Afghan Superstar Challenges Tradition

by Nissa

Mozhdah Jamalzadah is more than just a beautiful voice. She’s been using her talent lately as an inspiration for change in the rigid social structures of traditional Afghan culture through her new television talk show called Mozhdah. Born in Kabul, Mozhdah’s family fled to Canada when she was very young. She was raised in Canada, but when she returned to Afghanistan she realized her calling was to be part of what she calls “a much needed change” to the country. A self proclaimed feminist, Mozhdah wants to see growth in the gray area of women’s rights. Many Afghans have lived only through war. Mozhdah comments that the Afghan people ‘have never had the chance to grow or evolve and they’re dying to.”

Though many of her songs are in Farsi, Mozhdah does take a brief moment to explain the meaning of this one during her performance for the Obama family at the White House:

[video: 425×344]

Mozhdah uses her influence in the entertainment industry to get people thinking about political and familial issues. She claims that her show will bring up a topic, and then ease people into a discussion by performing a song about the topic first. The latest topic on her show has been divorce, traditionally a taboo area off limits for discussion. Her show was once temporarily canceled because she did not wear a headscarf. Though it is not illegal to not wear a headscarf, the network thought it might not go over well with the largely conservative audience.

In a recent interview with CNN, Mozhdah mentions that she has been getting some threats on the internet. She claims:

“That freedom that you have over there in the western world. The freedom of speech, the freedom to dress the way you want, the freedom to express yourself the way you want. You can’t do any of that here.”

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