Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour, who faces possible prison time for a song that has become an anthem to the protest movement that has swept his country for more than four months, has won a Grammy award.
Addressing the Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles, Jill Biden, the wife of US President Joe Biden, announced that Hajipour won the Grammy’s new song for social change special merit award for “Baraye,” or “For” in English.
“This song became the anthem of the Mahsa Amini protests, a powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights,” the US first lady said. “Shervin was arrested, but this song continues to resonate around the world with its powerful theme: Women, life, freedom.”
Those attending the ceremony cheered Biden’s remarks.
The 25-year-old singer wrote on Instagram, “We won.”
ما بُردیم🤍🎵— Shervin Hajipour (@HajipourShervin) February 6, 2023
Released on Hajipour’s Instagram page in the early days of the protests that erupted after the September death of a 22-old woman, Masha Amini, in the custody of morality police, “For” quickly went viral.
The lyrics list the economic, environmental, and social reasons why Iranians are taking to the streets to protest Iran’s ruling theocracy.
It ends with the slogan that has become synonymous with the protests, “For women, life, freedom.”
The singer from the northern city of Babolsar was detained for several days before being released on bail in October.
He is accused of “propaganda activity against the regime” and “inciting and instigating people to commit violent acts,” charges that can carry as much as six years in prison all together. Hajipour is also banned from leaving Iran.
The Iranian authorities have cracked down hard on the women-led protest movement, killing more than 520 people, including dozens of children, and detaining over 18,000, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
On February 5, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reportedly ordered an amnesty or reduction in prison sentences for “tens of thousands” of people detained amid the demonstrations.