Escaping the shackles of child marriage, Sonita is committed to helping her female counterparts through her rap music
A “good girl” in Afghanistan is one who keeps quiet about all matters concerning her. A “good girl” won’t talk about her future. A “good girl” should listen to her family, even if they force her to marry a man of their choice.
“A good girl means you should be a doll; everyone can play with you and you have no say in it,” says 18-year-old Sonita Alizadeh at London’s Women of the World summit last week.
Escaping the shackles of child marriage at the tender age of 10, Sonita decided to go against the norms of Afghan culture and create a future for herself unlike her female counterparts.
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And how did she fight for her rights? By becoming the youngest female rapper in Afghanistan.
Although she was interested in making music, Alizadeh was priced at $9,000 so that her brother could buy himself a bride. Her only question to her mother was “Don’t you care about my feelings? My wasted potential?” and her mother, who was married at 13, was as helpless as her, “I have no other way,” she responded to her daughter.
“I realised against my brother, I have no value. And they couldn’t understand me,” said the young girl in an interview with BBC reporter Zarghuna Kargar. And so she decided to help herself and make her own future.
After fleeing the war in Afghanistan, Sonita worked as a bathroom cleaner at an NGO in Iran. There she learned to read and write, gaining inspiration from American rapper Eminem and Iranian rapper Yas.
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She wrote her first song Brides for Sale (2014) and uploaded it on YouTube. The video shows faux bruises and marks on her face, including a bar code on her forehead to symbolise that she is a price tag in this world and holds no value as a female. Her inspiration for the video came from her friend who was married at a young age and was victim to domestic violence.
“We were talking about how the music video should be, and one of my friends sitting next to me, had bruises on her face and she was quiet. When I looked at her, I imagined the music video in my mind and I wanted to show the horror story of millions of girls around the world,” explained Sonita.
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Her video gained traction and she was soon offered a full scholarship to study music at Wasatch Academy in Utah. Her music is her way of fighting and standing up for women all around the world who are subject to child marriage. Even her mother has since changed her views on the matter and is now a fan of her daughter’s song.
“It was a terrible dream for my mother, she would always tell me, you’re shameless if you decide to sing. But when my mother watched the video, she called me and she said ‘it was good’… now she is a fan,” she recalled.
Her life has been documented in a film titled Sonita, which is set to premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Here’s a clip from the documentary:
This article originally appeared on Scoopwhoop