Accountability Lab Liberia Awards Winners of the Rap2Rep Coronavirus Musical Campaign

The Country Director of Accountability Lab Liberia W. Lawrence Yealue II along with first winner Hellen Smith and second winner Andrew Horton of the Rap2Rep Musical Competition

Monrovia – Accountability Lab Liberia has awarded Hellen Smith, an emerging gospel musical artist as the winner of this year’s Rap2Rep musical campaign, a special feature that places high emphasis on the Coronavirus awareness message.

Rap2Rep is a musical campaign program organized by the Accountability Lab Liberia back in 2015. It’s a campaign where local artists produce music as a tool for social change.

The campaign has built an accountability of Hipco (Liberian style of music) network that includes musician of social and conscious music who are passionate of using their voices to advocate for the change they hope to see in their country.

Over the past five years, musicians in the Rap2Rep campaign have been able to use their powerful voices to address issues of corruption, civil engagement, voting rights and responsibilities, youths and women empowerment and national political leadership, electoral reform, and issues of social development and welfare.

But this year campaign named and style Rep2Rep Coronavirus music campaign which is sponsored by the United States Embassy places high emphasis on the novel Coronavirus pandemic awareness message.

 That is, to find way to spread information and advice to the communities and empower citizens in curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the event at the iCampus on Carey Street over the weekend, Mr. Robert Tanookpuwah, the Educational and Cultural Affairs Assistant Public Affair Section at the US Embassy who said it was his first time at the Rap2Rep event expresses joys for what he terms as the creativity of talented Liberians artists, both established and emerging. 

“You have done an impressive and a powerful work. So, on behave of the US Mission, I will like to say thank you. Rising awareness effectively is a key principle for any public health mitigation strategy,” Tanookpuwah said.

He added: “Using the approach of entertains approachable and cultural music to sensitize the pubic to the risk and danger of the Coronavirus is not just fun. It can change behavior that can limit the spread of the virus.”

Also speaking, the Country Director of Accountability Lab Liberia W. Lawrence Yealue II said he was happy that the Rap2Rep competition has given the opportunity to young people to use their talents and transform the country and social behavior of its people.

“Accountability Lab is working with young people using their musical talents to preach consciousness and social change,” the Country Director of Accountability Lab Liberia said.

According to Yealue, it was a fiery competition adding that it was the first time for the Accountability Lab to conduct the Rap2Rep competition online, amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The online competition had 39 males’ entries and three females’ entries. Also, three judges, two in America and one in Liberia voted unanimously Hellen Smith as the first winner and Andrew Horton as the second winner.

“The musical industry is growing but Liberians need to stop buying piracy works. You are committing bad action against the artists. You are not helping the artists to grow,” Yealue said.

The first winner was giving $300usd and the second winner was giving $200usd. Also, both the first and second winners were giving a studio time to record their songs.

Adding up, the winner of this year Rap2Rep Miss Smith, an emerging gospel musical artist said she was glad to be named the winner of this year Rap2Rep competition.

Smith told journalists after the event that she has produced many songs but because of finance none of her music was able to leave the studio.

“Actually, I wrote this song on the beach. It was very challenging. I sat down and became to put my mind to work. I started thinking that we writing about Coronavirus, so what are those things like the cause, the effect and how we can prevent them,” she said.

“I became to write down few things like washing your hands, using nose masks, avoiding social gathering, and base on these items, I became to write my music.

“I’m a gospel musician. And so, after winner this award, I have the opportunity to carry my song to studio and not just to produce audio but quality video for people to see,” Smith added.