For ‘We Are Lady Parts,’ Nida Manzoor wanted to show Muslim women ‘in a joyful light’

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Nida Manzoor, center, with the cast of “We Are Lady Parts.” Photo courtesy of Peacock

The new Peacock comedy series “We Are Lady Parts” follows an all-female Muslim punk rock group as they work to find their sound and their audience.  Early on, band leader Saira, played by Sarah Kameela Impey, stops the music as the group practices their song, “Ain’t No One Gonna Honour Kill My Sister But Me.” She’s convinced their sound is lacking something and they need a lead guitarist. 

That missing piece turns out to be Amina, played by Anjana Vasan. A painfully shy young woman striving to be conventional, she wanders into an audition while pursuing a cute boy. But Saira remembers her from a school talent show years earlier and knows Amina can play. 

Obsessed with marriage, Amina thinks she’s the furthest thing from punk. But, of course, she doesn’t know herself as well as she thinks. 

“We Are Lady Parts” is created by Nida Manzoor, who got her start by writing for other people’s shows, then directed some episodes of “Doctor Who” before creating her own series. 

Manzoor says the idea for the series “comes from the sense of frustration I was feeling at the kinds of representation I was seeing — Muslim women in the media being long suffering, oppressed, lacking agency.”

With her own show, Manzoor wanted to represent the kinds of Muslim women she actually knew. “I really wanted to show them in a joyful light. That’s why I was so keen to make ‘We Are Lady Parts’ as a comedy full of music and full of heart.”

Manzoor tells KCRW about working with her siblings to write punk songs, including “Bashir with the Good Beard” and “Voldemort Under My Headscarf.” 

She also explains why her writing strategy includes the occasional visit to YouTube to watch comedy clips from “This is Spinal Tap” and “Withnail and I,” but when it comes to Twitter, she stays away entirely.

Credits

Guest:

Host:

Kim Masters

Producer:

Kaitlin Parker