Vanessa Hidary 58.
(photo credit: T'rah Holliday Veal)
Identity crisis doesn't mean a thing to Vanessa Hidary, whose journey to her eclectically-gathered Jewish roots took her through the world of hip-hop and spoken word. A self-described "culture bandit," she does not want you to tell her that she doesn't look Jewish, because this Syrian-American-Nuyorican-rappin' Jewess most certainly is. She'll even go to Harlem Def Poetry Jam to tell you personally.
Mixing old-school Hebrew vibes with a multi-culti sensibility and street smarts, Vanessa's message is simple: be proud of who you are.
"Years ago, I started turning the tables on identity crisis and advocating to people telling them it's okay to be Jewish," she says in this exclusive video. "You can be proud to be Jewish and still be a secular person and have all different friends, listen to Hip-Hop, etc. You don't have to be a certain type of person to be Jewish."
Video: Do you
know real hip-hop?
Break it down:
Hip hop dance on the streets of Jerusalem
For the last thirty-something years Vanessa Hidary has been living many
identities, finally finding her own as the Hebrew Mamita. A graduate of
acting school in Rhode Island, she has taken her performance art around
the country, through her record sales and friendship with Mos Def.