At first she looks like any bride: wearing a white wedding dress with her face covered with the wedding veil and carrying a bridal bouquet. Except that she is no ordinary bride. She is being sold.
As she removes her veil from her face, her forehead appears marked with a barcode. Her left eye is badly bruised and a big scratch on her cheek is as red as a war wound.
The girl in the music video “Brides for Sale” is portrayed by Sonita Alizadeh, an Afghan teen rapper who sings in the video about the ordeal many girls in Afghanistan go through when are sold by their families to marry at an early age in return of money.
But why is she singing about this issue?
A deaf rapper?
When Marko Vuoriheimo told his friends and family that he wanted to pursue a career in music he was met with everything from raised eyebrows to outright ridicule. “My teachers, relatives and some of my friends … didn’t really believe in my career at all,” said the Finnish native, whose stage name is Signmark. “But I thought, I’ll still get there and I want to … give an opportunity for this dream of mine.”
Seems impossible, even ridiculous, especially since the goal is to end extreme poverty by 2030, right? But consider the progress that has been made: In 25 years, we've gone from nearly 2 billion people experiencing extreme poverty to fewer than 1 billion. Still, a billion's a lot of people, so there's a lot of work to be done.
He learned to play the oud, a pear-shaped stringed instrument, at an early age in his hometown of Baghdad. He grew up writing protest songs against the dictator who ruled his country with an iron fist for three decades. He was imprisoned, tortured, and eventually forced to leave his beloved Iraq in 1991. He later found refuge in the United States.
During their brutal reign from 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge killed an estimated two million people, targeting artists and intellectuals, even people who wore eyeglasses. Cambodian arts and music have been making a comeback through the education of younger generations. Educating and raising awareness of Cambodian arts also means employment for the master artists and possibly their students.
Now that’s dedication.
MzVee wants to do her part in ending poverty, not in just her home country of Ghana, but all over the world. So, the singer/songwriter wrote a song about it, appropriately called “End Poverty.” The star, who has earned several music awards as well as a nomination, sat down with the World Bank’s Kafu Kofi Tsikata to talk about her work.
UPDATE: To continue shedding the light on women's rights, Nneka shared another song with us, Shining Star, at World Bank Group's headquarters in Washington D.C.
Ever since Nigerian singer Nneka released her debut album, Victim of Truth, in 2005, the diminutive star has been one of the most vocal advocates of anti-corruption and women’s rights in Africa. She continues beating that drum to raise awareness of her fourth album, My Fairy Tales, this time exploring the struggles of Africans in the diaspora. She recently stopped by World Bank’s headquarters to share her music and voice her views on women’s rights. “I use my music as a platform to (give voice) to such issues,” she says. “ ”
It's not the first time that the entertainer is using his popularity to raise the awareness of his followers to Africa’s challenges. Thousands of fans around the world are well aware that Fally Ipupa is an entertainer who is committed to combatting poverty and inequality. While he is most active in his own country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he recently started developing projects in Côte d’Ivoire and intends to expand his work. To carry out these projects, he created the FIF foundation with the mission of restoring joy to the most vulnerable Africans. How will he do this? By providing them with access to the resources they need most — water, schools, and medical care — and shielding them from the sources of hardship — conflicts, adverse weather conditions, and diseases.