Danish rap duo Ravi Kuma’s latest music video makes a poignant political statement that speaks truth to power.
Danish rap duo Ravi Kuma, consisting of rapper Sharon Kumaraswamy and producer Aske Knudsen, are back with a badass new music video for their recent tack-sharp single, “Take Off My Scarf”, that highlights a bold truth about the discrimination, hidden and outright, in today’s society. The song, released earlier this year along with their debut album, Sub., addresses the cultural repercussions of legislation in Denmark that forbids Muslim women from wearing full face-coverings in public.
“Take Off My Scarf” was written after Kumaraswamy and Knudsen witnessed some strangely spiteful comments against a hijab-wearing woman on the back of a bus in Copenhagen city one day. The experience sparked a response from these artists in the form of the defiant rebuke of judgment-based oppression in all forms. According to Sharon Kumaraswamy:
“For us, it’s not about Islam or even religion in general. It’s about the fact, that no one should have the power to dictate how other people should dress. When you, as state power, do this through legislation, especially regarding something as harmless as clothing, it sends the message that it is okay to interfere and discriminate against those who take other choices than yourself.”
The bold song is written to Danish politicians and lawmakers while also declaring support for anyone who has been subjected to this type of discrimination. The accompanying music video for “Take Off My Scarf” strongly challenges this idea of limiting free will and enabling xenophobic paradigms, also conveying the innate contradiction in the fact that the law itself prohibits these face-coverings while also simultaneously acknowledging that we all wear a “mask” on some level, anyway. At the end of the day, “Take Off My Scarf” is an outspoken anthem for individuality and identity.
Watch the music video below and catch our brief conversation about these rad artists, their recent release and what is next to come.
Hi guys 🙂 How would you describe your relationship with music?
A: Well it’s what I do, have always done and will always do. It’s my passion and whenever music plays in the background, my mind will be dissecting how it was made.
How did you first get into music?
A: It’s just always been kind of there. In my teenage years, it was a way of expressing myself and identifying myself amongst my peers.
What are your most prominent musical influences?
A: It changes all the time, and I love when it happens. Right now, I’m very much into Injury Reserve. I think they have an incredibly interesting take on hip hop. They sound like nothing else and at the same time, their tracks are catchy, heavy and fun.
What is the concept behind this latest music video?
A: The music video is very DIY. To be honest, we didn’t have the money for a big, fancy production, but we wanted to do a video on this track so bad. The track is very important to us and also in the context of how the world is today. So we thought ‘what the hell, we’ll do the video ourselves’. So we called these amazing dancers, lined up a DJ set in our backyard, transformed our living room into all glitter and bling and started shooting. We think it turned out surprisingly well actually.
The vibe and lyrics in this song is extremely powerful. What is the overall message?
S: ‘Take Off My Scarf’ is about how we both experienced how discrimination became somehow more okay after the government adopted the law about banning full-face masks in public. The reason we use ‘scarf’ in the video and in the lyrics is because it symbolizes something everyone knows of. For us, it’s not about Islam or even religion in general. It’s about the fact, that no one should have the power to dictate how other people should dress. When you, as state power do this through legislation, especially regarding something as harmless as clothing, it sends the message that it is okay to interfere and discriminate against those who take other choices than yourself.
From where did you get the inspiration behind the song itself?
S: I wrote the song after Aske and I had a really terrible experience in a bus. A man gets on the 5C bus in Copenhagen. He helps this elderly lady with a walker down to her seat. He is so kind and nice and I believe everyone was thinking that he was a ‘nice dude’. Suddenly, he looks down in the back of the bus and shouts: ‘and what the hell do you want?!’. The vibe gets weird, and I’m confused about who he is talking to. Then he looks at me and says: ‘sorry, it’s not that I’m a racist. I just think they could show some respect for us and show their faces’. I realized he was shouting at a woman in the back wearing a niqab. I look at her totally caught off guard and she gives me this ‘don’t-worry-I-am-used-to-it-look’. Then they both got off the bus. I was left with a terrible feeling! I felt like it was so wrong that this man could shout at another human being like that without me or anyone else telling him off. Then I went home and wrote ‘Take Off My Scarf’.
What do you want people to feel when listening to this song?
S: Sometimes you experience situations where you have to turn the other cheek. This song is for all the people who experience a situation like that and needs a small private riot of their own afterwords.
So what’s next for you, in the near or distant future?
S: We are doing a show next thursday November 7 at Idealbar in Copenhagen and just like the video is very Ravi Kuma-like with all the DIY stuff, the stage and show at Idealbar will be as well. We’re really looking forward to it.
A: Also, right now, we are using most of our time in the studio trying to make new bangers.