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By the Spring of '07 I was playing the track daily. At this point as I mentioned previously I was preparing to attend the TED Global Conference in Arusha. I was thinking a lot about the situation back home in Ghana and across the African continent in general and had engaged in some fierce debates about the portrayal of the continent in films like Blood Diamond and in a special report CNN had done on the conflicts in Darfur and the Eastern Congo. And I felt like none of these presented what I believe to be an honest and balanced
portrayal of the challenges facing the people of these nations. Time and time again we hear the worst of what people go through. But when it comes to Africa we do not hear the stories of hope, of perseverance, of triumph. In fact, we barely hear about these people at all...unless and until they are dying. And I thought to myself, "why?" Why do "they" not matter until they are no longer with us? And worst yet, until a whole LOT of them are no longer with us?
And so: "I wrote a song for all the people, who fight on, in a world that doesn't see them..." I did so because "they" are a part of "me."
The day before I sat down to write these lyrics I had done a conference call about a youth group doing conflict resolution work with kids in Israel & Palestine. As is so often the case I perceived how much the issues facing real people in Africa, were plaguing others around the world. There were some particularly brave young women working on that project, the extent of whose courage I would only come to glimpse much later. It was not long after Mothers Day and somehow I thought of Kelley and some of the challenges she had encountered as a young woman trying to do what we do. I thought of my mom and my sister and my Auntie Mama and Auntie Renée and of my grandma Mmaa and my sweet departed granny Mafio. The latter two in particular had been such a profound influence on the writing of "Sweet Remix" along with their daughter who grew up to become my own Sweet Mama.
And I realized that as best I can see, there is no struggle in the world, however great or small, in which women (and their children) are not the most greatly victimized...and in turn, so often they prove the most courageous in their willingness to choose life, every day, against all odds.
I won't claim to be a feminist - I haven't the knowledge, nor commitment and I hate labels in general. But as the song stirred within me I felt I wanted to contribute to the upliftment of the women in my life and those I've never known, not because I was best qualified to do so, but because it was the right thing to do. In the
end when I finally sat down to write the words to this song I simply wanted to pay homage to those who "fight on" in the ways we don't see - without weapons, without armies, without braun, bluster or bravado, but with sheer will, determination and a "love that passes all understanding."
This is a song for the unsung. They may not make monuments unto you. But we whom you have carried upon your backs, salute you. It is a beginning.