Once a refugee fleeing from war, Helly Luv returns to her homeland with a pop anthem to rally for Kurdish independence.
Kurdish pop singer Helly Luv says she will not be put off by death threats from Iraqi Islamist militants since release of her first music video but, drawing on its title, insists she will Risk It All to help a push for an independent Kurdistan.
Iraqi-born Luv, 25, has seen her video rack up more than 2.5 million views on YouTube since its release in February but she’s faced criticism for what some see as provocative imagery in the clip accompanying the modern mix of dance, hip-hop and traditional Middle Eastern music.
Luv said the video, which includes exploding petrol bombs, backing dancers with AK-47 rifles, and the singer dancing in a mid-thigh silver dress atop a citadel, represents the Kurdish spirit and struggle for an independent state.
“There were death threats from many Islamic groups. It was a really hard time for me. (But) my whole message is that, Kurdish people, we need to risk everything for our dreams and fight for our country.” Luv said in an interview in Arbil, the autonomous Kurdistan region’s capital. “I wanted my first single to be Risk It All to let people know that’s what I represent,” she added.