In March 2017, Mona Haydar posted a music video to YouTube. She rapped “So even if you hate it
I still wrap my hijab/Wrap my hijab/Wrap my hijab/wrap my hijab” while eight months pregnant in an intimate, Lemonade-esque video clapping back against Islamophobia and the backward-feminist notions that a hijab is oppressive, alongside a diverse chorus of Muslim women dancing, grooving, and expressing anger and joy together. It’s an exuberant intersectional feminist anthem.
In less than a month, Haydar’s powerful music video, “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab),” has skyrocketed to nearly a million views on YouTube. Since then, life has changed drastically for the Syrian American activist and artist, who has become a voice for Muslim women who want to wear their hijab proudly and without judgment.
So who is this hijab-wearing rapper?
Mona Haydar Is a Syrian, American, Muslim, Woman, Mother, Chaplain, Activist… and Rapper.
With a slick, barbed flow; a Masters in Christian Ethics focusing on Empire, Colonization, White Supremacy, and Ecology; 13 years under her belt as a performance poet and two children, Mona is a force to be reckoned with. Her presence in the music world is a radical act in itself — when so few Muslims, let alone Muslim women and Hijab-wearing Muslim women can be found on Spotify, on-stage or on-screen — but she’s also explicit and unapologetic about her politics in her music.
Each of her songs tackles issues of power, race, and gender, with political nuance, poetic lyricism and indefatigable attitude. While her music is explicitly political, it’s also tightly crafted and impeccably catchy, mixing Arab pop and folk sounds with hip-hop and pop beats, drawing from both iconic Arab performers as well as diverse American artists like Princess Nokia, J. Cole, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, and Thelonious Monk.
Listen to some of her best work so far.