Mona Haydar: How Suicide Helped Start Her Rap Career

Mona Haydar has taken conscious rap and flipped it on its head. She’s a fierce activist who channels that passion into songs that speak of acceptance and cultural issues, solidifying her as a unyielding force of compassion and community.

She unapologetically shares her opinions and is outspoken on topics that hold personal meaning to her. Mona’s first three songs – “Hijabi,” “Dog,” and “Barbarian” – tackled issues including white supremacy, racism, colorism, violence against women, and the beauty industry’s complex inducing culture.

Mona is a musician, poet, activist, public speaker, wife, mother, who recently got her Master’s in Christian Ethics and Theology at Union Theological Seminary.

Originally from Flint, MI, the Syrian-American rapper is a first generation American now residing in Harlem, NY with her husband and two sons.

She first became known for her and her husband’s “Ask A Muslim” booth in Cambridge, where she offered people an opportunity for conversation (with coffee and donuts).

With Mona’s new song, “Suicide Doors,” she is opening up the important and deeply personal conversation of suicide and mental health.

Suicide around the world is at an all time high and has touched her life in myriad of ways – seeing the issue within the Muslim community and in her own experience of losing her best friend.

“As an artist, I felt like I could use my music to speak on this topic in a way that didn’t glorify suicide but also didn’t vilify my friend.” – Mona Haydar

Mona teamed up with singer, songwriter, and activist Drea d’Nur who lent her soulful vocals to the emotionally charged chorus and appears in the powerful video.

“After losing one of my best friends to suicide, I felt like I had a choice to either make the same decision as her or to actually start living. That was when I radically changed my life- it’s one of the reasons I’m now doing music,” Mona said. “‘Suicide Doors’ is a tribute to my friend as well as one of the ways I’m mourning and grieving her. ‘Suicide Doors’ touches on the insecurities and anxieties so many of us struggle with. It also highlights the toxic culture which upholds impossible standards that no one can actually live up to in a healthy way. It’s a meta analysis on the shadow side of things that no one wants to talk about so here I am talking about it. In my work as a chaplain, and through my music I hope to share some of the love which makes life worth living.”