Mélanie Georgiades, alias Diam's: Examining Identity through Rap
The ex-rapper Mélanie Georgiades (b. 25 July 1980), more commonly known as Diam's, profoundly affected the genre of French rap. Originally from Cyprus, but growing up in the banlieues of France, this "petite banlieusarde" quickly rose to fame, achieving the best-selling album of 2006 in France. Her musical career came to an abrupt end in 2008, however, with her conversion to Islam. She chose to wear the veil and to retreat from public life, focusing instead on writing two autobiographies and enjoying a quiet home life. This essay examines Georgiades's music and identity as a reflection of the complexities of contemporary French society, focusing on three aspects: Regional Identity, Gender Identity, and Religious Identity. Each of these perspectives sheds light on how Diam's/Georgiades navigated complex identity politics to create a new and more diverse image of "Frenchness."