Mondays I feature artist who create change in the world and our hearts with their music. This week I feature Mona Haydar.
Mona Haydar is a Syrian American poet, rapper, activist, and scholar who grew up in Flint, Michigan and currently resides in Harlem. Her music is catchy, beautiful, and empowering. Her 2017 debut "Hijabi (Wrap my Hijab)" was named by BIllboard as one of their "Top 25 Feminist Anthems."
I absolutely love the music videos for Haydar's music- the visuals are stunning and breathtakingly inclusive. She challenges the dominant culture's view of what it means to be an Muslim woman, daring to be a brilliant (in all senses of the word) multi-dimensional being--proud and unapologetic.
In "Barbarian" she tears down the beauty double-standard that both values the white eurocentric ideal and exoticizes black, middle-eastern, and asian features--in white women. Calling out appropriation in the beauty industry. Stressing resistance via self-love.
One of the things I really love about Haydar's music is that she embraces her whole self, and doesn't shy away from showing herself as devout or as a mother. As women we are so often expected to package ourselves for consumption--deconstructing ourselves into "acceptable" bites. You can be devout and inclusive, a mother and an activist.
Haydar's music has been in heavy rotation at my place for a few months now, so much so that my 3 year old often hums the hook from "Dog," and I couldn't be more proud.
I'll leave you with a line from "Barbarian":
"Women our future is winnable--we gotta be indivisible."
[NOTE: I have not included Mona Haydar's single "Suicide Doors ft. Drea D'Nur" as it hits a little close to home for me. It is brilliant and moving, linked here.]