Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau at The Daily Beast profile Susan Feroz, a young woman who took to hip-hop and acting when a language barrier prevented her from studying to become a doctor or engineer, as she originally planned.
Born in Afghanistan and raised in neighboring Iran, Feroz—who speaks Farsi—began rapping a year ago to express the suffering that her family and fellow Afghan refugees experienced during their exile in Iran and Pakistan. Her first recording, “Our Neighbors,” details the difficulties of immigrant life. The song quickly became popular, as well as controversial—conservative Afghans were opposed to the idea of a girl rapping, while others protested against her comments on Iran. “I’m surprised how famous I became with one song,” she says.
In “Our Neighbors,” Feroz recalls the insults and humiliation she endured abroad. In Iran, where she lived with her family for seven years, she was rarely allowed to go to school. Some bureaucratic excuse always surfaced to prevent her and other refugees from registering, she says. The daily trip to the bakery to buy bread was often a harrowing ordeal. More than once, men would take her by the ear and pull her to the back of the queue, telling her, “The place for you dirty Afghans is at the end of the line.” She says she always shot back at them: “We are working in your country and not begging.”