The anti-hijab protests in Iran are in full swing and now even non-Iranian icons are resorting to symbolic gestures to support the cause. The latest example comes from Turkey where singer Melek Mosso cut off her hair on stage in solidarity with the Iranian women.
The unrest in Iran began in the aftermath of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s custodial killing by the country’s morality police for not wearing the hijab properly. Since then, women have been removing their own headscarves and burning them in protest.
Hair has become a recurring theme of the protests, given how the hijab covers the hair. Letting go off the hijab is being interpreted as a proclamation of freedom. Mosso’s gesture comes just a day after Iranian visual artist Bahador Hadizadeh animated Tehran’s Azadi Tower with black air blowing in the wind.
Essentially a jazz vocalist, the 33-year-old Mosso also plays the Western concert flute. As for using her influence to make socio-political statements, Mosso is no stranger to controversy.
Back in 2020, Mosso openly criticised the release of police sergeant-turned-rape convict Musa Orhan, following which she was taken off stage.
To quote her subsequent statement,
More recently in May 2022, Mosso was banned from appearing and performing at the Isparta International Gul Festival in Turkey. The reason lay in criticism to previous concert incidents when she openly asked her female fans to open up, speak up, and dress however they wished to.
Local conservative elements such as New Welfare Party member Mehmet Kaya pressured Isparta Municipality to strike her name off the lineup, branding her a someone who has a reputation for “attacking our culture, beliefs, and mortality”.
With today’s incident, Mosso is bound to draw flak from the pro-Ayatollah factions from both Turkey and Iran but given her track record, it seems like she will be ready with a fiery response like always.
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