You know social media is going to have a field day when there is any sort of cultural or religious inappropriation. So when American rapper French Montana dropped his latest album cover featuring a queue of faceless niqabi women crossing their legs in red latex thigh-high boots recently, there were more than a few thoughts regarding them. If anything, it has caused quite a debate among women on social media.
There is outrage amongst Muslim women, where many are slamming the rapper for trying to 'sexualise the hijab and niqab.' Seen sitting between the veiled women, French Montana – whose real name is Karim Kharbouch – is accused of sexualising Muslim women by diluting the significance of the niqab and presenting women as sexual objects.
You don’t have to change who you are
You can bring people into your own world pic.twitter.com/65SZfP5lSQ— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) September 23, 2019
The rapper has responded though, implying that the artwork for his album is “connecting with his roots” and “freeing Muslim women." Many however, disagree. The 34-year-old rapper even captioned the album cover and wrote, "You don’t have to change who you are. You can bring people into your own world."
Many slammed the rapper and called him out for 'sexualising the hijab and niqab.'
"French Montana, DO BETTER. You have a platform and a voice so use it for GOOD and to end stigma against Muslim women instead of adding to it! Just because you are Muslim or Arab does not make your despicable actions any more excusable or acceptable. It is just as problematic," a user Maryam tweeted.
@FrencHMonTanA DO BETTER. You have a platform and a voice so use it for GOOD and to end stigma against Muslim women instead of adding to it!!— مريم (@lil_asiangirl) September 25, 2019
Just because you are Muslim or Arab does not make your despicable actions any more excuseable or acceptable.
It is just as problematic.
"Uhhhh not sure French Montana is “honoring” his roots so much as he is selling them. Also they’re not “his” “roots”—they’re women’s bodies," shared another.
Uhhhh not sure French Montana is “honoring” his roots so much as he is selling them. Also they’re not “his” “roots”—they’re women’s bodies.— Veena Dubal (@veenadubal) September 26, 2019
French Montana Honors His Muslim Roots On New Album Cover | Power 105.1 FM https://t.co/zry2UhM6gy
A lot of other users went on to add how it is not okay for Montana to profit off of his culture.
No thank you to @FrencHMonTanA’s album cover. Do you have any idea what Muslim women deal with on a daily basis? And here you are oblivious to it all. Profiteering off of Muslim women is not ok. #FrenchMontana— Ahlam Yassin, MA (@EducateWrite) September 26, 2019
You don’t have to change who you are— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) September 23, 2019
You can bring people into your own world pic.twitter.com/65SZfP5lSQ
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I like @FrenchMontana. He does great philanthropic work, his music slaps and he seems like an overall good dude. But this image for his upcoming album is Islamophobic. It capitalizes on damaging portrayals of Muslim women as faceless showpieces. The women are objectified, and serve the function of providing a provocative backdrop instead of being presented as real, autonomous human beings. I get that art should be provocative, but this provokes some of the worst Western stereotypes about #Islam and Muslim women. I could go on, but his being Arab or Muslim doesn’t excuse the problematic use of this image to sell records. Compare it to this ad for the #Showtime series, Homeland, which got considerable and well deserved criticism. What’s the real difference? French should know and do better.
But he did find support among a few who didn’t agree with the above narrative and argued that the niqab isn’t a religious symbol but rather a cultural practice and the American rapper is only celebrating and normalising with his art.
idk why everyones pressed about french montanas new album concept like its LITERAL art and i applaud the fact that he is using his platform to represent hijabis and niqabi’s in a modern but still in a RIGHT WAY. i love that. so many of my irls need to stop crying.— amani is PROUD of zayn (@drunkfallz) September 25, 2019
"Hijab and niqab are part of Arab culture, not Islam. French Montana’s video is based on his culture and not on his religion. Get the facts right before you get triggered. Idiots," a user wrote in a now deleted tweet. What do you think Montana wanted to portray with his recent cover?