This beautiful smiling lady is Mélanie Georgiades.
For years she was known as rapper Diam. You can view her rapping Peter Pan here. It's a very fun and colorful video with kids and camp. I don't love rap songs across the board but there are some efforts I can really appreciate. I can honestly dig this. And it isn't just the music; it's the energy. She is really a solid performer mashahallah.
But she didn't feel solid inside. She was torn up and hurting. Diam tried everything to dull the pain and cloud the experiences she was living. That's true for a lot of us who came to Islam. When I celebrated 10 years in Islam, my mom talked to me wistfully for the person I used to be but that's only because she didn't know all I was going through before reverting
For Diam, what she went through that was hallucinogenics and later time in a mental institution. There's that saying, "Religion is for those who believe in hell. Faith is for those who have been to hell and back." She went deep down in that dark pit and wasn't sure how to get back up.
In 2009, she really walked away from the music scene. In 2010, she found Islam. It was simple actually. A friend said that is was time for prayer and Diam asked to join.
Break in the action so I can talk to you Muslims: THINK of all the times you downplay your religious obligations when you are around Non-Muslims. You feel like you shouldn't say anything about prayer times even at the risk of missing it all together. You don't want to seem too tight with your deen. Yet, if you actually did observe your Islam while around your Non-Muslims friends and family you would show them a way to peace. Think if that friend had never spoken those words that it was time to pray!
Alhumdulillah, Diam felt the moment of peace she'd been looking for. "It was the first time that I touched the floor with head, and I had a strong feeling that I have never experienced before, and I believe now that kneeling in prayer, shouldn’t be done to anyone but Allah.”
You can read more about her journey here.
A Moroccan fan's reaction to her reversion is here.
Of course there's more information about Mélanie on Wikipedia.
If you want to get a feel of the backlash the French are dishing out then view this Twitter feed but I'll warn you that the photos he's posted are inflammatory. They are hateful and hurtful. France is even more disrespectful of Islam than the U.S. Remember the huge debate about hijabs and niqabs being outlawed there? If you respond to this tweeter in anyway then please stay civil. We don't need to be rude too.
Here's a TV news report from France about her reversion---and yes it's in French.
This TV news report is from the TFI station which aired the interview so it's got a short clip of it.
She had been causing a lot of curiosity since 2010 when she was caught wearing a veil coming out of a mosque. She only thought she was checking her cell phone (we Muslims do that when we get out of the prayer hall because we turn them off as we go inside). The press assumed the man next to her was her new husband.
Here is a report written at the time and it smacks of cynacism. I really hate how the written assumes that this woman is no longer feeling feminism. And the description of her outfit makes it seem like she's severly limited whereas you can see she looks very comfortable---in fact, MORE comfortable than girls who wear tight, form-fitting clothes. But people see only what they want to see. Haters will hate.
The Muslims of France, on the other hand, are feeling joyful at the transformation. Not only did Mélanie come to Islam but she's veiled. Mashahallah.
That photo in Paris Match, even though it was invasive, was a positive push for Mélanie to come out and speak about her new life. TFI aired it just days ago on September 30.
If I can find a video of this interview, I will post it. Let me know if you find a link.
This is only the audio.
I would love to read her Autobiographie which she published this year. I haven't figured out if it's been translated into English yet.
I am a sudden supporter of this star. October 17 there is supposed to be a Concert of Tolerance in Agadir, Morocco and it sounds like she may attend. That would be a wonderful moment. I wonder if Jaime has room on her couch.
May Allah protect this lovely Muslimah and her family and surround them with light, love and laughter.