BY DAYO ADESULU
Senegalese music legend Youssou N’Dour stands up for education with afro-pop stars Reekado Banks, Teni the Entertainer and Nomcebo Zikode in the new single ‘Raise Your Hand’, in support of GPE (the Global Partnership for Education).
‘Raise Your Hand’ brings together artists from five countries and multiple languages, uniting in a song to inspire and uplift global action to secure education for all children. Opening with a poignant speech from rapper Moinina, (David Moinina Sengeh, who is also Sierra Leone’s Minister of Education), the afro-pop stars Reekado Banks, Teni the Entertainer and Nomcebo Zikode (of “Jerusalema” fame) provide the encouraging voice of today’s youth, hopeful and determined, while Youssou N’Dour’s instantly recognizable voice adds urgent gravitas to the lyrics. with the strong support of Lagos, Nigeria, based DC Talent Agency.
The joyful harmonies of the London Community Gospel Choir underscore the message, calling out for “education for all!” but this is not your everyday advocacy-oriented charity single. The song, produced by Nigerian producer Pheelz (Olamide, Tiwa Savage) and songwriter Krizbeatz, stands on its own as a star-studded afro-beat hit. Produced with the support of Lagos, Nigeria based DC Talent Agency, the kaleidoscopic mix of summertime beats, sing-along hooks and anthemic righteousness give the effect of a spoonful of pop sugar helping the medicine of the dire state of education go down.
Teni the Entertainer says:
“Young people, especially girls, must be aware of the world around them in order to use it to empower and equip themselves for the future. This is why this project is very dear to my heart as I want to use it as an avenue to shed more light to the importance of education in our society.”
Reekado Banks writes:
“Very early, I learned that there are three categories of people in this world. First is the category of people who are disconnected from the ills of our society or too jaded to care anymore. Another category is that of people who are aware but do not back up that awareness with any action because they are not affected or because their situation hinders them from acting. The last category of people is those who are aware and take it a step further by summoning the courage to speak, act and be instruments of change. The simple act of raising your hand sounds small, but when done in unison, drives awareness and change. I aligned myself with this campaign because it creates space for everyone. I am honoured to be able to raise my hand and even lend my voice and gift to speak up for the under-served in education and to champion equality for all.”
Minister, Basic and Senior Secondary Education, and Chief Innovation Officer, Government of Sierra Leone David Moinina Sengeh says:
“Over the last year, Covid-19 has reminded us that we need to re-imagine quality education and realign it towards creativity and innovation. Arts and Music hold the power to do this at scale and across borders be it within countries or internationally. More than one billion children have been affected by school closures because of Covid and millions have never and could never see the doors of a school again. This is why we must use every resource in our powers to ensure that every child, no matter where they live, can access and stay in school.”
The single was produced in partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), for which N’Dour is a champion. Founded in 2002, GPE is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. It is the only global partnership and fund dedicated entirely to helping children in lower-income countries get a quality education, so they can unlock their potential and contribute to building a better world.
GPE’s ‘Raise Your Hand’ fundraising campaign comes at a critical time for education globally, as COVID-19 threatens to push 20 million girls out of school permanently and turn back decades of progress on getting children into school and learning. Supported by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Michelle Obama and Didier Drogba, the campaign aims to raise at least $5 billion to transform education for the world’s most vulnerable children. Over the next five years, this funding will help get 88 million more girls and boys in school and enable 175 million children to learn.
As the universal symbol of a raised hand in a classroom – the music itself is universal and transcends boundaries of language, culture and religion. The “Raise Your Hand” song, produced with the strong support of Lagos, Nigeria based DC Talent Agency, aims to directly connect decision-makers in donor countries with the children and youth whose lives they can change.
GPE is urging the public to “Raise Your Hand” with the stars by using raiseyourhand.net. The interactive hand has been built by GPE and allows people to mock up their own personalized message and take part in the world’s longest raised hand, showing our world leaders that education has the power to make a change. ‘Raise Your Hand’ is powered by Vydia and available on all streaming platforms.