Toyin Adekale is a British born, Sierra Leonian/Nigerian artist and songwriter who for decades has been hitting the charts, mostly in reggae music. Toyins’ success has spanned several genres and decades crossing over into pop allowing her to reach many people worldwide. She wants to use her voice to predominantly highlight the plight of young black girls in Africa and the rest of the world who are suffering from constant sexual abuse.
It was on her return to Sierra Leone after more than a decade away that Toyin became involved in the Hands off our Girls project. After the unexpected passing of her only son, who was very young and, in an attempt to heal Toyin returned home and was immediately embraced by the community and asked to help them with #Handsoffourgirls movement. Toyin linked up with Sierra Leone star Markmuday and together they wrote and produced the song ‘Hands off our girls.’
In an exclusive telephone interview with Toyin Adekale, she was asked what she hoped to achieve with ‘Hands off our Girls’?
“The aim is to promote awareness, worldwide as it is something that I am passionate about and actually mentor young woman in the States, transitioning from all levels of abuse. Although I am firmly focused on Africa, I know this is a global problem and I want to take the message global. I would encourage any artists or public figures out there to do their own versions of this song or speak on this subject. The important thing is the message and the more people shouting it the better. Unfortunately in some places, abuse like this is part of the culture, part of the norm and almost accepted. The aim is to change this, stigmatize this and change the thinking. I will work closely with anyone who truly wishes to help us get this message out there and then educate or re-educate people. I must stress this is not just an African issue or even a third world issue, this is a global issue. The sexualisation, manipulation of our young girls in the West is all too apparent now and the outcome is a generation of abused, confused and misguided young ladies who carry a heavy load heading into adulthood. It is all too easy for the West to point the finger at Africa and once again conclude this is happening over there and not over here, but this is wrong thinking. It is happening everywhere, just in slightly different ways. That is why with my picture I am dressed as an African, but I am in a Western setting. This is a global issue and I want to make that clear with what I am doing. Also, this is an issue that affects all women, regardless of colour, but I am more focused on young black women because in my experience they suffer more in this world from this.”
Toyin Adekale is looking for support from all areas for her campaign to raise awareness and funds. The campaign has strong goals it wishes to achieve:
- To bring awareness and open up discussions regarding sexual violence against young women and children.
- To encourage young girls/women to find a safe place to open up, recognize that they’re not alone, and stand strong against this monstrosity.
- To bring awareness to parents to observe the signs of distress amongst their female members, as they fall prey more often than not, to people that are close and trusted in family circles.
- To support an organization that caters to rebuilding and empowering your girls and women transitioning from sexual violence.
The ‘First Lady’ of Sierra Leone is also very much involved in the #Handsofourgirls project and movement and Toyin is hopeful they can collaborate in the future along with other prominent African and global figures.
Written & Composed by Toyin Adekale ft Markmuday. Recorded at KME Studios, Freetown, Sierra Leone, W. Africa
Available to download and stream on the Talithavoices Label.