Syrian-American mom breaking more than the internet with ‘Hijabi’ rap video

By Ciara Rouege

The internet has been hypnotized by the catchy rap lyrics of an eight-month pregnant (at the time), Syrian-American poet who is helping to make the hijab the most feminine and empowering headdress on the planet.

Mona Haydar doesn’t even have a mix tape, but girl! She’s already slayin’ it with her first-ever rap video “Hijabi,” which has gone viral since its release May 27. Haydar’s video has also caught the attention of several major outlets including Mic, BBC, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post and others.

The hijab is often stereotyped as a tool of oppression and terrorism. But the video offers some much needed nourishment for ill-fed minds, stylishly showing its widespread use across different cultures and dispelling misconceptions.

“Given our current administration’s insistence on demonizing and maligning the bodies of women and Muslims, among others, I wanted to get this song out as soon as possible,” Haydar told HuffPost. “I hoped that a pregnant woman who is obviously Muslim [and] creating art and speaking truth would inspire people and offer some levity, joy and hope.”

Throughout the video Haydar is surrounded by beautiful women wearing their scarves and cloths in different styles: turbans, buns, knots, braids, tichels and of course the traditional hijab.

Despite being a God-fearing Christian woman, the song is worth celebrating to me personally for its inclusion of all hijab-wearing women as the head wrap has a significant presence in black fashion and culture.

Of course, I don’t say “fashion” to downplay the hijab’s religious significance. But you don’t have to be Muslim to understand the prejudice wearing a harmless head dress or style — dreadlocks, braids, afro, etc. — can attract.

At a time when fear and ignorance has propelled anti-Muslim sentiment across the U.S, “Hibaji” says holdup! And flips the bird at advocates of hate and judgment like a gangster.

And yes, in case you didn’t notice, “Muslim” is a person of a widely-practiced faith not an ethnic group. The video makes an distinguishable effort at including women of all shades in the message.

Ya’ll, peep this awesome bridge:

You’re just jealous of my sisters
These Mipsters, These hippies
These Prissies, These Sufis
These Dreddies, These Sunnis
These Shii’s, Yemenis
Somalis, Libnanis, Pakistanis
These Soories, Sudanis
Iraqis, Punjabies
Afghanis, Yazeedis
Khaleejis, Indonesians
Egyptians, Canadians
Algerians, Nigerians
Americans, Libyans
Tunisians, Palestinians
Hidden beyond the Mekong in laos
Senegalese and Burkina faso

Haydar was raised in Flint, Michigan and moved to Damascus later in life to study Arabic and Islamic spiritually before heading back to the States to enjoy life with her husband and son. She currently lives in New York.

And she’s cool as all get out!

Haydar is no stranger to the lyrical genius of rap artists like Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest and Rakim — artists who openly practice Islam.

As the song continues to make its runs around the digital community, the feedback seems to be mostly positive.

I can’t wait for Haydar to bless us with a new video if it’s her goal to make another one.

In the meantime, keep swaggin’ your hijabis, ladies!

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