Afghani Rapper Won’t Let Death Threats Stop Her Raising Her Voice For Her Countrywomen

Paradise Sorouri

Imagine you were a musician who was so passionate and dedicated to what you are doing, you’d never let anything or anyone stop you from your cause right?

Now imagine you are that same musician, but live in a country where women have little to no rights, added to that you receive death threats for your creativity. Would you still continue or bow to pressure? This is not just a hypothetical situation, but a realistic one for a brave rapper from Afghanistan. That’s right, we are talking about a female rapper from war-torn Afghanistan, and her name is Paradise Sorouri; remember it.

She is 24 years old, engaged to another fellow musician who goes by the name Diverse (seems appropriate!) and they are part of a duo called 143.

The two met at University and regularly perform in Kabul and Tajikstan. But the crazy thing about Sorouri’s story is that the country she lives in does not support women having careers, let alone a creative one where she possibly has a voice to speak out about important issues. This is exactly what she uses her platform for: to raise awareness about the treatment of her countrywomen, and to promote peace.

But this has not come without a price, as she has received death threats, no surprises, from religious radicals. She spoke to news publication France 24 about why a death threat won’t ever deter her from her music or her art. Originally the duo sang about love but soon decided to be a voice to the voiceless on the topic of violence against women.

“In Afghanistan’s highly patriarchal society, if a woman has a job, she is looked down upon and will definitely be subjected to vulgar language. So just imagine what it is like for artists. Most people consider female artists as nothing more than prostitutes. All female artists who work in Afghanistan today are risking their lives so that they can pave the way for other women.” she said.

They released a song called ‘Cry of the Woman’ in 2010 about women dealing with violence in daily life. It was well-received by fans, so they decided to release another track and video mid-2013 called ‘Nalestan’ dedicated to all the women suffering in Afghanistan society and have no way of getting help.


She spoke to the Washington Post in July 2013 and says her role models in music are Nicky Minaj, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. But here’s something those privileged stars have never experienced: Sorouri was once beaten by six men in Herat, Afghanistan for performing her music and had to flee the country to Tajikstan. What did she do next? Write a song about it, of course, and returned to Afghanistan to continue her journey.

Either this girl doesn’t have a fear bone in her body, or she is so committed to creating a better future for other young women like her that she won’t allow misogyny in the name of religion stop her. Amazing!

“It’s dangerous because you are a singer, you dance, you are so free and open-minded, the men can’t understand it,” she says to the Washington Post.

“The mind of Afghan people is not ready for girls or women performing in public; people insult me and say I’m a bad girl.”

She has to watch out for people following her, many other women and men don’t want to be associated with her because they know she is a target. But there is a whole generation of fans in the middle east who are ready for a message of female empowerment and freedom to come from one of their own.

Verbal abuse, death threats and oppression are clearly not worth anything, compared to the important words this Afghani rapper (or “rap-tivist” as we’ve dubbed her) is speaking into the social conscience of her country’s youth. We applaud this brave young woman who is literally willing to put her life on the line for the sake of her art. We also hope and pray, and do our part to raise awareness in the media, so that this brave rapper doesn’t end up like the Pussy Riot band member from Russia who was silenced by the government for their political stance, and thrown in a Siberian prison.

Just look at the incredible impact Pakistani teenager Malala has had on the freaking world! If being shot in the head by the world’s most notorious and feared terrorist group isn’t enough to stop a school girl advocating female education, then nothing is. Behold the dawn of a new era of women who aren’t afraid anymore, and will also stop at nothing to make their message heard.

Keep up the great work Sorouri, and for all the other young women in the world who enjoy freedom every day, please use it as an opportunity to make a difference, speak up about injustice, and to be brave.


  1. She has guts! I don’t know that I would be able to do what she is doing. God bless her.

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