Singer SZA has had plenty of life time experiences and she’s not afraid of sharing them, whether through song on in the stories she tells without melody.
During a recent question and answer session on Tik Tok, the singer spoke about her experiences growing up as a Muslim girl and how her life changed after September 11, 2001.
The daughter of a Muslim father, SZA attended a Musli prep school in Newark, New Jersey.
She describes her upbringing as very secluded.
“The experience was very microcosmic, very insulated, very much like you don’t know that no one else is practicing the same thing if you’re Black and in the suburbs because you’re kind of in your bubble. I guess I didn’t realize that things were weird and awkward until I got a lot older.”
SZA said life changed for her at 11-years-old, after the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Before that day, she wore a hijab. But after, when Islamophobia was rampant in the United States, she had a fear of covering up, believing that she too could become a target.
“I regret so much—like, being afraid or caring what people said about me, or in high school feeling like if I didn’t cover all the time that I can’t start covering some of the time,” SZA said. “And I did start covering again in high school, and then they were like, ‘What is this? You don’t live your life properly. You’re not really Muslim. Shut up.’ I always let somebody dictate how I was.”
SZA shared that there are times when she still has a desire to wear a hijab and dress more modestly and said as much to her manager.
“I remember the other day even talking to Punch, my manager, and being like, ‘Oh, I want to wear a hijab. I wonder if I could,’” SZA revealed. “We played Malaysia and Indonesia, and it was really comforting to be able to cover up for those shows. I didn’t feel like anybody would judge me or was going to say that I was being fake. It was just part of the custom, where I’m amongst my own people, and they just accepted me as whatever.”