On April 12, Noor Tagouri had a lot to celebrate. The journalist and podcast host had just (on April 4) launched Rep—a podcast produced by her production company, At Your Service, in partnership with iHeartMedia. Plus, it was Ramadan, and for the Libyan American Tagouri, that meant breaking her fast with an iftar dinner. Usually, friends and family come together to have that after-sunset meal, but for this occasion Tagouri widened the guest list, welcoming with open arms all of her Rep supporters and collaborators.
When Noor Tagouri logs onto our Zoom meeting a few minutes late, she’s visibly emotional. The 28-year-old award-winning journalist has just gotten off a 20-minute phone call with one of her best friends. Her friend listened to the first episode of Tagouri’s new podcast, Rep, in which Tagouri explores how misrepresentation of Muslims has affected her family personally, and had come to a pretty big realization: She didn’t really know Tagouri. “I have this idea in my head of what this episode means to the world, but it means that because of what it's done to me personally,” Tagouri tells me. “And then to hear someone else who's seen me through so much say she realized [after listening to the episode that] she didn't know me, and then me realizing I didn't know me either, and that we both met me at the same time … it was so transformative.”
One of the most consistent ways in which award-winning journalist Noor Tagouri has been made to feel by the media is as a victim. As a hijab-wearing Muslim woman, who is committed to giving a voice to the marginalised, she has broken boundaries in a world marred by Islamophobia. She has hosted powerful podcasts and documentaries that get to the truth of the misrepresented and sidelined, and runs her own production company. There’s also her ISeeYou foundation, which she runs with her mother. She has been forced to endlessly defend her choice to wear a hijab. And yet, during a time where Muslim women are often wrongly lumped together under one collective experience of oppression and passivity, she has been left feeling like a victim because of societal stereotypes.
Betta Lemme is the pop artist we need, right now. Whether she's playing or crying, her music delivers on high-energy bops with hooks that repeat until they're permanently etched into our memories by the final round. Through all the gloss and crisp electronic catharsis, the Canadian still manages to tackle important topics that resonate even deeper than an earworm.
“We’re Still Figuring Out Who We Are”: 20 Years After 9/11, Journalist Noor Tagouri Is Deconstructing the Muslim American Story
Noor Tagouri is a lot of things: an award-winning journalist and producer; a woman of faith; a fashion icon. But on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, she spoke to me as herself, with all the labels stripped away—a 27-year-old Muslim woman grieving for her community, pitted against itself by a hostile society, interpreted as a monolith in a way that robs its individual members of their sense of personhood. She offered raw reflections on why she’d decided not to post about 9/11 on Instagram; the pressure to be a, quote, unquote, “good Muslim” rather than a “bad” one; and her own feeling of nebulousness, of struggling to parse who she really is versus who she feels pressured to be for other people.
Award-winning Lybian-American journalist Noor Tagouri has championed the voices and stories of underrepresented communities through her investigative documentary work for years. It was precisely the lack of such stories that compelled Tagouri to fill the void. Growing up, she didn't see a diverse group of women on screen telling stories that represented the multicultural world we will in. Not at first, anyway.