Pop stars have yet to learn to keep their mouths shut on matters they don’t understand.
Thinking that “diversity” means having the pleasure of wearing a full-body Islamic cloak, Alicia Keys, the piano-playing, makeup-free activist and celebrity judge on The Voice, embroiled herself in controversy over a tweet that had most people scratching their heads.
As Adan Salazar wrote, “In a recently-deleted Sunday evening tweet, Keys stirred outrage with a photograph depicting her in a tight-fitting niqab, an orthodox Muslim piece of attire meant to be loosely worn. Keys also flashed her leg in the photo, a defiance of Islamic dress codes which often leads to brutal penalties in some Muslim populations.”
Salazar notes that niqabs are different from burqas because it allows a slit for the eyes to be fully visible.
It isn’t clear if it is, in fact, Keys in the photo, and many believe the niqab was superimposed. But the “conceptual artist” behind the image, Ali Al Sharji, has spoken out in his own defense:
“My image was [meant] to portray the freedom an Arab woman has to pursue [for] a passion that is out of the ordinary.
“I feature Arab women as symbols in many of my art pieces to revolutionize the traditional thinking of women not being able to follow their dreams.”
Keys' attempt at celebrating diversity was seen by some as romanticizing the oppressive garment:
Salazar identified the woman mentioned in the above tweet as Malak Al Shehri, who was arrested and sentenced to lashings in Saudi Arabia because she posted the picture below online and without a hijab:
There’s no glamour behind oppression.