Mona Haydar via ELLE
In March 2017, Muslim Syrian-American rapper, poet, and activist Mona Haydar took the world by storm with her music video “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab),” a single that became an unapologetic anthem for many practicing Muslim women across the globe. In the video, which has now amassed over 5 million views, Haydar is seen eight months pregnant and surrounded by other Muslim women as she raps: “So even if you hate it / I still wrap my hijab/Wrap my hijab/Wrap my hijab/wrap my hijab.”
This week, Haydar made headlines once again with her newly released single "Lifted," a song that touches on the difficultly and sense of hopelessness that one is faced when battling depression and despair. Produced by Culture Shock Sound and directed by Hannah Berry George, “Lifted” features dancer Manatsu Tanaka who moves through New York City, embodying the emotions of the lyrics and visuals perfectly. The music video depicts George's artistic take on the five stages of grief, particularly – as the director explained – when losing oneself, not someone else.
Haydar recently announced a new EP titled “Barbarican,” which has a selection of songs the artist considers fun and intense, covering a range of serious topics in a way that attempts to be light.
The lyrics of “Lifted” were inspired by Haydar’s own experience with postpartum depression. In a recent post on Instagram, the activist, poet, and 30-year-old mom of two from Michigan wrote:
“We’ve all been to that place where we feel like no one understands - like even if they tried, they just couldn’t. Because you’re too alone and you’re not enough or you’re too much. I know that place. Intimately. We’re so much more connected than we are dislocated. Spacetime is a trickster but if we can just see past him we would see that we are completely interconnected - wholly and holy situated at the center of wholeness and connection. This song is for anyone who’s ever felt alone. I see you. I feel you. Do you see you? Do you feel you?”