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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

WATCH: Hijabi-American rapper Mona Haydar's must-see music video 

Her new track Dog features actress and musician Jackie Cruz on the hook

A still from Syrian-American Mona Haydar's new music video, which also features Jackie Cruz. Courtesy YouTube
A still from Syrian-American Mona Haydar's new music video, which also features Jackie Cruz. Courtesy YouTube

“Sheikhs on the DL / Sheikhs in my DM / Begging me to shake it on my cam in the PM.”

That’s the opening verse of the new rap track titled Dog by Syrian-American musician Mona Haydar. It’s the poet-turned rapper’s second time rapping on camera, but you wouldn’t be able to tell while watching the video. Haydar comes across as a seasoned performer. With elaborate, doe-eyed expressions à la Nicki Minaj, and a ferocity akin to Beyonce's, the Arab artist's tongue-in-cheek vocals throw shade at sleazy men while challenging the stereotype of the “oppressed” Muslim woman.

Lyrics also tackle Islamophobia, (“no-fly list / coast to coast”) and the two-faced mentalities of some extremists (“say my voice is Haram / cuz you getting turned on”).

Perhaps the most surprising part of the song however, is the fact that Jackie Cruz, who plays Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on Orange is the New Black, sings the hook. The two make an unexpected but fierce, assertive and energetic duo.

“For people who look like me, it’s just kind of a scary world,” says Haydar in a behind-the-scenes video for Dog. “I’ve been given a bit of a platform, and I want to use it to pull my sisters up, any way I can.”