Earlier this year, Pharell Williams asked for people all across the globe to upload videos and photos in honor of his hit single “Happy.” And, that’s how the “Happy” film created by six Iranian dancers was born.
The video stars Rayhaneh Taravati, a photographer and artist, Neda and four other Iranian mean and women. It features all six of them having fun while dancing on Tehran rooftops. None of the women are wearing the Islamic dress, hejab, which is required in Iran. That in and of itself, is a state crime.
Within a six hours of the video going viral on YouTube on Sunday, May 18, armed police raided Taravati’s home. They destroyed his photographs, art, and everything else in their path, and arrested the entire group. While in custody, the women said authorities forced them to strip naked for female officers, and do squats.
Three days later, the group of “Happy Iranian Six” was released from prison. According to Siavash Taravati, this came after the families were forced to post bails.
The video above is an Iranian TV report of reporters interviewing the “Happy Iranian Six” about how and why the video came about. Some say they never expected it to be published. However, one admits that he was hoping to become famous.
Even the President of Iran showed his support of the “Happy Iranian Six” on Twitter, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement on Twitter in response to the incident:
#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behavior caused by joy.
The bottom line is that no matter what country you live in, no one can steal your joy. This is evident, even in Iran, the current home of numerous other versions of “Happy” videos uploaded since the arrests.