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With “Kamala Khan”, Ryaam pays tribute to her racialized female role models

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Ryaam releases the video “Kamala Khan”, directed by ORAMA FILMS, which pays tribute to the first Muslim female superhero created by Marvel in 2013. The Parisian rapper told us why she wanted to talk about this character and launch a series of freestyles dedicated to the racialized women who inspired her.

What does Kamala Khan represent to you?

I discovered Kamala Khan through a friend of mine who encouraged me to read the comic. Kamala is a young Muslim teenager and a strong character, like all superheroines, but without being hypersexualized.

She is of Pakistani origin and was born in the US. That raises the question of how she lives with both and of her double identity. As a child of immigrants, I had the same concerns when I was her age.

Why do you think creating a Muslim female superhero is groundbreaking?

I think the creators’ approach is innovative and positive at a time of growing stigmatization and ostracization of Muslim women. Kamala’s best friend, Nakia, wears the hijab and must face the remarks of her friends who think it is a male injunction and not a personal choice.

The comic also deals with the lack of identifying for Kamala who refers to our traditional beauty standards and her idol Carol Danvers, another Marvel character, who is a white, blond and thin woman.

Why did you want to pay tribute to the women who inspired you? 

I decided to focus on racialized women who are active or fight in different fields.

With my freestyles, the idea was not to write their biography, but to showcase the skills and strength they show when they encounter a problem, their capacity for resilience, their determination and commitment in their projects, which are things that I truly admire and would like to reach in my own life.

Find Ryaam on Facebook, YouTube and Bandcamp.

© Maxwell Aurelien James

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