SZA Opens Up About Muslim Upbringing, Says She Was Afraid To Wear A Hijab After 9/11


SZA Opens Up About Muslim Upbringing, Says She Was Afraid To Wear A Hijab After 9/11

SZA is getting candid about growing up Muslim.

The singer shared her experience with Muslim Girl after being asked what it was like growing up with a Muslim father.

She said her father went to mosque regularly, and she attended a Muslim prep school in Newark, New Jersey.

“The experience was very microcosmic, very insulated, very much like you don’t know that no one else is practicing the same thing if you’re Black and in the suburbs because you’re kind of in your bubble. I guess I didn’t realize that things were weird and awkward until I got a lot older.”

SZA also explains that things changed after the attacks on the New York City World Trade Centers on Sept. 11, 2001. She said she was 11 years old at the time and was afraid to wear her hijab because of the attacks against the Muslim community.

“I regret so much—like, being afraid or caring what people said about me, or in high school feeling like if I didn’t cover all the time that I can’t start covering some of the time. And I did start covering again in high school, and then they were like, ‘What is this? You don’t live your life properly. You’re not really Muslim. Shut up.’ I always let somebody dictate how I was.” 

She continued and said that she hasn’t covered up in quite some time, so she hasn’t received much criticism for her background.

 “I’m not being hyper-observant, and I think that I want to be able to use whatever privilege to educate them so that they don’t do it to other people because it’s disgusting and really ignorant.”

Still, SZA said she told her manager she’s ready to wear a hijab again.

“I remember the other day even talking to Punch, my manager, and being like, ‘Oh, I want to wear a hijab. I wonder if I could.’  played Malaysia and Indonesia, and it was really comforting to be able to cover up for those shows. I didn’t feel like anybody would judge me or was going to say that I was being fake. It was just part of the custom, where I’m amongst my own people, and they just accepted me as whatever.”

What are your thoughts on SZA’s experience? Comment and let us know.

Authored by: Char Patterson