American pop star Selena Gomez took to Instagram to hail the spirit of five young Iranian women, who went viral earlier this month while dancing without headscarves to the song ‘Calm Down’ sung by Nigerian Afrobeats singer and rapper Rema. Gomez shared a reel of the viral video posted on the Meta-owned social media platform, calling the group of girls inspiring for defying the Islamic Republic, where a massive protest over dress code for women broke out last year.
“To these young women and all the women of Iran who continue to be courageous, demanding fundamental changes, please know your strength is inspiring,” the singer wrote in her Instagram story.
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Often seen celebrating ‘women power’ in public interviews, Gomez’s appreciation came days after Nigerian rapper Rema retweeted a video of the dance shared by a local Iranian media on Twitter Tuesday, saying he was inspired by the act. “To all the beautiful women who are fighting for a better world, I’m inspired by you, I sing for you and I dream with you”.
The video was shot in Iran’s capital city Tehran’s Ekbatan neighborhood. Days after it went viral around International Women’s Day on March 8, another video had also surfaced, featuring four women with fully covered heads, stepping forward one by one to express regret over the incident, which had also sparked fears about their safety, news agency AFP reported. In Iran, it’s illegal for women to dance in public as well as not wear the headscarf and artists can be charged with acts of ‘immorality’ for showing defiance to the Islamic laws.
The 2022 song ‘Calm Down’ is a global hit and viral on short video sharing platforms after Rema issued a remix with superstar Selena Gomez.
The buzz around the video was triggered as Iran was in international news for witnessing widespread demonstrations since September last year following the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini, who allegedly died in police custody after being held by ‘morality police’ for dressing up ‘inappropriately’. Following months of undeterred confrontations between demonstrators and security forces, the country’s morality police (Guidance Patrol) established to ‘spread the culture of modesty and hijab’ was reportedly abolished in December, news agency AFP said.