Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour's Grammy Award for a song he produced last year in honor of Iran's peaceful protest movement against Islamist rule has prompted an outpouring of positive reactions from Iranian social media users.
U.S. first lady Jill Biden announced Hajipour's win of the U.S. Recording Academy's first-ever Song for Social Change Special Merit Award at Sunday's annual ceremony in Los Angeles.
Hajipour, who is based in Iran, produced the award-winning song "Baraye" in September with lyrics drawn from social media posts in which other Iranians stated what they were protesting "for" and "because of."
The song, which he posted on his Instagram account, became an instant hit and a protest anthem, garnering 40 million views in its first 48 hours. But it also led to his arrest by Iranian security forces on September 29. He was released on bail on October 4 but still faces charges of spreading anti-government "propaganda" and "instigating violence." He also has been barred from leaving the country, according to Iran's Human Rights Activist News Agency.
Social media reactions to Hajipour's Grammy were overwhelmingly positive, as observed by VOA Persian.
The singer was seen reacting to his win early Monday morning Iran time in an Instagram video posted by his friend Amirparsa Neshat.
The video showed Hajipour with several other people in the living room of a home inside Iran, watching a TV screen showing the U.S. first lady announcing his award. The people in the room erupted in cheers and embraced the singer, who appeared to wipe away tears.
Neshat also posted a video of himself hours later saying, "Wow, I cannot believe it. We didn't sleep from last night. It was worth it. It was a great feeling. I hope when you are waking in the morning, you get the good news instead of [execution] news!"
Hajipour's own response to the award was a simple "We won" message posted to his Instagram account along with a black-and-white photo of himself.
Some Iranians loyal to the country's ruling Islamist clerics tried to discredit Hajipour's award, posting social media messages calling it a political move.
But in a sign of how much the song resonated within Iran, an Iranian activist posted an audio clip Monday on Twitter with a recording of what he said was a group of prisoners in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary singing "Baraye" in a phone call made from the prison sometime in the last few months.
The activist who posted the video, Shahriyar Shams, was recently freed from prison after being jailed for his involvement in the protests that began in September.
In the recording, the voices singing the song are interrupted several times by a recording that appears to be a typical automated announcement of a phone call being made from the prison to someone on the outside.