Mona Haydar
Mona Haydar
Background information
Born (1988-05-18) 18 May 1988 (age 32)
United States
  • Rapper
  • poet
  • activist
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2017 - present
Associated acts
Website Official website

Mona Haydar (born 18 May 1988) is an American 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 teaches classes, gives lectures, leads retreats and workshops, does readings and performs her work. 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. She currently lives in Harlem, NY where she is pursuing her MA in Christian Ethics.

Early life and education

Haydar was raised, along with her seven siblings, in Flint, Michigan. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Damascus, Syria, in 1971.

At 14 years old, Haydar began performing spoken word poetry in Flint at open mics and poetry shows downtown. There she developed her act and was taught to use poetry as a way to tell stories she felt were largely ignored by the mainstream media. Haydar was brought in and mentored by black women who taught her to use her voice as a way to oppose white supremacy and Western culture. One such mentor was Dr. Traci Currie, a professor at the University of Michigan - Flint, when Haydar attended.

In 2011, after graduating from the University of Michigan - Flint, Haydar left the US and studied at Jami' Abu-Noor in Damascus, Syria. When the Syrian conflict erupted, Haydar's studies in Islamic spirituality were cut short and she moved back to Flint.

Haydar has a master's degree in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary.

In 2012, Haydar lost a close friend to suicide and this caused her to question her own reasons for living and changed her life. She uprooted from her life in Flint where she had been working as a substitute teacher and moved off grid to an inter-spiritual community and retreat center called the Lama Foundation. There she met her partner. They married and had their first child there.


Poetry and Music

Mona started writing her 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 groundbreaking debut with millions of views which featured Mona, 8 months pregnant with her second son, surrounded by an intersectional group of dynamic women as Mona sang “all around the world love women every shading” calling out racism and colourism. 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.

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.

In 2016 Mona was featured in a campaign by Microsoft called #SpreadHarmony which featured people working towards a more beautiful world, which was covered by the New York Times.

Mediterraneanvision Song Contest

Mona was chosen to represent Syria at the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest 1 in Athens, Greece with her song "Hijabi". She placed 7th with 100 points.

She was later chosen to represent Syria at the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest 3 in Barcelona, Spain with her song "Dog" featuring Jackie Cruz. She placed 17th with 97 points.

She was chosen to represent Syria for a third time at the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest 5 in Tirana, Albania with her song "Barbarian". She placed 2nd with 305 points, 26 points behind winning country Kosovo.

She was chosen to represent Syria once again at the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest 6 in Pristina, Kosovo with her song "Suicide Doors" featuring Drea d'Nur. She placed 20th with 70 points.

Mona later co-hosted the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest 10 in Damascus, Syria.


Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Debut entry
Syria in the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Maher Zain
with "One Day"
Preceded by
Maher Zain
with "One Day"
Syria in the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest
(with Jackie Cruz)

Succeeded by
with "One Blood"
Preceded by
with "One Blood"
Syria in the Mediterraneanvision Song Contest
(with Drea d'Nur in #6)

#5, #6
Succeeded by
with "Human Nature"
Preceded by
Flag of Lebanon Nelly Makdessy, Maya Diab and Wissam Sabbagh
Mediterraneanvision Song Contest presenter
(with Dania Hallak)

Succeeded by
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