Palestinian-Canadian singer-songwriter Nemah Hasan's debut song 'what if i took it off for you?' has been getting a lot of attention online. Hasan — popularly known as Nemahsis — wrote the song after an enraging experience with a multi-million dollar makeup corporation.
Nemahsis — who has gained immense popularity through her fashion and beauty videos on TikTok — released the music video for her debut song on June 23 and it recently blew up. The video's description on YouTube tell us about the singer's intentions behind writing the song. It reads, "[the song] tells the story of my experience shooting a global campaign for a multi-million dollar makeup corporation and being offered no recompense for it. Their justification was that 'it's more of an opportunity for the people of your community'".
According to Complex, when the corporation refused to pay her, Nemahsis told them not to use her image. The corporation chose to ignore her message and used her image in its campaigns.
“I felt like such an idiot," she told the publication. "I was supposed to be strong and independent. I was too proud to admit what had happened. But I will not be anybody’s victim.” Nemahsis' lyrics in the song convey her frustration at being used.
The singer had announced the release of her song on social media as well, gaining the attention and appreciation of a number of popular Muslim and hijabi influencers and bloggers.
She also took to Instagram to post about the song after the EU's top court ruled that companies may ban Muslim employees from wearing a headscarf under certain conditions, such as face-to-face interactions with customers or if wearing the headscarf triggers conflict in a workplace.
The singer co-wrote the song with Canadian poet and filmmaker Mustafa Ahmed, popularly known as Mustafa the Poet.
We're glad Nemahsis has chosen to use her platform to share her experience and humanise the choice of wearing a hijab through her soulful song. Her song reverberates with many Muslim women in Europe who are especially devastated after the EU court's recent ruling. Wearing religious clothing and symbols should be a freedom granted to people of all faiths, regardless of where they live.
Industries who profit off Muslim women through fashion and beauty products should especially exercise representation that doesn't exploit or dehumanise the community. We need more than just token representation. That a major makeup brand got away with not paying someone and excused it as 'an opportunity for the people of your community'" is disgusting and we hope Nemahsis names and shames the brand soon.