It was a typical day of trolling Instagram when I came across a short clip of Snoop Dogg sitting on a throne with the Zoroastrian faraharvar symbol behind it. He was rapping with an Iranian pop singer named Amitis (who I had never heard of until that moment).
Excitement rushed to my brain. Did I just witness one of my favorite rappers underneath an ancient Persian symbol?
Yes, it was true. After a lot of Googling and YouTubing, I found the epic video entitled “King” by Amitis featuring Snoop Dogg.
It’s unclear where the video was shot, but I assure you that it was not in Iran. A lot of Iranian music and film is produced in the U.S. and elsewhere though, and still reaches audiences inside the Islamic theocracy via satellite TV.
So was everyone as excited as me to see Snoop collaborating with an Iranian singer?
I began to share the video all over social media and sent out mass emails to my Iranian community. I couldn’t wait to hear responses.
Most were annoyed about the stripper poles and how the women were half naked smoking hookah (that part especially bothered my mom). Or they were disappointed that most of the video is not really related to ancient Persian culture, just incorporating some of its symbols.
Persian culture is filled with art and music, why take the superficial route? Most of Iranians I spoke to couldn’t get past the lyrics, which were mundane and corny. The adjective “cheesy” was used more than once.
Yes, I can agree with many of these statements. But if you watch other Persian pop videos, you will see that a lot of them are cheesy — that’s why they are so popular.
I couldn’t find too much personal background on Amitis — she’s certainly not a household name, even for Iranian Americans. Her website is broken — smooth move when you just launched the biggest video of your ENTIRE CAREER and paid Snoop for a cameo!
I did find out that she was named after the wife of Cyrus the Great — ruler of the ancient Persian Empire. Her full name is Amitis Moghaddam and she was born in Mashad, Iran but is now based in Atlanta.
A lot of her videos are on YouTube. She does have an affinity for using women in bikinis, but the stripper poles in “King” are taking it to a new level for her. If you are familiar with Snoop Dogg, you can imagine how these two ended up collaborating together.
At the end of the day, if this video means that Snoop Dogg fans will begin to listen to more Iranian singers (and there a lot of great ones) than it’s done some good. But it’s unlikely it will inspire anyone to learn more about the depths of our culture.