In March 2017, Muslim Syrian-American rapper, poet, and activist Mona Haydar took the world by storm with an epic music video about the hijab. She hasn't stopped making waves ever since.
On Thursday, Haydar released her new single "Lifted," which sends a message of hope to all those battling depression and despair.
"This song is for anyone who's ever felt alone. I see you. I feel you," Haydar wrote on Instagram.
In the song, which is considered her fifth since her official debut, Haydar assures her listeners she is there to help "lift you out of your pain."
"We've all been to that place where we feel like no one understands - like even if they tried, they just couldn’t. Because you're too alone and you're not enough or you're too much. I know that place. Intimately. We're so much more connected than we are dislocated," she explained in an Instagram post unveiling the music video.
Produced by Culture Shock Sound, directed by Hannah Berry George, and featuring the dancer Manatsu Tanaka, the music video depicts George's artistic take on the five stages of grief.
"I think we all lose ourselves at some point in our lives, so I've created a film that's based around the five stages of grief - but when losing yourself, not someone else," the director told Nylon.
In the video, Tanaka dances through New York City, while Haydar appears in different locations, such as standing nearby a moving train and sinking herself into a bath tub.
"Each environment represents one of those emotional stages as we follow Mona on a journey from darkness to light," George explained.
Towards the end of the video, Haydar can be seen lifting herself up from the tub, in reference to finding hope amid tough times.
In the lyrics, which were inspired by her experience with postpartum depression, Haydar acknowledges the difficulty of coping with life's misfortunes and references common attempts to "numb it all" with drugs and alcohol.
"Battling internal ISIS/Tryna stay above the water/But we out here drowning," she raps.
In the chorus, she repeats, "I can lift you. I know the world seems crazy, I'll be down for you baby, I'll be right here."
She also tries to highlight the positive aspects of life, singing:
"So much hope for the world/So much worth dying for/Even more worth living for."
Watch the video here:
Who is Mona Haydar?
Haydar first grabbed international attention when her first single "Hijabi" went viral last year.
She has since released several music videos that tackle pressing issues such as Islamophobia, the patriarchy, along with mental illness.
Apart from producing stereotype-smashing music videos, Haydar has been changing the conversation regarding Islam alongside her husband Sebastian Robins, who converted to Islam in 2012 after meeting her.
"She practices a life of sacred activism, poetry, contemplation and advocacy for living gently upon the Earth. She teaches classes, gives lectures, leads retreats and workshops, does readings and performs her work," her website reads.