“Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop”
A Culture-Clashing Music Video
With her provocative debut music video, “Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop,” Lea Kalisch presents a transgressive 21st-century update on the traditional Jewish song Eshet Chayil (Woman of Valor). As she clashes together the seemingly unrelated worlds of hip hop and hasidism, Kalisch reveals that these male-dominated arenas share an equally urgent need for feminist critique and the empowerment of women’s voices.
January 30, 2020
“My interpretation of Eshet Chayil is a call to artistic and cultural freedom, proclaiming that each of us can embrace multiple cultures and disparate passions,” Kalisch says.
Filmed on the urban streets of New York City and the holy footpaths of Jerusalem, “Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop” is a mashup on many levels. The lyrics feature Hebrew, English, German and Yiddish. By blending rap, middle eastern sounds, klezmer, and a touch of musical theater, the music captures the multi-cultural zeitgeist. Lea’s clashing appearance—an ultra-orthodox man’s furred hat (shtreimel) contrasting with permissive streetwear and dazzling bling-bling—exposes how clothing norms in both cultures objectify and limit women.
“I sing in tribute, not only to the Jewish woman, but to all women, in the hope that we can embrace our womanhood free from the limits of conventional aesthetics.”