By Juliet Ebirim
AS new global goals are announced that could end extreme poverty within a generation, the cream of Africa’s music stars are proud to announce the release of a brand new remix of ‘Strong Girl’. This contagious anthem for women’s empowerment first got the world dancing in May this year.
The mix of 14 male and female stars, in partnership with ONE, recorded the new version to show that women’s empowerment is a song that everyone – men, boys, girls and women – must sing. ‘Strong Girl’ features vocalists Waje (Nigeria), D’Banj (Nigeria) Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), Banky W (Nigeria), Arielle T (Gabon), Diamond (Tanzania) Gabriela (Mozambique), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Selmor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), new talent Blessing Nwafor (South Africa), and U2’s Bono. The video stars Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (Nigeria).
The artistes called on all governments to place women and girls at the centre of global and national development commitments in 2015. This year, as the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) come to an end, and the new global goals for Sustainable Development come into force from September 2015, these new goals will set the agenda for development for a generation, and could see us be “the great generation to end extreme poverty” as Nelson Mandela once said.
There has been some signs of progress, with the African Union, AU, Heads of State Declaration committing to address the fact that Poverty is Sexist earlier this year. Now this remix has the 14 stars singing in chorus, asking world leaders to do the same – and pledge to tackle the poverty of sexism which affects the entire planet.
Actress Omotola, who supports the cause and features in the anthem said: “This remix shows Strong Girl is a song to be played on repeat, because the message of lifting up girls and women cannot be played enough and is relevant across the globe. We know that in 18 nations, men can legally stop wives working and in 46, there are no laws protecting women from domestic violence. To change this situation it is important to have men and women stand together to call for an end to the violations of women.”
Strong Girl was originally written and recorded by Arielle T, Blessing, Gabriela, Judith Sephuma, Selmor Mtukudzi, Vanessa Mdee, Victoria Kimani, Waje and Yemi Alade in April, and released on May 13th. Strong Girl remix featuring top female and male artists not only amplifies the song’s powerful message that when you focus on women you help everyone – it shows that men and women must join forces to ensure that there are strong girls and women everywhere.
The remix which features D’Banj, Diamond, Banky W, was produced by Cobhams Asuquo, and retains many elements of the original song. Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE, also lends vocals to the track.
Speaking about the remix, Nigerian top music act D’Banj said: “Being a part of this new version is an honour. It is important for me to use my music to help change the world, especially for those who need our voice the most. This remix is amazing – I want every one of my fans to dance to this tune, and dance for women’s empowerment and call for gender justice too!”.
This effort is part of ONE’s Poverty is Sexist campaign, which calls on world leaders to implement smart policies and target investments in the health, education and economic empowerment of women and girls which will unleash their human, social, political and economic potential.