Helly Luv is not using weapons to fight ISIS, she is using music. And it is working. The radical group - that has taken large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria and spreading its violent ideology across the world- is mad at her and issued death threats.
Helly Luv,26, was born in Iran – the region of Urmia - in 1988 during the Persian Gulf war. Because of the conflict, Luv and her mother fled the country to enter Turkey. They lived for several years as homeless before being granted a status of Kurdish refugees in Finland, she told VICE. At the age of 18, she flew to Los Angeles. That is where she started her music career. Now, she's back to the Middle East to create music and videos that combat terrorism using politically-charged lyrics.
Her newest song “Revolution,” is a mix of pop and politics. Helly Luv calls to resist in unity the “darkness,” here ISIS and other extremist groups.
“Stand up, we are united / Together we can survive it /Darkness will never take us /Long live to every nation / Rise up cause we're so much stronger as one / Breaking the silence as loud as a gun / Brothers and sisters we all come from one /Different religions we share the same blood.”
She goes on “ All for peace/ Oh oh oh /Serbesti /Oh oh oh Azadiiiii.” Serbesti and Azadi both mean freedom in Ottoman Turkish and Persian.
The 7-minute long music video features Helly Luv, red hair, shiny gold pumps, camouflage outfit and keffiyeh, cat-walking down a war zone. She stands defiantly between the barrel of several guns and civilians fleeing the bombs with a signs that reads “STOP THE VIOLENCE.” Young women and men, wearing military uniforms, fight back while civilians are rallying and waving flags from all around the world.
As shown at the end of the video, it was shot about two miles away from the front line separating ISIS militants and the Kurdish Peshmerga troops. You can even hear the sound of explosions. The real ones this time.
For more, read interview of Helly Luv with VICE.