Amirah Sackett is break(dancing) stereotypes by using hip-hop to promote religious tolerance. With her female Muslim dance group We’re Muslim Don’t Panic, the choreographer, make-up artist – and prancing and practising Muslim – pops and locks to smash stereotypes and address misconceptions about Muslim women.
Since 2011 Sackett and dancers Khadijah Sifterllah-Griffin and Iman Sifterllah-Griffin have explored personal identity through combining Islam, hip-hop and dance. Wearing headscarves, abaya (long, black dresses) and niqab (face veils), the group aims to bring empowerment to Muslim-American women and girls who experience discrimination.
For Sackett We’re Muslim Don’t Panic is a way to connect with a sometimes fearful non-Muslim majority and with young people: “In the hip-hop dance industry as a woman you’re already fighting stereotypes, whether you’re Muslim or not, so as a Muslim woman you’re dealing with stereotypes within stereotypes,” she told Aquila Style. “Part of my goal was to educate non-Muslims and to tell them about hijabs.”
Learn the difference between a hijab, niqab and burka here.