Mayam Mahmoud rose to fame after her appearance on popular TV talent show “Arabs Got Talent” last October. The 18-year-old Egyptian rapper busted out lyrics advocating education for girls and denouncing the sexual harassment of women on the streets. According to a 2008 survey, 83 percent of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed.
Since the performance, Mahmoud has amassed a large following for challenging how women are viewed and treated in traditionally conservative societies. When she’s not in school pursuing her political science degree, she spends her time speaking to women who share their stories of daily discrimination and then incorporating their experiences into her songs. Mahmoud says sexual harassment on the streets discourages women from going out. “It supports that idea that a woman should stay at home and not go out and I’m completely against that. I defy that,” she says.
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"You should kiss the ground you walk on if you were born in this country— take it from an old man who once had to wear the Star of David on his shirt. There’s a safety to living in such a diverse place. It’s much more difficult to brainwash a population that is composed of so many different nationalities and so many different viewpoints."