Using Music as a tool for Social Change in Liberia￼
MONROVIA — Young people from across Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, and Fiamah Community- Monrovia, Montserrado County, gathered separately in their numbers on the 24th and 30th of December 2021, to participate and witness two separate musical concerts funded by ‘Music in Africa’, and organized by Accountability Lab Liberia Voice2Rept Campaign, with performances from 16 local artists from the Liberian Hip-Co Accountability Network.
‘Voice to Represent’ (Voice2Rep) is Accountability Lab’s pioneering and reformative musical campaign and advocacy platform that promotes issues around integrity, accountability and good governance through the lenses of a more equal participation and greater representation across Liberia. Its goal is for young and undiscovered artists to build their knowledge, skills and get the connections they need to improve their music and use it to advocate for social change. Hip-Co Accountability Network on the other hand is a group on young national artists (male and female) who consider themselves ‘conscious musicians’, using a mixture of ‘hip-hop’ music and the Liberian ‘koloqua’ (pidgin) to preach about a wide range of social issues, including; equality, opportunities for youth, including participation.
The concerts tagged, “Vioce2Rep-Music for Advocacy” were staged in Monrovia and Buchanan cities (Liberia’s first and second capital cities). On the 24th and 30th of December, 2021 about 600 young people were combined in the two locations mentioned came together to enjoy a night of fun with Hip-Co music. Amongst a host of other musical performances and artists, the songs “Limbo” and “It’s in your hands” were written and performed by 16 local artists from the Hip-Co Accountability Network. The artists on Limbo were nine, including; Amaze (Hip-co Accountability Network Ambassador), Super 7, Philipino, Theoto, Oluwa Banks, Waste Dem, Corina, Birthday Suit, and K-Tol, and the artists on, “In Your Hands” were Amaze, the Hip-Co Accountability Network Ambassador, Keri, Philipino, D-man, Lovelogy, Waste Dem, Pop Daddy, and Lady Hifi. The messages of the songs focused on national elections issues. The intended audience-the youth, were reminded to thoroughly examine those who are aspiring for elected offices and to carefully study their platforms. The messages further warned the youth not to sell their votes for rice or money, but also to hold those elected leaders to their campaign promises that would benefits their communities and the future of the country. The messages of the songs further spoke about ways to promote the citizens responsibilities and active civic participation for community and societal development.
Reaching the Youths
As a means of getting the message out to the public about the concert, Accountability Lab Liberia organized and staged two massive awareness campaigns in both Buchanan and Monrovia cities. The activities included; a day long street musical publicity with a public address system mounted in a vehicle and paraded through the major streets in Buchanan City and Fiamah Community, Sinkor in Monrovia were carried out throughout Sinkor and Fiamah communities, and included sharing of the concert flyers with specific information about the events. AL Liberia also shared the soft copies of the flyers on their social media pages and within their networks and with partners. Alongside the flyers, AL Liberia produced and aired the promotional jingles on radio Gbezohn in Buchanan and OKAT FM in Monrovia.
Here are the voices from some of the participants at the Buchanan and Monrovia concerts explaining what they understood from the songs, and what it means to them.
- “The message I got is very clear, around the world there are challenges but in Liberia our case is worse, no system. People we expect to improve our system are refusing to do it for their own selfish interest. We need to change our minds and attitudes, vote for good leaders and better Liberia”. – D. Dorley, Monrovia
- “The music is educative, it brought out things we need to know that the government and our leaders should do for us. I hope this music will be widely spread on social media platforms for more people to listen to it, especially the youth, to vote the right leaders come 2023”. – P. Somah, Monrovia
- “The message I got was to be able to think critically on how to vote during elections, especially the upcoming 2023 election, and not to vote for t-shirts or rice given by politicians”. King D, Buchanan
- “The main message I go was to vote wisely and to vote for my future, as the person I vote for can help or destroy the future generations”. C. Brown,Buchanan
As the 2023 presidential general and presidential elections draws nearer, Accountability Lab Liberia believes that the youths needs to be actively engage, as they constitute about 60% of the population and are most time easily influenced by politicians during election periods. Campaigns like the Voice2rep-Music in Africa will continue to advocate for social justice equality, accountability