HOMANITY is a compilation album featuring prominent Iranian artists to raise awareness about the censorship and persecution of artists in Iran. Music, although an integral part of Iranian culture, is treated by the government of the Republic of Iran as inherently corrupting and is strictly censored and can be punishable by imprisonment and even torture.
In response, HOMANITY fights back against repressive regimes by showcasing censored art and artists that have dedicated their lives to standing up for freedom of expression and for a world where artists of every gender, color, religion, and sexual orientation can produce their music without fear.
Who We Are
HOMANITY is a product of Crowdsourcing Human Rights (CHR), a U.S. based tax-exempt non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization committed to promoting universal respect for the rights of all people. The CHR team draws upon decades of human rights program implementation and activism in the most challenging areas around the globe.
Crowdsourcing Human Rights is an independent 501(C)(3) started by and staff by the Democracy Council of California. The Democracy Council has decades of experience in human rights and freedom of expression program implementation and activism in the most challenging countries around the globe.
Censorship in Iran
Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, all music, aside from government-approved propaganda music, was banned. Female artists were silenced and could be whipped for performing in public; minority groups were restricted from singing in their native language; and rock, hip hop, and rap were made illegal.
Despite the restrictions, the world of Iranian music continued to thrive inside Iran and abroad. In the decades following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iranian contemporary artists around the globe have been using the power of music to break conventions, pierce through stereotypes, and challenge their government.
Female voices are totally erased from view, as performing in front of men who are not their immediate relatives remains a criminal offense. Families of artists are very often harassed and threatened by government officials, even as the artist remains behind bars. In places like Iran, where descent and individual voices are squashed, and people are imprisoned for even discussing social change, these artists and social heroes use music as their only weapon to fight back.
Even with the constant threat of arrest, imprisonment, and violent raids of the morality police, Iranian artists and audiences continued to make and share music. An underground world of rock, heavy metal, rap, pop, and Persian hip hop emerged from basements and makeshift studios, trapping the sound of their music to avoid suspicion of the authorities. Mixing their creativity with immense courage, artists recorded albums under anonymous names and pseudonyms, often without any financial gains.
Today, despite extreme limitations and pervasive government censorship, Iranian artists are producing high-quality music that is widely popular throughout the Middle East. Their music is unique both in sound and its socially conscious messaging. Although these messages cannot ring out over the streets of Tehran, they have inspired and engaged a new generation of activists and artists, not just in Iran, but all around the world.
“We do have “freedom of speech” in Iran but we do not have any freedom after the speech. Can you imagine in 21st century in Iran, land of literature poems and songs, they arrest people because of what they write and sing? “ -Simin Behbahani