By all accounts, Mona Haydar’s first attempt at music was a smashing success. Last year, her first music video Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab) garnered over a million views on YouTube. “I definitely didn’t expect the video to do what it has,” says Ms. Haydar who, during the time of the video, was eight months pregnant. Besides being a new mother, she is currently getting a master degree in theology and is still working on her music.
Ms. Haydar says the inspiration for the song came about when she was boarding an airline flight. “Muslims deal with this thing of you’re suspect just because you’re a Muslim—so I walked on to the airplane, and it’s like you’re a spectacle. Everyone just has to stare. I don’t know if I’m projecting that onto people, but I’ve heard people say before, ‘Don’t blow up the airplane!’ They think that’s so funny, but it’s deeply inappropriate and highly offensive… having had those experiences and people just staring at me as I’m walking on and imagining those thoughts running through their heads.”
The hip-hop singer says she’s excited about “normalizing the narrative” of Muslim American women and women in general. “For young Muslim girls, to see a girl that looks like her mom in a music video, who doesn’t have a stick-thin body, who isn’t wearing gobs and gobs of makeup, who is just a normal woman doing normal things in a video, [is so important]. I’m just really excited that that’s out in the world for young girls to see and feel like, ‘I can look like whatever I want and be in a music video, and nothing can stop me.’”