Billboard critics named Mona Haydar’s debut song, Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab) one of 2017’s top protest songs and then later named it one of the 25 top feminist anthems of all time. Mona is a multidisciplinary artist, rapper and culture creator. Growing up in Flint, Michigan as a Syrian, American, Mona developed her sound which is deeply rooted in her intersectional identity and sensibilities.
Mona Haydar is a rapper, poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover and a tireless God-enthusiast. She practices a life of sacred activism, poetry, contemplation and advocacy for living gently upon the Earth. She plays concerts, teaches classes, gives lectures, leads retreats and workshops, does readings and so much more.
She grew up in Flint, Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan and has since lived in Damascus where she studied Arabic and Islamic spirituality then went on to live in the mountains of Northern New Mexico at Lama Foundation and then in the Redwood forest of Northern California. Mona completed her Masters in Christian Ethics at Union Theological Theological Seminary in New York City in 2018 where she studied with the luminary founder of Black Liberation Theology, Rev. Dr. James Cone. She chose Union after also being accepted to Harvard and others simply to be able to study with Dr. Cone, one of the greatest voices against white supremacy and racism in recent history. Mona is dedicated to a life of anti-racism in theory and in practice. She works towards a more equitable and just world within her own family and through her work as an artist.
After leaving New York City upon the completion of her Masters degree- Mona and Sebastian and their two sons, Safi and Rumi lived in Marrakech, Morocco. They left Morocco in 2019 and have since settled into a quiet life back across the ocean in northern New Mexico where they happily tend their garden (Sebastian is a farmer), eat apricots and plums and play with their two cats while Mona speaks, performs, writes and creates.
Poetry and Music:
Mona started writing poetry as soon as she was old enough to write. One of her first poems in a kindergarten journal went: “I am mood. I am dude. I am Mona.” Mona transitioned from writing and performing her poetry to rap in 2015. Her single “Hijabi” was a ground breaking debut with millions of views which featured Mona, 8 months pregnant with her second child, surrounded by an intersectional group of dynamic women as Mona sang “all around the world love women every shading” calling out racism, colorism and tribalism. Mona’s second single, Dog takes on violence against women with lyrics which call out men in positions of religious authority who use their power to prey on young (and old) people.
Her EP, Barbarican was met with great reviews upon its release in 2018. The lead single, Lifted is a visual glory telling the story of what it is to lose and then find yourself. The song was written at a time when Mona was suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of her second child. The EP was named after the emerging identity of people waking up to the colonial inversion of realities where “savagery” and “barbarism” are actually badges of honor in light of the history of the evil inhumanity of “western” civilization.
She and her work have been featured on Marie Claire, Glamour, BBC, CNN, BuzzFeed, AJ+, PRI, NPR, Mic, Psychology Today, Refinery 29, Milk, The Huffington Post, Ms Magazine, Fusion/Splinter and many others.
Ask A Muslim: Mona and her husband, Sebastian set up a stand in Cambridge, Massachusetts with signs that read ‘Talk to a Muslim’ ‘free coffee and donuts’ ‘free conversation’ and ‘Ask a Muslim’ encouraging open and loving dialogue which garnered the attention of NPR, People Magazine, Al Jazeera, AJ+, The Boston Globe among other media outlets.