Iranian Protest Song ‘Baraye’ Wins Grammy as Iran’s Supreme Leader Announces Amnesty For Jailed Activists Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands

Iranian pop singer-songwriter Shervin Hajipour won his first Grammy Award for Best Song for Social Change on Sunday for his song “Bare,” which has become the unofficial anthem of the wave of protests that have erupted since the death of Mehsa Amini. .

“Evil” was posted by Hajipour on Instagram in September after Amini was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing a loose headscarf. The song, which garnered more than 40 million views in 48 hours on Hajipour’s Instagram account, won the Grammy just as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday reportedly issued an amnesty for “tens of thousands” or Ordered reduction of prison sentences. Among those detained during anti-government protests across the country, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

Hajipour, 25, was arrested in Iran shortly after “Bay” went viral. He is currently out on bail awaiting trial on charges that carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a ban on leaving the country. Thus, he was unable to attend the Grammys.

During the ceremony, the newly introduced Grammy for Best Song for Social Change was presented by US First Lady Jill Biden, who said “a song can unite, inspire and ultimately change the world.” He added that “Baare” is a “powerful and poetic cry for freedom and women’s rights” that resonates around the world.

After the award was announced, Hajipour, until recently a relatively obscure pop singer who reached the final round of an Iranian talent show similar to “American Idol,” simply posted “We won” on his Instagram.

An online video showed Hajipour watching the ceremony on TV in a darkened room surrounded by friends who cheered and hugged him as he wiped away tears after the announcement.

The lyrics to “Braye” are taken entirely from messages Iranians have posted online about the cause of the protests: each word begins with brahe, which means “for . . .” in Persian. or is “because of…” In the song, Hajipour sings lyrics such as “to dance in the streets, to kiss loved ones” and “for women, for life, for freedom”, which the crowd often chanted during the protests that followed Amini’s death. are planted

There was no immediate reaction from Iran’s state media or government officials to Hajipour’s Grammy win. According to human rights activists in Iran, the now popular Iranian singer is among more than 19,600 people who have been arrested during the protests. At least 527 people have been killed.

Activists have dismissed the amnesty announced by the Iranian government on Sunday as mere propaganda.

“Khomeini’s hypocritical apology changes nothing,” Mahmoud Amiri-Moghdadam, founder of the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights, said on Twitter. “Not only should all protesters be released unconditionally, but it is also a public right that those who ordered the bloody repression and their agents be held accountable.”

As mentioned earlier. Variety, the newly introduced Grammy honors are “curated by a Blue Ribbon Committee” of music experts who decide which songs qualify and win. According to the Recording Academy, of the 115,000 submissions they received, 95,000 were for “About”.

“About” has been covered by international artists including Coldplay, Jon Bates and German electronic artist Jan Blomqvist in solidarity with the Iranian protests.

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