Amani has been labeled the first female rapper in Yemeni. In a country with such gender disparity this is a huge feat. We spoke to Amaani about her work as a rapper and an activist and how being from Yemen has influenced her work
You have been labelled Yemen’s first female rapper. What led you to become a rapper? And what sort of hurdles did you have to face to get to where you are today?
I found that rapping was a smooth way for me to send my messages through, whatever i didn’t agree with was easier to say in a song so the listener really focus on the lyrics and figures out the issue behind my words.
I got through so much criticism because of me singing and rapping in Yemeni stages accused of trying to ruin the culture and tradition since rapping is known as a foreign art, and beside the fact that i’m a girl and these things were made for guys!
Your music has a focus on women’s rights, what do you think are the main issues women are currently facing? Particularly in Yemen?
We’ve always had issues when it comes on being a woman in Yemen, and especially after the war happened it only got worse, but at the same time the sunny side was that the war made a lot of strong women come out stronger to speak their mind and say that’s enough and broke their silence in the most creative way!
Since becoming known for your music have you seen much of a shift in the mentality of both women and men around you?
Yes definitely, by time i feel like i’m now getting accepted as a Yemeni rapper, and a lot of young people got effected by my journey and felt proud to publicly support me and its by both men and women! I think the Yemeni youth are starting to be more open and more accepting to talents and new ideas which is brilliant
How has the conflict in Yemen affected you and your loved ones?
It honestly effected me in so many ways, lets says a positive and negative ways as It made me leave my country and separated me from my family due to the unsafe situations i got into, but at the same time i had an opportunity to travel and explore myself and learn more about life.
And how do you think it has affected Yemen as a whole?
Yemen is a beautiful place, no matter what and seeing my Yemen go through so much really breaks my heart! We Yemenis deserve better than that, i think we are intelligent but all what we need is a new chance a new chapter for us to rebuild our country and live in peace.
What do you think are some solutions to the issues Yemeni women face?
I think the best solution is education, if we educated the next generation that a woman is as equal as men when it comes to respect and work , that girls can be whatever they want and that goes to boys too, and for the girls to be courage and to stand up for themselves no matter what! Now we have social media and everyone is allowed to be heard.
Can you name some organisations who are doing positive work for Yemeni women?
Personally i don’t know much of that! We have such a lack of support now that everyone is focused in war a lot of injustices are unfortunately going on! But i know a lot of Yemeni activist that would fight for any women injustice cases in Yemen and i am one of them, always ready to support and help spread it out.
What does being a Yemeni woman mean to you?
Actually its a blessing to me, it gives me so much strength. I love it and even though i live in the other side of the world now Yemen will always be apart of me and i will always fight for my country to be the first in everything, we have a strong history that no one can deny or erase no matter what! The Yemeni women was always known for her wisdom and strength and you can see that by the amount of the beautiful women doing their thing out here and at all the social media platforms