Wednesday February 28th, 2024
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Hijabi Basketballer Jamad Fiin: Finding Footing & Breaking Barriers

How a routine hobby transformed into overnight virality.

Farida El Shafie

When Canadian rapper and singer Drake followed basketball player Jamad Fiin on Instagram, she followed him back.

On Fiin's 17th birthday, her cousin bestowed her with the gift of internet fame. There were no ribbons to untie or cards to tuck away in bedside tables; instead, just a video snippet of the teenager executing a smooth left-handed drive through a crowd of men. For Fiin, it was a routine pastime. Yet, to the wider audience, it emerged as something quite notable – a brief, four-second defiance of stereotypical expectations concerning the behavior of a girl wearing a head covering. The following morning, she watched in awe as the video's viewership soared, eventually reaching millions.

Fiin’s fame gradually made its way into Somali and Muslim communities worldwide. Some couldn't help but pause at her unconventional choices, grappling to reconcile her actions with the traditions they were raised with. Others found themselves consumed with pride, gravitating towards Fiin’s ability to strike a balance between her faith and greatest passion in life. It wasn’t long before girls in her community followed suit. The more Fiin’s family and friends publicly advocated for her, the more parental stigma in her tight knit community unraveled. Years later, Fiin founded ‘Jamad Basketball Camps’ and subsequently pioneered a space where girls can pursue their passion outside the glaring gaze of societal norms.

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