Trending

Sinead O'Connor Converts to Islam

She now goes by the name "Shuhada' Davitt"

Well-known for hits like "Nothing Compares 2 U" as well as public displays of criticism against the Catholic Church, Irish singer Sinead O' Connor, 51, is always one to make her voice heard.

This time, it's her announcement that she has converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada' Davitt.


Along with her announcement, Twitter followers can see a new profile photo – the Nike logo with a message: "Wear a hijab just do it." And People notes, "Additionally, her Twitter bio now reads in all caps, "Please be aware that if you post racist or anti muslim rhetoric on this page you will be blocked."

According to CNN, "Last year, O'Connor changed her name to Magda Davitt, a name she took to be 'free of parental curses.'" Since her conversion to Islam, she has changed her first name again to Shuhada', which means "martyrs" in Arabic.

Davitt is documenting her journey on social media, recently posting her rendition of the Azan – the Islamic call to prayer and worship. She has stated that she's joyful, and yesterday tweeted, "Thank you so much to all my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been so kind as to welcome me to Ummah (the Muslim community) today on this page. You can't begin to imagine how much your tenderness means to me."


Since her announcement, Davitt has received both criticism and support for her decision to convert to Islam. It was only a few years ago that the singer was struggling with mental health issues. As per USA Today, "In November 2015, she made a suicide threat on Facebook over child-custody issues. The following May, she went missing for a day before turning up in a Chicago suburb. In 2017, she sat down for an interview with Dr. Phil on his daytime talk show, where she revealed that her emotional troubles had been triggered by the hormonal effects of a radical hysterectomy."

Follow Davitt's journey on Twitter as she continues to update her feed and post photos. Just don't expect to see her in her very first hijab.


Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.



POP⚡DUST | Read More…

Lady Gaga - All You Need to Know

Collaboration? Snoop Dogg and Eminem May Have Something Special in the Works

Tracy Chapman Sues Nicki Minaj

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

Fashion

NYFW: Anniesa Hasibuan commits to glamour - with a message

The Indonesian brand is all about luxury, but the show was anything but apolitical.

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Last season, Anniesa Hasibuan became the first designer ever to put hijabs on the runway at New York Fashion Week. And this season she made waves again by casting all immigrant models for the presentation of her Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which debuted February 14 at Skylight Clarkson Square.

Hasibuan has an elegant and powerful way of delivering a message. By putting hijabs and immigrant models on the runway with little fanfare (except from the press after the fact), she is very simply saying: Muslims belong here. Immigrants belong here, just like everyone and everything else that shows at NYFW. The statement is made via presence, and the clothes are left to make their own statement. Which they absolutely do.

Every single outfit was, simply put, the most. Sequins, velvet, pearls, embroidery. No matte surfaces. The collection aspired to royalty.

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

The color palette consisted of white, cream, peach, silver, gold, and black, mostly manifested in monochromatic outfits of several juxtaposing textures. The simplest outfits were a loose, sparkly tunic over dark velvet pants; most were a dress or tunic and pants with a long sheer cardigan or jacket over it. And when I say no matte surfaces, I'm not exaggerating: sheer pieces featured silver mesh overlay or dainty pearl detailing. Sequins were everywhere. Lots of skirts were big, full, and floor-length with flower-like gathering. It's fitting that the collection's theme was "drama."

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

And while Hasibuan uses volume expertly, making even the most fabric-heavy, layered outfits still look floaty and delicate, the slimmer silhouettes exuded modern royalty. Gold-threaded sweater and metallic pleated skirt pairings were cinched with obi belts. One long black dress with silver threading featured chiffon ruffles from the knee down, and one of the most interesting pieces was a menswear-inspired vest with a floor-length train. The simpler the outfit, the bolder the accessories—thick strings of pearls and beaded gloves, for example. Not a single outfit played it safe, and thank goodness for that. Hasibuan's woman is into luxury, into dressing up, and isn't afraid of being the most extra.