Free Minds & Free Markets

Saudi Woman Rapper Drops the Mic on Driving Ban Repeal

Leesa buckles her seatbelt across her abaya to celebrate the end of the female driving ban.

After Saudi Arabia's June decision to lift the driving ban against women, at least one is celebrating her new freedom with the power of song.

A rapper named Leesa created a music video for a song titled "We Are Driving." The video features Leesa driving behind the wheel of a car telling audiences, "today I can serve [drive] myself." Other lyrics include "I don't need anyone to take me" and "I put the seatbelt over my abaya," the name for the robe worn by Saudi women when they appear in public. She also leaves a warning for her passengers not to slam the door, threatening to tie them up with her seatbelt if they're too rough with her car.

The video has received tens of thousands of likes on her Instagram page. Others compared the themes in Leesa's music video with the once-controversial 2012 music video for "Bad Girls" by M.I.A., which highlights women behind the steering wheel while men perceived to be Arab look on. When asked why she shot the music video in Morrocco, M.I.A. explained that she "didn't want to go to jail."

While Leesa raps in celebration, other women have chosen to take advantage of industries that they were once unable to access. According to Time, Ohoud Al Arifi became the first woman in the country to drive for Uber, just hours after the ban went into effect. Al Arifi previously obtained her driver's license in California and also works as Uber's marketing manager for Saudi Arabia. Al Arifi said that her first rider was a woman who was inspired to ask how she might become an Uber driver as well.

Not every Saudi woman is benefitting from the change. Several activists who fought the ban remain in government detention. One such detainee is Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested in 2014 after she attempted to drive herself in her own vehicle across the border from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia. Al-Hathloul was also arrested in 2017 and again in March 2018 after she and other activists defied the driving ban.

Photo Credit: Screenshot via YouTube/ Leesa A

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  • Just Say'n||

    This headline screams "I'm with it"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Is someone going to do a video about how bad women drivers are?

    Seriously though, good for women in repressive regimes to get a bone thrown at them.

    I mean, this is too easy.

    I be here all da week.

  • Agammamon||

    Next week is when Saudi Arabian comics discover 'women driver' jokes for the first time in their culture.

  • lap83||

    Have you been to the middle east? Their drivers make Asian old ladies look like precision drivers

  • lap83||

    so I don't know that women can be much worse, they might actually improve the situation on average

  • The Last American Hero||

    Does this mean the people in uniform at the airport be expected to come up to me and say "Thank you for your tax dollars"?

  • The Last American Hero||

    Damn, wrong thread.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    This explains why the ctrl-left is so enthusiastic about mass transit.

  • Eddy||

    Much too safe for work. Try this instead.

  • Agammamon||

    Good for them.

    Now if only the US could be as progressive, egalitarian, and modern as Saudi Arabia instead of the among the worst nations for women in the world.

  • JeremyR||

    Now maybe they can legalize eyebrow tweezers

  • Frank White||

  • Rebel Scum||


  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The principal differences between Saudi social conservatives and American social conservatives are (1) America has a liberal-libertarian alliance to curb the yahoos, (2) preferred flavors of religion, and (3) America's goobers listen to country music and Saudi goobers listen to some other kind of lousy music.

  • Sevo||

    The principal difference between our annoying asshole and a random compost heap:
    The heap is smarter.

  • jph12||

    There's more variety to the shit in a random compost heap.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Hey, look -- a couple of right-wing authoritarians claiming to be libertarians.

  • cynicalretiree||

    Sub titles would be a great addition.


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