Mon | Dec 11, 2023

Iran singer who faces prison wins Grammy for protest anthem

Published:Monday | February 6, 2023 | 8:39 PM
First lady Jill Biden accepts the award for best song for social change on behalf of Shervin Hajipour for "Baraye" at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 5, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian singer who faces possible prison time for his song that become an anthem to the ongoing protests shaking the Islamic Republic wept early Monday after seeing he'd won a Grammy.

Shervin Hajipour appeared stunned after hearing Jill Biden, the wife of US President Joe Biden, announced he'd won the Grammy's new song for social change special merit award for “Baraye.”

An online video showed Hajipour in a darkened room, wiping tears away after the announcement.

Hajipour's song “Baraye,” or “For” in English, begins with: “For dancing in the streets,” “for the fear we feel when we kiss.”

The lyrics list reasons young Iranians have posted on Twitter and why they had protested against Iran's ruling theocracy.

It ends with the widely chanted slogan that has become synonymous with the protests since the September death of Iranian-Kurdish woman Masha Amini: “For women, life, freedom.”

Released on his Instagram page, the song quickly went viral.

Hajipour then was arrested and held for several days before being released on bail in October.

The 25-year-old singer faces charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “instigating the violence,” according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been monitoring the monthslong protests.

The charges Hajipour faces can carry as much as six years in prison all together.

The singer is also banned from leaving Iran.

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