By Ayah A.
If you’re Muslim and active on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across a video by social media satirist, content creator and stand-up comedienne Nadirah Pierre (@nadirah.p). And if you have, it is highly likely that video made you laugh until your stomach hurt, causing you to immediately hit the like and share buttons. This process is how the 24-year-old Haitian- and African-American Newark, New Jersey native became a social media sensation, quite literally, overnight.
“It was like something in a movie, to be honest,” Nadirah says. “I posted a video to my modest 600 followers [on IG] made up of close friends and family; I went to bed and woke up seeing my video being reposted all over the place and hundreds of follow requests.” So, what was that infamous video
? “It was a skit about what it would be like if Muslim women talked to Muslim men the same way they tried to talk to us. That was the first to go viral and, alhamdulillah, my audience has continued to grow since then.”
Nadirah didn’t always see herself as funny until she was a young teen, though her family members kept telling her she was funny since childhood.
“In seventh grade I started at a new school, and when I would say things [that] my classmates and teachers alike would end up laughing so hard [at]. At first I thought nothing of it, but as time progressed I began to think, wow, am I actually good at this?
Still, Nadirah never planned to have a career in comedy or thousands of fans. Now, with more than 80,000 Instagram followers, she continues to make people laugh while humorizing topics like marriage, friendship, masjid etiquette and urban life.
With her motto being “Nobody else wants to talk about it, so I have to talk about it,” Nadirah also uses her platform to speak about and bring attention to significant issues in the Muslim community. Domestic abuse, racism and oppression are just a few of the serious topics she discusses, opening the door to important conversations and encouraging people to examine themselves within.
“My goals for my comedy are to make my people laugh, bring them genuine joy, make them think and tell them the truth,” she says. “I want to be remembered as someone who spoke honestly and gave all that she could.”
Nadirah P. recently on Eid ul Fitr; image source: @nadirah.p
As a Black and visibly Muslim woman living in the United States, Nadirah has experienced oppression in many forms, including racism, colorism, misogyny and Islamophobia. She has also faced discrimination and inequity within the field of comedy, where Muslim women are a rarity.
“I have been offered unfair pay (for opportunities that non-Black or non-Muslim counterparts are offered triple.) I’ve been asked to perform behind a screen because ‘Muslim women shouldn't perform in front of men.’ I’ve had people wanting to use me as the token Black Muslim woman in an effort to appear diverse,” she says.
“I’ve been sexually harassed by event organizers and ‘fans.’ And, I’ve also been invited to perform but then later turned away when it was discovered I only do clean comedy. ([When event organizers] wanted a visibly Muslim woman who ‘goes against the norm.’)”
However, Nadirah is not about to let these negative experiences stop her. Overcoming any obstacles she encounters, she continues to persevere and inspire. There is still much this bold, young queen wants to achieve.
“My goal for my life is to completely exhaust my gifts and my resources. I want to return to Allah (S) having given everything He intended for me to give.”
Nadirah is currently working on creating new and exciting content for her fans. “I started my YouTube
, so def check out my channel. There's so much fun content on there that I'm really enjoying making.” Nadirah is doing this full time now, using her comedy to bring attention to various issues.
In addition to memes, skits and travel vlogs, Nadirah uploads the occasional movie or show reaction and clothing hauls showcasing her latest hijabi-friendly finds.
She describes her hijab style as plain but fabulous. “I love a good georgette with a beautiful print I can match with multiple outfits or a bold color. Shape wise – square or rectangle – I love them both.”
When she’s not creating, Nadirah enjoys reading, spending time with friends, listening to music and eating. “I also like to be intentional about creating my own joy, establishing joy for my people, and more than anything else, giving myself permission to REST.”
Ayah A. is a writer and content creator from Philadelphia who has authored five best-selling books. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's in early childhood education, she spends her days working as a childcare director and her evenings writing about travel and the African-American and Muslim narratives.