Thursday, February 6, 2014

Music Can Change Minds and Traditions

This is a blog by Didier Awadi, a Senegalese rapper, the most visible figure of Francophone West African Hip-Hop.

He is the founding member of Positive Black Soul (PBS), under the Island Records label. Awadi’s music style is strengthened by a social consciousness and messages rooted in deep conviction.

We have a saying that music can charm a savage beast. I think so. I would add that music can change behaviors.

My name is Didier Awadi, I'm a musician and an activist. I consider myself an African and a citizen of the world, because, in my mind, there are no borders between countries (or do I mean people?).

My music is my passion. I have been performing all over the world for more than 25 years now. I have been able to share my music, my culture, my opinions, and my struggles with people around the world. I know what music can offer, what music can change.

I am so proud of my lovely continent of Africa. It is full of amazing marvels. You must live here to see and experience them. I also recognize that there are many things that need to stop, that need to change, things like governance, citizenship, as well as things in our culture and traditions.

Today, February 6, we are observing the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). For me, it’s time to remove this day from the calendar of international days to commemorate. It’s necessary that we develop zero tolerance towards this practice.

Our girls don’t need that. No tradition or religion should be used as a pretext to justify the practice of FGM. Girls will be women, mothers, they need to live in a space that takes care of them and prepares them for a promising future. They need quality education and good health.

FGM is a practice I will denounce vigorously till my last breath! Girls should no longer be victims of excision. These girls must not be deeply wounded and affected throughout their lives, because of our actions and decisions as adults.

My weapon is my music, my lyrics. I trust them and I know they can change and have changed behaviors. I have had a fulfilling experience of working with children’s organization Plan International to promote child rights. I will continue to use my voice for children.

Music can overcome barriers of spoken word; music reaches people’s hearts and breaks taboos. Let’s give this guarantee to our new generation of girls that nothing will be as before, and that their welfare is our priority.

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