Arooj Aftab triggers heated debate


Arooj Aftab sparked a debate on social media after expressing her frustration over being labelled solely as a ‘Pakistani’ or ‘Urdu’ artist. Aftab, who bagged a Grammy for her tune Mohabbat (Additionally rendered by Mehdi Hassan), questioned whether or not artists of color will ever have the ability to escape generic categorisation based mostly on their heritage and never their music.

On Saturday, Aftab, took to Twitter, saying  “Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab, Urdu singer Arooj Aftab, Arooj Aftab’s wonderful Urdu singing… like, it’s nice I suppose? However can an individual of color musician ever simply get to be with out this tag to no matter another person is presuming is our root or heritage? Sure, can I make up to date music in peace?”

Aftab’s tweet drew a blended response, reflecting a conflict of views on the difficulty. Some followers additionally empathised along with her, acknowledging that no matter her accomplishments, she would at all times be seen by way of the lens of her Pakistani heritage.

“Sister, you’ll be able to spend your life making an attempt to interrupt the glass ceiling by abandoning your heritage/roots however of their eyes, you’ll by no means be something however your heritage. so why not embrace it and obtain all you’ll be able to and need to whereas carrying that tag?” wrote a person who inspired her to embrace her roots, suggesting that the cultural tag might function a supply of energy and motivation in her creative journey.

A person, who associated to Aftab’s stance, wrote, “This effort towards being labelled and boxed is acquainted.”

Nonetheless, there have been others who questioned Aftab’s stance, implying that if she really disliked being related along with her Pakistani roots, she ought to think about altering her repertoire. They argued that Aftab’s option to cowl Urdu ghazals carried out by iconic Pakistani artists contributed to the affiliation she wished to distance herself from.

A person questioned her assertion. “Is it a presumption of your roots or heritage although? You might be Pakistani and do sing in Urdu too. In case you’re uncomfortable with illustration, that is a special story however these identification markers can’t be denied,” they wrote.

“Wasn’t her declare to fame being the primary ever Pakistani artist to win a Grammy? Individuals who by no means even heard her songs celebrated her for that. Now the tag is weighing her down?” requested a person.

“Hey bro, this isn’t cool, particularly since you gained a Grammy based mostly in your rendition of Iqbal Bano’s basic,” wrote a person.

One other smelled “racial inferiority” from her tweet. “Large fan however are you ashamed of your roots and heritage or what? You actually gained a Grammy by singing an Urdu heritage tune. The racial inferiority dripping from this tweet is simply unthinkable,” they wrote.

“I’m not acquainted with her work however a fast Google search tells me that masking Urdu Ghazals, sung by outdated Pakistani artists, is her shtick. If she loathes being related to the tags Pakistani and Urdu then possibly giving up nods to each in her efficiency will likely be very useful,” steered a tweep.

One other person justified why Aftab’s tweet irked so many. “Love what you do however actually, you’re complaining concerning the factor that put you on the map. In order for you a label past that, earn it. You could have an exemption now. Parlay it into non-ethnic creativity and win accolades. You’ll be able to’t blame individuals for considering you’re being ungrateful,” they wrote.

Aftab, at the moment touring Europe and the UK, responded to the backlash, expressing her frustration on the accusations of being “anti-Pakistani.” She clarified that she didn’t search to “erase or disown her roots and heritage” however fairly aimed to “push again” towards the constraints of being solely allowed to exist inside a particular cultural and linguistic context.

“I really feel like pushing again on being ONLY allowed to exist in a geographic and linguistic context. This makes it straightforward for them to other-ize, exclude us and overlook what’s achieved, and to gatekeep/ glass wall what’s additional achievable,” she defined herself.

You will need to acknowledge and admire Aftab’s accomplishments, together with her Grammy win, which showcased her expertise and the richness of Pakistani music and Urdu language to a worldwide viewers. Whereas her frustrations are legitimate to an extent, followers assume it’s essential to strike a steadiness between embracing numerous cultural backgrounds and permitting artists the liberty to discover new territories and transcend predefined stereotypes.

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