Armenian Rapper Draws Criticism With Violent Photos
In a country that is still coming to terms with domestic violence issues, particularity sexual abuse aimed against women, Armenian-American rapper Sako Balasanyan, better known by his stage name of “Super Sako” has angered Armenians with a new series of photographs featuring violent, misogynistic imagery of a faceless woman and him in various settings.
The photos, taken by photographer Arvin Kocharian show Sako against the backdrop of Haghpat Monastery, with a gun in one hand and an barely clothed woman in the other, whom he is clutching by her hair. Another shows Sako in a makeshift butchery with pieces of meat hanging from hooks, overlooking a bleeding woman covered in white sheets, now presumably dead.
The former photo, with the 10th century, UNESCO-recognized monastery, gave reason for a civil group known as “Know Your Country” to release a statement calling it “sadistic and sacrilegious.”
The group said the photos had “united diverse groups who are concerned regarding the lack of national values in society,” Hetq reported.
A third photo has also emerged, which shows Sako in the act of stabbing his female companion, who is laying on a table, covered in a white sheet yet again.
The photos are part of a series for a new album called “Lie, Betray, Revenge,” according to Kocharian, who gave an interview to 7or.com news outlet.
The idea was purely Balasanyan’s, Kocharian said, adding that the photos show the consequences of betrayal.
Calls to boycott the rapper have emerged in Armenian social media circles, with activists branding him as “Stupid Sako” and encouraging others to spread the message about his promotion of violence against women.
The rapper, who lives in Los Angeles but is originally from Yerevan, recently got married and subsequently released a video documenting the festivities, called “Why Are You So Beautiful.”
National surveys suggest that more than a quarter of women in Armenia have faced physical violence at the hands of husbands or other family members, says a 2008 report from Amnesty International
“Violence in the family takes many forms, ranging from isolation and the withholding of economic necessities, to physical and sexual violence, and even murder, yet women have few options to escape situations in which they are at risk,” the report goes on to say.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Social Institutions and Gender Index, “Armenian women have a low degree of protection for their physical integrity. Violence against women is common and seems to be accepted by a proportion of the population.”
Both Kocharian and Balasanyan have been contacted for comment.