When she heard of her family’s plans to sell her, she protested with a rap song that went viral. Sonita Alizadeh now lives in the United States and recently released a new single which you have to hear, writes Neha Pant
She first broke into the music scene three years ago, when Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, an Iranian filmmaker made a documentary on her titled, Sonita. Maghami wanted to focus on Alizadeh and her struggle to escape a child marriage through sale. Child marriage through sale is a common concept in Afghanistan and they happen mostly for economic purposes. Alizadeh’s brother who was getting married at the time needed $7000 for a bride and her mother thought she could sell her daughter for $9,000 and get him the money.
This was also the time that fourteen-year-old Alizadeh was living alone in Tehran, Iran. Her family had gone back to Afghanistan to prepare for her brother’s wedding. This is where she heard rap for the first time. It was Eminem, although she didn’t understand the words, the beats resonated with her and the music stuck. Soon Alizadeh was cleaning a karate studio in exchange for lessons and when her mother revealed her plans of selling her first for economic reasons, Alizadeh wrote the song Brides for Sale in protest. “My voice shouldn’t be heard since it’s against the Sharia.
Women must remain silent, this is our tradition…” she rapped.
A woman in Iran cannot sing alone without government permission, let alone an underage girl, but Alizadeh did so anyway, with a white veil on her face and a bruises painted on, she uploaded the video on YouTube. The video was shot by Maghami and was quick to go viral, “I received a great response from the world. I was able to connect with other girls experiencing the same issues,” she recently told Rolling Stone magazine.
Alizadeh now lives in the United States of America, thanks to The Strong Heart Group, a non-profit that helped her move. She is a strong advocate of human rights and women’s rights. She recently released a song in collaboration with Japanese guitarist, MIYAVI. According to MIYAVI, Alizadeh is perfect for the song because of her tragic experiences in life. “We want to dedicate this song to everyone who struggles with obstacles and who’s challenging their life,” the duo said in a press statement.
Check it out below.