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Palestinian Hip-Hop Group DAM Has a Message for the Patriarchy

“Who Are You?” is a pointed critique of both everyday gender inequality and fairweather “make believe” feminists.

Image via youtube screen capture

For the rappers that make up DAM, “make believe,” fair-weather feminism can be just as troubling as the gender inequality they see on a regular basis.

This past week the Palestinian hip-hop trio released their latest single “Who Are You?/??? ???” with sights set uncompromisingly on the gender stereotypes and double standards faced by women in their community. MC’s Tamer and Suheil Nafar, Mahmood Jreiri, and singer Maysa Daw (the group’s most recent–and sole female–member) penned the song as part of a partnership program with the United Nations Population Fund, reports Middle East-focused newssite +972.

As Daw explained to Local Call, +972’s Hebrew-language sister site:

"I’m very proud of both the song and the video. I think it is an honest attempt at criticizing our society. Men try to stereotype women all the time, and I just want to ask which stereotypes define men, if any?"
In that same interview, DAM MC Tamer Nafar explained why the group felt it was important to not only call out gender inequality, but "feminist men" as well:
"We speak out against our own oppressive society, of course, but I believe it is just as important to criticize the hypocritical part of our society, which likes to play ‘make believe feminism’ from time to time.”
DAM formed in 1999 in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, Israel, and are known for their progressive messages and pointed critiques of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They rose to international prominance after having been subjects of the acclaimed 2008 documentary Slingshot Hip Hop\n
The video for “Who Are You?/??? ???” was directed by Scandar Copti, whose feature film debut, Ajami, was an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Picture in 2010, and won the Camera d'Or Special Mention at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

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