world know that they have a story to tell. It may not be similar to what other hip-hop artistes in the world have to say, but their story is just as important. The rap industry in the United States started out as a means of expressing the social injustices against the African American community. In Europe, especially among the Muslim community, the issue of racism and the discrimination that is inherent against the Islam is addressed.
The rap industry in Morocco has received major criticism by its people being viewed as music associated with criminals and uncouth youth. The alienation of the genre by people who did not understand it was premature since they did not fully grasp the relevance of music and the issues it tried to address (Swedenburg 58). Despite the criticism, the genre has become widely accepted in recent years. The film is a testament of the success of rap in Morocco as being one of the favorite genres of music in the country and especially one that articulates and protests about the social and the political atmosphere in the country.
Asen, Josh, and Jennifer Needleman. I [heart] Hiphop in Morocco: Peace, Love, Hiphop Part 1. Los Angeles, Calif.: Rizz Productions, 2008. http://online4.fiu.edu/SA3/Flash/Queeley/AFA2004/Hip_Hop_in_Morocco_part_1/Hip_Hop_in_Morocco_part_1.html
Asen, Josh, and Jennifer Needleman. I [heart] Hiphop in Morocco: Peace, Love, Hiphop Part II. Los Angeles, Calif.: Rizz Productions, 2008. http://online4.fiu.edu/SA3/Flash/Queeley/AFA2004/Hip_Hop_in_Morocco_part_2/Hip_Hop_in_Morocco_part_2.html
Swedenburg, Ted. “Islamic Hip-Hop versus Islamophobia”.Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the Usa. Ed. Tony Mitchell. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 2001. Print.