Singer Mennel Ibtissem auditioned for the French version of The Voice in 2018 with a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that went viral. She sang in English and French. She then auditioned for America’s Got Talent in 2019 with another viral but controversial audition. Her fame was not only her incredible voice but also her proud identity as a French Muslim singer wearing the hijab.
Recently, she posted a picture on Instagram that looks a bit different from her normal appearance, leading her fans to wonder what happened.
For those familiar with Ibtissem’s auditions or her music, you know that her basic identity is that she wears a hijab, or a religious head covering worn by some Muslim women. Recently, Mennel no longer wears her hijab and lets her long brown locks flow. Many fans in the comments, both in French and Arabic are asking – why? Mennel has yet to answer the question directly, but she wrote a lengthy caption thanking her fans for supporting her values and music in her most recent photo. The closest thing to an explanation of his recent change in appearance is this part:
“I will never lower myself to a level that is not mine. And I keep this smile, the one that tells you “I’m proud to be who I am and if that’s not enough, then I have nothing else to offer” I’m happy to be who I am and I share with my community, my “mennies ♥ ️” all the love I have in me. I am 100% authentic and intend to remain so. Thank you to those who appreciate my music and my person for its true values. To you, know that my story is traced in the light of my inspiration.
And my inspiration is you. It is the love, the sincerity and the kindness of those who feel connected to me, to this musical universe which encompasses our sorrows and our joys, our hopes and our glories.
One day I was told: walk straight and don’t look back. So I take one step, then two, and move forward courageously, with an open heart and a free spirit.
She stressed that social media is just a small part of life and that she appreciates the loving comments she receives, but knows that negative comments should not be taken too seriously.
She also posted a cover of John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” where she is seen without a headgear and said in the caption that she is currently working on her second album. The video garnered over 77,000 views.