Boutheina El Alouadi strolls into a bistro at the Neapolis Social Center in Nabeul, Tunisia, wearing a casual, easy going vibe and a dark large shirt with Wu-Tang decorated across the front. After getting a warm greeting from almost everyone on her way in, she explains that the social place is withing strolling distance of her childhood home.
Boutheina, who passes by the stage name Medusa, composed and played out her first rap tune in her old neighborhood of Nabeul when she was just 16. From that point forward, the 25-year-old artist turned-rapper has performed at various live concerts and worked with a few globally acclaimed artists, including Olof Dreijer of Swedish electronic group, The Blade.
Medusa started taking classical dance lessons at six years old, and quickly made the transition into hip hop influenced by her older brother who was a break-dancer and her uncle, a rapper. By the age of 10, El Alouadi and her companions had begun imitating the older children performing breakdance. Their first practice area was somewhat unconventional: the neighborhood mosque. “The floor was hard and level and really great for rehearsing,” she explains, with a smirk.
Fifteen years ago, El Alouadi’s interest in hip hop was somewhat of an inconsistency because women in hip hop was at the time unfathomable in Tunisian culture. “Ladies simply didn’t do [hip hop.] It was seen as haram (which means taboo or banished by Islamic law).”
Her experience, nonetheless, was unique. As a teen, her family trusted El Alouadi enough to allow her to hang out with young men not from her close family, she clarifies. “I have consistently had male companions; they have consistently dealt with me like a sister. When I needed to record my music, which is pricey in Tunisia, [it was] my family that gave me the cash to do it.”
Indeed, even El Alouadi’s friends and local rappers knew about the significant role that her family played in supporting her in improving her craft.
She grins, recalling how Zomra, a hip hop artist whom she refers to as an “extremely dear friend,” would refrain from swearing whenever they recorded video cuts together, keeping in mind her relatives “who actually watched each and every one of my recordings”.
A male-overwhelmed industry
Something that separates El Alouadi’s verses from those of her fellow rappers is her unique, women’s activist point of view.
“The subjects that I use in my rap are altogether different from different rappers in Tunisia. Here, tragically, a ton of [mainstream] rappers talk about young ladies and liquor,” she says.
However, this isn’t only a Tunisian issue. Hip hop has for a long time had a negative culture of sexism, and female rappers are over and over again held to an unrealistic norm in comparison to their male counterparts.
From the beginning, El Alouadi is hesitant to speak regarding the matter of sexism in hip hop culture. However, later, she concedes that the hip hop scene can be extremely macho. “[As a female rapper], I was often confronted with lewd behavior at shows, occasions [et cetera]. In any case, I would rather not sum up, keeping in mind the people who don’t do it.”
With regards to other female rappers in Tunisia, El Alouadi doesn’t conceal her failure. “There are sure ladies who do it, yet there aren’t actually that numerous ladies who embroil themselves however much I do. I put everything into my profession, regardless of whether I have must be more tactful [since bringing forth my girl and beginning a family.] I need to see different Tunisians do what I did previously. I don’t have the foggiest idea what occurred. There were ladies who were dynamic, who did cuts, however presently they are quieting themselves.”
Where could the other female rappers be?
While the obvious shortfall of female rappers could come from a heap of variables, it is possible that it boils down to the absence of perceivability as well as acknowledgment of existing female specialists in the open arena, which thusly deters different ladies from entering the scene. This, nonetheless, is an issue that plagues Tunisian specialists overall.
“There’s a maxim, ‘nobody is a prophet in his own nation.’ Assuming you accomplish something here, in Tunisia, they will ridicule you; they’ll say that you duplicated another craftsman. In any case, when you travel to another country and return well known, you are greeted wholeheartedly,” says El Alouadi.
She might be onto something here. While it is uncommon to observe female rappers, VJs or hip bounce specialists becoming famous in Tunisia, names really do start to spring up when you consider Tunisian craftsmen living and working abroad: Deena Abdelwahed, Missy Ness, and El Dej, to give some examples.
“We feel like we are singing in obscurity in Tunisia. We don’t have the situation with a craftsman… we don’t have clinical protection. The public authority doesn’t esteem craftsmen.”
For El Alouadi, putting resources into social capital is vital to deterring youth from turning towards brutality and radicalism. “Assuming youth don’t learn something advantageous, rich, similar to craftsmanship, they will go towards negative.”
