Irbil: High heels, fatigues and gold rifle-shaped rings — singer Helly Luv’s blend of bang and bling has made her the most popular cheerleader for the Iraqi Kurds’ war against the Islamic State.
She visits peshmerga forces fighting the Islamic State, which overran a third of Iraq last year, and says she filmed her latest music video in Al-Khazr, not far from the enemies’ lines. “I want to give something to the peshmerga because I consider myself one of them,” the 26-year-old singer told AFP in the Kurdish regional capital Irbil.
“I wore peshmerga clothes in the song to support them.”
Her latest music video, for a song titled “Revolution,” opens with a peshmerga fighter looking at a picture of himself with a young boy, presumably his son, as shelling and gunfire are heard in the background.
He tucks the photo inside his helmet and goes to fight. The video then moves to a quiet village where children play and people sit drinking tea, but it soon comes under fire from black-clad militants driving armored vehicles like those captured from Iraqi security forces, including a tank.
A child screams and residents flee, but Helly Luv — wearing golden high heels with a white and red scarf covering her face — strides the other way to dramatic music, unfurling a banner before the tank that reads “STOP THE VIOLENCE.”
She sings and dances next to a car with “END WAR” spray painted on its side, but footage that includes peshmerga forces counterattacking and lyrics such as “We gon’ keep on fighting” make clear she means the violence will stop once the Islamic State is defeated.
The video and English lyrics are over the top and sometimes cringe-worthy, but also apparently popular, garnering 700,000 views on YouTube barely two weeks after its release.
With plenty of hip-swinging and hair-swishing, the rock-chick style of the “Kurdish Shakira” is in stark contrast with the somber and pious “nasheeds” — both for and against Islamic State — that have blossomed on social media over the past year.