Hip hop star’s latest single draws attention to female prisons in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN – To mark the annual 16 days of activism against violence against women, and International Human Rights Day, Sierra Leone’s leading female hip hop artist, Star Zee, teamed up with Namati partner AdvocAid to record a song educating women about their legal rights. The song and music video were released today.

The song specifically focuses on the rights of women who are affected by the criminal justice system. It also speaks about women in prison who are often overlooked or seen by society as “bad” although most women enter the criminal justice system because they suffer from human rights abuses. The song, Nar Yu Right, highlights how many women are in prison because of domestic violence and urges women who are suffering from abuse to get help. Nar Yu Right also speaks about the gender-specific rights of women in prison and the new UN Bangkok Rules which provides standards for women in prison and women affected by the criminal justice system.

Star Zee decided to record the song and perform a concert for women in Freetown Female prison as she personally recognizes the plight of many women in prison with their children. “I do not see them as prisoners but as sisters”, she said. The Sierra Leone Prison service kindly granted permission for the music video to be filmed during the concert by Sierra Leone’s premiere multimedia company, Concept Multimedia. The concert last Thursday brought joy and hope to many women who were feeling discouraged with the impending Christmas season and being separated from their families.  The experience greatly impacted Star Zee who spent time after the concert encouraging prisoners and distributing food and welfare items with AdvocAid staff.

Sonia Osho-Williams, AdvocAid Programme Officer, stated that music is a powerful way to educate and to raise awareness. She hopes that the song and music video changes the perception of women in prison and empowers more women about their legal rights and where to seek help.

The music video was launched in Sierra Leone on International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013. It will be aired on TV, several radio stations and Airtel will kindly release the song as a ringtone. AdvocAid hopes to partner with organisations to outreach the song to as many women as possible across the country. The song has also been released internationally and sold on iTunes and Amazon in order to raise funds to support AdvocAid’s work. AdvocAid hopes that the song will also expose international audiences to Star Zee’s talent  and perseverance as one of Sierra Leone’s most successful female musicians.

December 10, 2013 | Namati