Revealing insight into youth in hip jump
Label Store is a startling shock of shading at the core of downtown Tunis. Spray painting pours out onto the encompassing dividers and structures of Regret de Lenine; a lively, tumultuous energy appears to have assumed control over the square. Youth are dissipated along the whole square, talking, labeling, eating.
This is the “front-end” of Workmanship Arrangement, an affiliation which works for the advancement and backing of metropolitan sub-culture in Tunisia. The affiliation, established by Chouaieb Block in 2011 and right now working with the English Committee, has turned into a vital center for Tunisia’s young hip bounce local area.
For Sana Jlassi, head of correspondences and planned operations at Craftsmanship Arrangement, the affiliation was a method for drawing in with minimized youth emphatically. “It’s tied in with directing youth as far as what they need to do [to get ahead], and how they need to do it. [We are] pushing them not to forsake their gifts. Craftsmanship Arrangement likewise fills in as a construction for administration and for spreading information. Sharing your insight is a method of perceiving what you have.”
Jlassi accepts that this kind of construction is especially significant with regards to working on the perceivability and consideration of ladies in hip jump. “Ladies have consistently established a fundamental piece of the hip bounce local area yet presently their work is featured, though previously, it was not. For example, during Elective Energies – a new occasion facilitated by Workmanship Arrangement – a female spray painting craftsman from the UK did a studio with other female specialists. Previously, those ladies had never known about each other. It is to the point of having a stage.”
While Craftsmanship Arrangement has filled in as a significant scaffold between a more full grown local area of female specialists, it has likewise assumed a significant part in training youthful gifts, for example, Nour Ben Soltan, a 17-year old B-young lady (breakdancer) who has started to become famous in the hip bounce scene.
Nour Ben Soltan
In photographs, Nour Ben Soltan (BGirl Insane Flava) is forcing; her body appears to leap out of the edge. Face to face, be that as it may, she is shockingly little in height, even sensitive looking. What initially double-crosses her will be her eyes – her look is extreme, puncturing, sure. At the point when she strolls into Label Store she is by all accounts skipping, half-moving.
The 17-year-old started moving in the adolescent public venues of Roughage Hlel, one of the most minimized areas in the Southern rural areas of Tunis. She has since proceeded to take part in various significant occasions, most as of late in Disaster area, Tunisia’s first aggregate hip jump occasion, and the Beat the Beat Celebration in Sousse, where she set first in her class (B-young lady).
“Toward the beginning,” says Ben Soltan, “I wasn’t especially inspired by hip jump. In any case, I came to understand that it was a major piece of dance culture, even in Feed Hlel. I began by figuring out how to break dance all alone and afterward, gradually, I came into contact with individuals who helped me and started me [into the hip bounce community.]”
At the point when gotten some information about her persuasions, Ben Soltan refers to Chouaieb, the originator of Workmanship Arrangement, and Mohamed Ali Khlifi, a 28-year-old B-kid and picture taker who has been a significant tutor and good example for her.
Khlifi came into contact with Ben Soltan by means of a post that he had shared on Facebook. “It was just about three years prior,” clarifies Khlifi. “We met in the Road Bourguiba and she [told me] that she wanted somebody to rehearse with to develop and advance [as a dancer].”
Khlifi says that he is anxious to show youngsters, however that it is frequently difficult on the grounds that they don’t show sufficient energy, enthusiasm and devotion.
“With Nour, it was much simpler. She was there and she was prepared. We had the spot before Palmarium (a notable bistro in midtown Tunis) and just rehearsed before great many individuals. She was really content with it; she accompanied her sister and from that point we continued to meet. [Nour] filled such that I was not anticipating. To come clean with you, I was not that hopeful with regards to the local area of female artists here. Yet, she knew various styles and joined them to concoct a novel, new thing and new. I would clarify [a new dance move] to her, and she [would] unwittingly comprehend it through development. She doesn’t comprehend it mentally. I feel that is the way it ought to be.”
Ben Soltan, in contrast to El Alouadi, didn’t generally have a decent emotionally supportive network. “Toward the beginning, my family was against [me dancing]. They needed me to do something different and to zero in on my studies. Be that as it may, later some time they comprehended and acknowledged my adoration for dance.”
With regards to the prevalent difficulties and shame stood up to by young ladies in hip jump, Ben Soltan says that she is determined.
“How I’m seen by society is my last concern, s