A Saudi Arabian female rapper is facing arrest for creating and filming a song celebrating the women of the holy city of Makkah.
The Saudi rapper Asayel Slay, who is of Eritrean descent, released the music video for the song titled "Bint Makkah" (Makkah Girl) last week. The governor of the city – the holiest to Muslims – Prince Khalid Bin Faisal, however, denounced and condemned it, calling it an insult to the kingdom's "customs and traditions".
Taking to Twitter on Thursday last week following the video's release, Bin Faisal was quoted as saying: "They are not the girls of Makkah," as the song "contradicts the identity and traditions of its esteemed population and his Highness has referred [Slay] to the competent authorities for investigation and applying penalties against them".
أمير مكة #خالد_الفيصل يوجه بإيقاف المسؤولين عن إنتاج فيديو أغنية الراب ( بنت مكه ) الذي يسيء لعادات وتقاليد أهالي مكة ويتنافى مع هوية وتقاليد أبنائها الرفيعة.
.. تضمن توجيه سموه إحالتهم للجهات المختصه للتحقيق معهم وتطبيق العقوبات بحقهم.#لستن_بنات_مكه pic.twitter.com/zVqggEujfh
— إمارة منطقة مكة (@makkahregion) February 20, 2020
Since the statement of condemnation, the rapper's YouTube account has been suspended with the original music video having been removed. It has been reposted by alternate accounts and platforms online, though, enabling people to continue to watch it.
In the young and emerging rapper's video, in which she can be seen singing in a café while surrounded by children dancing in the background, she espouses lyrics such as "Our respect to other girls but the Makkah girl is sugar candy."
The video went viral on social media with a wide variety of reactions being expressed, including widespread criticism which agreed with bin Faisal and positive reactions in which users tweeted with the hashtag "Makkah girl represents me".
Some have called out the authorities as racist, claiming Slay has been targeted because she is of Eritrean descent.
The call to arrest Slay comes as widespread reforms are being implemented throughout the kingdom by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in order to "modernise" the country as part of Vision 2030. The social reforms include lifting the ban on women driving, banning obligatory gender segregation, and the opening of clubs and music concerts taking place in the capital Riyadh.
Despite such revolutionary changes being implemented, the kingdom has been criticised for using the societal aspects of reformation to cover up the lack of political and governmental reforms.