Singer SZA stopped wearing hijab after 9/11 attacks: ‘I was so scared’

The singer went on TikTok Live with 'Muslim Girl'

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In a recent interview with Muslim GirlSZA revealed she stopped wearing her hijab after the September 11th attacks, expressing she was “so scared.”

SZA is currently one of the biggest artists in music, with her latest single, “Good Days,” hitting the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. In a recent TikTok Live interview with Muslim Girl, the R&B singer shed some light onto her Muslim identity in a lengthy conversation that spanned her childhood experience in post 9/11 America to today.

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Opening up about the Islamophobia she faced while growing up in early-2000s New Jersey, SZA shared in the interview, “For me, Islamophobia really kicked in fresh after 9/11. I am from a small suburban town where people have good intentions, but they’re inherently may be closed-minded, and it’s not their fault.”

The singer, who grew up in a Muslim household, opened up about how she stopped wearing a hijab right after the September 11th attacks. She explained, “I stopped covering after 9/11 because I was so scared. This was like elementary school, middle school. 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,” she continued. “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.”

The singer also opened up about how she is not “hyper-observant” and wants to use her “privilege” to educate people.

She shared, “I haven’t been a direct victim of Islamophobia in so long, only because I don’t cover. 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. I’m not grateful that I’m not receiving so much hate. If anything, I just want to really meet the vacuum to help other people who are experiencing it on an everyday level.”

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA – APRIL 27: SZA performs onstage at SOMETHING IN THE WATER – Day 2 on April 27, 2019 in Virginia Beach City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water)

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In a recent interview with Billboard, SZA also opened up about her collaboration with TAZO Tree Corps, a local workforce that works to combat climate change by planting trees to help reforest Black and underserved communities.

She shared to Billboard, “I feel like clean air and having trees shouldn’t even be a conversation. It’s kind of dumb that’s it even a privilege, or something great that you can add to a community. How is it that we all don’t have the equal experience?”

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