Iranian anthem for Mahsa Amini protest wins Grammy under Best Song for Social Change category

First lady Jill Biden accepts the award for best song for social change on behalf of Shervin Hajipour for “Baraye” at the 65th annual Grammy Awards. AP

Los Angeles: As the women’s movement in Iran gains momentum, the official anthem of the uprising called ‘Baraye’ has won the Grammy under the Best Song for Social Change category.

The composer of the song Shervin Hajipour is currently facing persecution for writing the song for the “Women, life, freedom” movement.

Iran has been rocked by protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who was taken into custody after she allegedly wore her hijab “improperly”.

What’s Baraye about?

The song Baraye, which is ‘For’ in English, was composed in the wake of the Iran uprising and has over time become the symbol of the Women, Life, Freedom movement.

The lyrics begin with the line: ‘For dancing in the streets, for the fear we feel when we kiss’.

The song ends with the slogan jin-jiyan-azadi, Persian for Women, Life, Freedom.

Dr Deepika Saraswat, an Iranian affairs expert told Outlook, “These protests intertwine with the broader demand of ‘freedom’ in the sense of individual political and cultural rights and openness, which was also a key promise of the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the Pehlavi monarchy. The popularity of the slogan of jin-jiyan-azadi [women-life-freedom] would suggest that the current round of protests is better understood within the notion of civil rights movement.”

Who is Shervin Hajipour?

The songwriter of Baraye, Shervin Hajipour, 25, was arrested soon after he released a video of the song on his Instagram account.

He was released on bail in October and now is facing charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “instigating violence”, according to Iran-based Human Rights Activists.

First Lady Jill Biden presents award

The First Lady of US Jill Biden was invited to present the award under the Best Song for Social Change category.

While announcing the winner Jill Biden said, “The winner of this special award was selected by a Blue Ribbon Committee and ratified by the Recording Academy Board of Trustees. Tonight I am honoured to announce the first winner of the Recording Academy’s best song for Social Change to Shervin Hajipour, an Iranian singer-songwriter for his song Baraye.”

“This song became the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests. A powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights. Shervin was arrested but this song continues to resonate around the world for its powerful theme,” the First Lady added.

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