United States (Chicago)
Amirah Sackett is break(dancing) stereotypes by using hip-hop to promote religious tolerance. With her female Muslim dance group We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic, the choreographer, make-up artist – and prancing and practising Muslim – pops and locks to smash stereotypes and address misconceptions about Muslim women.
Since 2011, Amirah and dancers Khadijah Sifterllah-Griffin and Iman Sifterllah-Griffin have explored personal identity through combining Islam, hip-hop and dance. Wearing headscarves, abaya (long, black dresses) and niqab (face veils), the group aims to bring empowerment to Muslim-American women and girls who experience discrimination.
For Amirah, We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic is a way to connect with a sometimes fearful non-Muslim majority and with young people: “In the hip-hop dance industry as a woman you’re already fighting stereotypes, whether you’re Muslim or not, so as a Muslim woman you’re dealing with stereotypes within stereotypes.” Part of her goal when actively travelling, performing and lecturing is to breakdown stereotypes and false information about Islam and Muslims in the media.
“As artists we naturally make people question, examine, and reflect,” she tells us. “What we create is influenced by our culture and current environment. Art reflects us right now and where we are going. It brings us together because it touches hearts in a way just talking about it does not.”
This project has been selected as part of CultureFutures, a new storytelling project that maps creative and cultural projects with a social mission – and the artists, collectives and entrepreneurs behind them.
Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Goldsmiths Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the British Council Creative Economy.