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Spotify Launches ‘Women of Iran’ Playlist Amidst Continued Women-Led Revolution in Iran

todayJanuary 30, 2023 3

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Spotify has launched a new playlist to amplify the voices of Iranian women, who have for the last four months have led the fight towards human rights in Iran.

The playlist, titled “Women of Iran,” includes songs by iconic Iranian singers, including Googoosh, Mahasti and Hayedeh, alongside artists like Shervin Hajipour and Toomaj Salehi, who were both arrested and imprisoned after sharing music in support of the fight against the Islamic Republic’s injustices. Hajipour, who received a whopping 95,000 submissions for The Grammys’ new best song for social change award, was released following international pressure back in October.

“The Academy is deeply moved by the overwhelming volume of submissions,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr in a statement. “While we cannot predict who might win the award, we are humbled by the knowledge that the Academy is a platform for people who want to show support for the idea that music is a powerful catalyst for change.”

After his October arrest, 32-year-old rapper Salehi has remained in police custody and is at risk of receiving the death penalty, according to BBC.

As a part of the playlist launch, Spotify is utilizing their playlist clips feature, which are likened to “stories” connected to a playlist, providing a platform for Iranian musicians, comedians, designers, producers and more to speak on topics like culture, art, creative process and the importance of freedom of expression. The playlist also includes diasporic Iranian artists, including Rana Mansour, Snoh Aalegra, and Iranian-Dutch singer Sevdaliza, who has released a number of songs in support of the ongoing revolution in Iran.

Stemming from the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality police” but rooted in over 40 years of oppression, the current Iranian revolution begun in late September and has resulted in over 500 deaths officially, although some human rights groups estimate the number to be over 5,000. The number of individuals arrested spans beyond 20,000, while four known executions have taken place, with many more estimated to come.

International uproar has ensued since the start of the protests, with government officials and global stars alike speaking out on the brutal injustices taking place under the authority of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Momoa, Britney Spears and Bella Hadid are among the celebrities who have used their platforms to bring awareness to the ongoing fight, while a massive show of international solidarity led to a vote in the United Nations to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.

In Iran, kissing and hugging in public, women singing and dancing in public, among other basic acts, are illegal. Women also face discrimination in matters regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance and decisions relating to children. Members of a number of religious groups, including Baha’is are heavily persecuted in Iran, considering that Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities. These human rights violations, along with income inequality and lack of freedom of expression has brought the Iranian public to their boiling point time and time again.

While there is no end in sight, the playlist’s creator Leila Kashfi emphasizes the importance of keeping the voices of Iranians alive, writing on Instagram, “For decades, the Islamic Republic has forced Iranians to suppress the beauty of Persian culture – a culture founded thousands of years ago in music, dance, romance, & tolerance. The [Islamic Republic] targets artists because music fuels revolution.”

Check out the playlist below.

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