“London Masalaa” Is Bringing Together Women In The UK Through Hip Hop
London Masalaa is a multi faith project exploring the influence of Hip Hop on South Asian women in the UK.
A touring, multi platform project delving into identity & culture, style and creativity created by Jasmin Sehra and Arfa Butt. They recent published their platform with a call out for all south asian who are also passionate about Hip Hop. We contacted the ladies to learn more about the need to build a strong community of women in their community.
You two have been doing amazing work in your own fields successfully for years, what made you want to create a platform for others rather than participating in one?
We felt that it was necessary to create something that not only celebrates who we are but also shines a light on other girls and women within our communities. We are creatives and express that in everything that we do.
How has the response been since you two went public with London Masalaa?
AB: I’ve always felt that the south asian community are very disconnected when it comes to the creative industries in the UK. We do a lot of gup shup with chai in our homes, but when it comes to action we are sitting there twiddling our thumbs. It’s early days, but some of the women who have hit us up have some dope stories. We’ve had a great response from across the globe, we can’t wait to get this on the road. It’s also beautiful to see a lot of men from our community hit us up and offer their support.
We come from a culture of storytelling and felt the creative voices of south asian women in the UK should be heard.
Why the name London Masalaa? Im assuming it was inspired by the song Brooklyn Masalaa by Masta Ace?
JS: Arfa and I were on the phone when she was sharing a few of her hip hop stories from back in the day and I specfiially remember mentioning Masta Aces song Brooklyn Masala. That song was vibes!
We both come from a musical background and our families have supported us in our journey which has kept us grounded and connected to our roots.
AB: Although we come from two different faiths, we are believers that our paths are written, and our cultures and traditional values bring us together and an inspire us daily. Hip Hop is our heart, what else would we call us if it wasn’t London Masalaa.
What do you ladies envision/hope to see with what you started?
AB: The aim is to create a touring exhibition through story-telling, images and music.
JS: But also to create a change and togetherness between female artists within our community and beyond. Big up!
We felt that it was necessary to create something that not only celebrates who we are but also shines a light on other girls and women within our communities.
Over the last couple of years there has been a rise of brown creatives, especially womxn. Some say it feels like a Renaissance within the brown community. Do you two feel like you would have done something like this years ago when there werent as many creative who were public and thriving with their art?
JS: There is a process and everything has it’s time. Brown creatives have always been running ish, but I feel we’re never championed or supported by the elders already in the industry.
University at times was an isolating and lonely experience. As the only woman and person of colour in my class I felt like I was losing my identity and my culture. But it made me realise the importance of staying connected to my peoples.
Would I have done something like this years ago? Probably not. Honestly I was in a very different place back then, still young and growing mentally and creatively.
AB: If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve never been afraid to do whats never been done. I was raised with four brothers and a father who’s a creative. I never felt the need to look outside my home for advice, mentors or sponsors.
I’ve been in the music industry for the past twenty years, I’ve been running tings long time.
I encourage everyone to create a non judgemental safe space for our children/community filled with love to explore their creativity within our homes.
How can the brown brothas support your movement?
We can’t do this without y’all!
Food is the way to our heart, what y’all cooking lol
We were raised on love and roti, we need to be inspired, encouraged and elevated.
Even though this project is featuring women we would love for our brothers to be involved in creating the exhibition with us.
If you’re a photographer, stylist, designer and creative we want to hear from you.
Share out posts, like our page and just shout about us!
October 03, 2016
September 01, 2016