The struggle for gender equity remains a very hot topic. Indeed, it is near impossible for there to be a critical discussion about gender without emotions rising especially if this discussion involves members of both genders. But why is this? I do not know precisely. And that—the fight for equity— is not why I am writing this piece as I’m very conscious of the rising temperatures in the society around the subject and the need for adequate preparedness before embarking on the subject. Since I am not adequately dressed for the murky waters, I will review a song instead. Yes, this music video looks at the question of gender and it comes with a very strong message: “Poverty is Sexist” and the song calls for a unity among women from across continents to come together in order to overcome the hurdles in the path towards a poverty-free world.
The video I am writing about is called Strong Girl by Godfather Productions and was created as a campaign song against the inequalities of gender that continue to hold women back from realizing their full potential. This video features leading artists from across the African continent namely: Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), Arielle T (Gabon), Gabriella (Mozambique), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), WAJE (Nigeria), Selmor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), Yemi Alade (Nigeria) and South African rapper, Blessing.
The message in the song is clear and to the point: women should stand up for themselves, come together and be strong enough in order to rise above the glass-ceilings and realize their full potential. In the song, the strength that women possess is found deep within them and it calls upon them to realize that they are strong girls who can put their lives together, overcome the challenges thrust upon them and even rule the world.
“Anywhere you are, let them know that you are a strong girl” is a line that seems to echo throughout the song.
The campaign song was signed and supported by other leading women in various careers who endorsed the campaign and put their weight behind the song such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka (a leading songstres), Genevieve Nnaji (multi-award winning actress), Malala Yousafzai(youngest ever receiver of the Nobel Peace and activist for education especially for girls), Joyce Banda (Malawi’s first female president), Winnie Mandela(Activist, politician and former leader of the African National Congress Women’s League), Michelle Obama (American Lawyer, writer and the incumbent First Lady) and Oprah Winfrey (Actress, author and CEO of Harpo Productions) among many other leading women in various fields across the continents.
“In whose steps I follow; in whose steps you follow…” says a line in the song.
This idea stresses the importance of role-modelling among women as a way of moving each other up.
Also, this mention of women who have made it in various careers is a highlight for the younger women about the distance that they can go if they put their minds to it and perform well in their academics as well as pursue their dreams relentlessly. Indeed, the mention of these names proves the point that despite the hardships that would have been a convenient excuse for these women, they still firmly pursued their dreams and not even the sky could be a limit to them. The younger generation of women is therefore called upon to not trade their dreams, goals, passions and potentials for the limiting factors that surround them.
The song lists, through the placards that women carry in the video, some of the retrogressive practices that continue to make women poor such as Female Genital Mutilation, early marriages, lack of access to health-care for women, land ownership and an equal chance for both boys and girls to access education. While it is true that the world has made a major stride in the betterment of lives for women, poor women in poor countries still have a raw deal and this is part of the soul of this campaign.
The song further encourages togetherness among the womenfolk from across the continent as well as the other continents as a means of putting energy together and fighting because through this, we can be able to uplift every woman in the world regardless of their circumstance and through this, the entire world will be better for women.
The core of the song is presented in nine different African languages perhaps to minister to the hearts of the people as the late Nobel Laureate and South African first leader said, “If you speak to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. But if you speak to a man in his own language, that goes to his heart.” The use of local languages also plays the role of underlining cultural identities as well as underlining the fact that the problems that need to be overcome by women in Africa and across the continent are a shared problem across cultures and continents and only by coming together can we beat the problem of inequality.
The ONE Campaign is an international non-partisan, non-profit, advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases especially in Africa by raising awareness among the public and pressuring political leaders to act along these lines. The organization was formed in 2004 and you can read more about it on their website.
The Strong Girl music video is available on YouTube.
Here are some of the reasons you should watch this video today if you have not:
It has such an awesome beat you will dance without noticing.
You will see so many women together at the same time and just seeing this will give you an idea of the strength that can be harnessed through their working together.
The song is very easy to learn and before you know it, you will be singing along. Maybe this is childish but I think it adds to the fun of listening and watching the music video.
When you watch this music video, you will get the information right to your heart and that way, you will be enlisted in the campaign for a fairer world for both men and women.
This is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere where all music videos seem to be teaching our young girls how to look attractive or how to dress as skimpily as possible and still get away with it – I’m not mentioning the strange dance steps that I sometimes see on TV when my remote wanders. This is a good song to store in your 10 year-old niece’s tablet and have her begin to internalize the message about her strength and ability to conquer her fears early enough.
I have a persistent thirst to know things and that has pushed me to read a lot of books and ask questions including stopping strangers on the road to ask them questions about the inspiration behind their hairstyles… Apart from the madness, I am generally a very bubbly, reasonable and energetic person.