In another installment of the series See Britain through my Eyes, where British people and foreigners talk about their experience of living in the UK, British born Palestinian singer Shadia Mansour talks about what being able to choose her own path means, and the support and help she's received in the UK.
Watch the video and answer the questions below about it.
1 How did Shadia start to sing?
2 Where did Shadia go to college?
3 Where does Shadia's open-mindness come from?
4 How did Shadia start rapping in Arabic?
5 How did Shadia feel when she performed her songs live in Palestine?
6 What has going to Palestine made her appreciate?
7 What have British society and Britain as a whole meant for her?
To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.
Very old. I grew up listening to these songs, you know, my family would play these songs for me when I was a little girl, and make me sing them.
I love hearing Arabic melodies on Western music. And now, I can walk around comfortably as an Arab in Britain because people can celebrate the culture with me. For me it’s great that it’s embedded here in Britain. Taking it back to a world when I was younger, going to school, growing up and going to college, when I was living in Britain I used to feel very British and now I feel very Palestinian.
But, in terms of how I think, I think the open-mindedness has definitely come from Britain. It definitely comes from growing up here, and that's, I think, that's how British I feel.
I've been given the privilege of knowing what freedom feels like, being here. I have the option of choosing what path I want to go down and that's part of the journey. And I've taken that with me. Well, actually no, it's taken me, you know, with it through music.
When I started rapping in Arabic, it started off as a hobby. I wasn't uncomfortable with singing, like rapping in English or singing in English, but I felt like I really had to, I had to be honest and real with myself and original. I wanted to claim a voice. I wanted to claim an identity in terms of being a Palestinian and the diaspora.
When I went and actually performed the songs live in Palestine, in front of a live audience, it was an amazing experience, you know, going there and seeing the people that listen to my music face to face, and trying to keep their identity and maintain it. It's like taking the songs home.
Actually, going to Palestine really made me appreciate, you know, the privileges we have here. You actually have a chance here to have your voice heard.
I value the freedom of speech in Britain and I've started to appreciate that, whereas before I didn't actually notice it, I didn't realize it. So I do feel like that's been kind of a backbone for me. I'd have to say definitely that British society and Britain as a whole has been kind of like a backbone. It's shaped my ability to be able to do what I do with no restrictions.