Watch: American-Syrian rapper Mona Haydar tackles body positivity in new music video

'Good Body' is an empowering anthem that redefines beauty standards

screenshot of Mona Haydar in this music video
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Picture this: a fragrance that instils confidence and self-love, easy as two sprays. That is the concept behind Mona Haydar's latest music video for her song, Good Body; a powerful take on body positivity.

Directed, produced and written by the 31-year-old rapper, the empowering anthem challenges traditional beauty expectations for both men and women. With unwavering vocals and fierce, Beyonce-esque expressions, the rap track is an explicit, and inclusive, reclaiming of what a “good body” is.

Lyrics address everything from weight and race (“You got a big body / A small body / A tall body, hairy body brown body”) to gender and sexuality (“Pan or non-binary”). Self-appreciation is advocated for in the second verse: “got so much gratitude for what this body does and doesn't do.”

screenshot of Mona Haydar in this music video
Mona Haydar in her music video, 'Good Body'. 

The representation of both men and women of varying backgrounds in the video fuels the song's liberating theme. Perhaps the most pleasantly surprisingpart is that plus-size model, Leah Vernon is featured, posing alongside Haydar and forming an assertive, influential female duo.

“All bodies are good bodies no matter what society has to say about them because they are ours. Period,” writes Haydar in the song's YouTube description. “No one gets to dictate what a 'good' body is to us anymore.”

But Haydar doesn't stop there. The first generation American-Syrian rapper, poet and activist also addresses the historical and colonial origins of beauty standards (using "two drops of colonial tears" as part of the fragrance's recipe). She depoliticises bodies, redefining choices to be personal rather than part of societal discourse ("Let people be what they want to be / No judgment no discussion).

And, staying true to her original tracks, Haydar doesn't shy away from bringing to the forefront her Muslim identity, while challenging the over-sexualisation of women in society (“Patriarchy smashin end of manhandlin / Reduce me to my hair or my derriere”).

Haydar has previously tackled Islamophobia (Dog), Muslim stereotypes (American) and misconceptions (Wrap my Hijab) in her tracks. Her music is impeccably catchy, a unique mix of Arab pop and English hip-hop beats. With political nuance, poetic lyricism and an indefatigable attitude, her songs continue to deconstruct issues of power, race and gender.