A pregnant Muslim rapper sounds like a cool mad lib — but turns out she’s real and is making an important statement. This was brought to the world’s attention with the release of “Hijabi,” a song by Syrian Muslim-American poet and activist Mona Haydar.
The song opens with Haydar rapping over a catchy beat (with a clear Middle Eastern influence). She immediately communicates all the things Muslim women who wear hijabs (called hijabis, hence the title of the song) have heard time and time again:
In response to these remarks, Haydar asserts, “I’m bored with your fascination.” If you’re a minority who’s ever been festishized, that line resonates.
Throughout the music video, you’ll see the University of Michigan grad proudly rubbing her belly, Beyoncé-style. The entire work is explicitly feminist and features Muslim females of different shades wearing the hijab in various styles. Even a large chunk of the bridge is Haydar listing off the diverse groups within Islam.
From this music video alone, viewers can recognize that Haydar has an important point of view, one she wants to share with the world. On top of being a mother of one (soon to be two), working on getting her second poetry collection published (along with a book on spirituality within Islam and other traditions), she is working on finishing up her Masters in Divinity. It was also her and husband Sebastian Robbins who created the Ask a Muslim project outside a library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their goal was to create an open dialogue while addressing the rampant Islamophobia present after the San Bernardino attack.
Art, in whatever form, created by Muslims is important because it’s us changing the narrative. Whether implicitly or explicitly, it involves addressing the minority extremists who exist within the religion and/or those who are so easily inclined to paint us all with the same brush. With that being said, one can see Haydar’s video as a reminder: Muslims are not a monolith.