Rap Video About Hijabs Is a Feminist Anthem

Anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. has been surging over the past few years, with 257 hate crimes in 2015 and another rise after the election, and Muslim women in particular are targeted for wearing hijabs. Even within the feminist movement, some women have criticized hijabs as an oppressive custom. But women of any religion can be feminists and deserve to be viewed as equals, and Mona Haydar's rap song "Hijabi" is a testament to that.

In a viral video directed and produced by Tunde Olaniran, Haydar raps about her personal decision to wear a hijab as a feminist, with lyrics like "Make a feminist planet / Women haters get banished / Covered up or not, don’t ever take us for granted." The catchy hook is a call for solidarity among women:

"All around the world
Love women every shading
be so liberated
All around the world
Love women every shading
power run deep
So even if you hate it
I still wrap my hijab."

Haydar, a Syrian-American poet who lives in Flint, Michigan, released the video last week in honor of Muslim Women's Day, an occasion to celebrate and debunk stereotypes about Muslim women. It was also timely in the wake of Trump's travel ban and negative statements about Muslims.

Haydar also happens to be eight months pregnant during the performance. Women who watched it have told her "how inspired they are by the video that I didn't wait to deliver the baby and have the 'perfect body' before making the video," she told Buzzfeed. "In a lot of ways that's what the song is about. It's about tearing down the invisible structures that oppress women in ways most of us don't even realize. Hijab, pregnancy — none of it holds me back."

She was envisioning "the more beautiful world we all know is possible" when she created the song and video, she added. "In light of the current American government's agenda to demonize and malign the bodies of women, Muslims, and others, like trans people, I'm intentionally putting out this message now to help shift the narrative back to one that is positive and full of love."

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