I am more than my niqab

First episode of the Disney+ show Ms. Marvel is an exciting display of culture and faith.

Some viewers criticized the series for not being relatable enough or too niche (read: Pakistani and Muslim), but it still has a huge following as it’s currently the highest-rated Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series, with reviews. users online surpassing all other MCU movie too. It even exceeds Black Pantheraccording to a recent Forbes report.

Scroll through the gallery below to see scenes from ‘Ms. Wonder’

The show shares the experiences of Muslim teenage superhero Kamala Khan in New Jersey, USA, played by Pakistani-Canadian actress Iman Vellani. This is exactly what makes the show so unique, diverse and highly regarded by this Pakistani-American writer.

By the end of the first episode, I was in awe of how the writers had woven cultural references into the script – from passages and prayers from the Quran to Urdu dialogue and music.

Then the credits rolled and I was completely won over with a punch Urdu rap track Rozi by Pakistani rapper known as Eva B.

She is one of many Muslim women who make their voices heard despite their veiled faces. Saudi niqab-wearing influencer Amy Roko, for example, also raps, and recent years have seen a rise in niqab designers seeking to rectify stereotypes about face veils on social media.

But Eva laments the fact that the media coverage resulting from the appearance of her song on Ms. Marvel mostly focused on her niqab.

“For no reason these people are giving the niqab all the hype. They think girls in niqabi don’t do anything. But I’m as normal as any other ordinary girl here. There’s no need for hype, I really don’t like it,” says 23-year-old Eva. The National.

“Nobody is forcing me to wear it. It’s my own decision. It’s good that I can go out without being recognized.

Rozi was produced with Los Angeles-based songwriter and vocalist Gingger Shankar. It was first created in 2019 and then reproduced for Mrs. Marvel.

“Gingger texted and said the Ms. Marvel the team was asking for our lead Rozi for their first episode, so we did it again,” says Eva, who wrote and rapped the lyrics about courage and confidence in the face of adversity.

“Whatever problems I have or problems I’m facing, I write them down in my lyrics – I empty my heart into my lyrics,” Eva says.

She started rapping at age 15, quoting Eminem’s hits You lose and Love the way you lie like some of his inspirations. She records the lyrics in both Urdu and Balochi, an Iranian language spoken by those from the ethnic region of Balochistan.

Speaking Urdu from her neighborhood in Lyari, a densely populated part of Karachi, she says she noticed a spike in her fame after collaborating on a Coke Studio Pakistan song that aired on Pakistani television in January.

Track, Kana Yaari, features her rapping in Balochi’s voice and sporting a bright orange outfit and matching niqab in the video. “After Coke Studio, the world got to know me. Lyari’s girl who raps,” she says.

Still, she remained largely under the radar when she stepped out in public.

She keeps her face veiled in public, in photos and in performances, practicing purdah – the wearing of a burka or abaya with a face covering.

“My brother told me to wear it while rapping so no one would recognize me,” she explains. “I usually wear it, it’s our culture here at Lyari, it’s just my life, I don’t leave the house without my burqa.”

Some ultra-conservative critics in Pakistan have questioned Eva for using her voice publicly.

“A lot of people commented and said a girl’s voice should have purdah too, blah blah blah,” Eva says. “It is not possible to please everyone.

She advises fellow South Asians, who might struggle to balance societal norms with their own passions, to simply follow their dreams and stifle criticism.

“The world will keep talking, no matter who you are,” she says. “If you don’t do anything, they say, ‘She doesn’t do anything,’ and if you do something, they say, ‘She does too much.’

“Don’t listen to him. If someone says you have to be a tailor, but you want to be a model, focus on becoming a model, not a tailor. Whatever makes you happy, do it.”

Her words reflect the theme behind her Rozi Lyrics, as well as the rewarding messages conveyed in the first two episodes of Mrs. Marvel.

Unfortunately, Eva still hasn’t had a chance to start watching the series. due to streaming limitations with Disney+, though the first two episodes are set to debut in cinemas in Pakistan this Thursday.

Meanwhile, many Marvel fans in the United Arab Emirates, where Disney+ recently launched, continue to wait for the platform to fix some of its streaming issues so they too can witness the debut of the Marvel’s first Muslim superhero – as well as the incredible feat of this humble rapper from Karachi.

Scroll through the gallery below to see Iman Vellani and her co-stars at ‘Ms. Marvel premiere

Updated: June 15, 2022, 06:06

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