Yasmin is a super woman from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Friday, Feb 3rd, coming off the heels of the historical Women’s March and the various protests around the country regarding President Trump’s so-called Muslim Ban, she dropped by the POETLab so we could rap about the situation back in the capital city of the kingdom, how and why she ended up in NYC, and her current status as person on the run and seeking asylum for a better life.
We sat in the lab for 5 hours straight, talking, smoking, laughing, interrobanging, celebrating, and just generally digging deep. This episode is a condensed version of that conversation and will be of particular interest to those fascinated by deeply complicated and emotionally laden human stories. Yasmin’s soft and sweet voice is real, her story and struggle is real, and she keeps it as real as any independent-minded woman might hope to do, despite the very real fears and uncertainties that loom large like an apocalyptic lunar eclipse.
We touched upon a wide variety of topics regarding Saudi Arabia – many of them sensitive, controversial, taboo, or haram – including the religious police, dating, movie theaters, TV, art/music, the Internet, technology and social media, Snapchat and Twitter, porn, hackers, porn hackers, the unbearable weight of boredom, no woman no drive, the guardianship system and the yellow paper, difficulties with banking, school/education, work, weddings and the abaya check, tea time, the five daily prayers, women and mosques, and religion and culture in general.
The second half of the conversation focuses on NYC and change. We talk about the challenging yet liberating process of transformation, speaking frankly about sex, drugs – marijuana, alcohol and mushrooms – wearing the hijab, listing and dancing to memorable gusts of wind on a private Tribeca rooftop, learning how to really use an airport for the first time, NYU, and finally on to the more serious concern of running away from home, learning to survive, working and hustling, and the agonizing decision of potentially seeking some form of protection, solace, and refuge in asylum.
Yasmin is a super woman and this is just a part of her story and struggle, as intense and unbelievable as it will surely sound to many. She is a dear friend of mine and it is my pleasure to be able to share our intimate conversation with you. We only ask that you keep an open mind and try to understand.
Host: Sh∞tspitter Kane
Guest: Yasmin the Super Woman
Location: POETLab Studios