Farimah, better known by her stage name Justina, is a unique, rare breed, an underground rap and hip hop artist in Iran. Forbidden to perform or distribute her music by the Government for expressing herself as a female and cutting edge artist, Justina continues to spread her message condemning discrimination against women and the radicalization of religion. Her music is inspired by a mix of traditional Iranian music and western artists, such as Eminem, Ice T, Hichkas, Public Enemy, 2Pac and Shahin Najafi.
Like youth around the world, Justina fells the need to express herself through Hip Hop. “Hip Hop liberates me. The dancing, words, and energy attracted me to it.” The music called her despite growing up in a traditional home and a country in which Hip Hop is outlawed and dancing is forbidden except for some sanctioned, traditional dances. Even traditional female artists cannot sing in public. Justina points out that there was a time when young Iranians would go to nightclubs and appreciate music in every genre. With the Islamic revolution in 1979, the era of dancing, music and alcohol came to an end. However, like in the west, young Iranians hold true to express themselves in face of threat of arrest and harassment.
“They will not give me permission to perform or publish because I am a girl. I am not allowed to perform live, to release an album; my voice will not be broadcast in the public. I am always fearful of arrest.”
In 2011, Justina took part in her first underground rap competition, Hip Hop Artist Contest. She was the only female competitor and was able to secure a spot among the top ten finalists with her breakthrough hit, “Artesh Tanbe 10 VOL2.” A year later she became the first woman to release a rap video in Iran. Since none of the official and legal channels would distribute such a video, she used social media and YouTube to distribute it.
She sings of violence against women and decries the one-hour marriage allowed in Iran for the purposes of sex. “As women we have problems in society, in the world. I speak for all of these women.” In her song Be in Azadi Bekhand (Laugh at this Freedom), Justina directs her words to a man as she tells him of the double standards, telling him that “you were born in the hands of someone of the same sex as I.”