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Playlist: Ladies' Night

Happy International Women's Day!

Ill and this close to a nervous breakdown on a bus thanks to LabVIEW*, the writing of this post has otherwise been rather serendipitous: an extra playlist to make up for missing February's, the first post to break said month-long (!) silence, a pretty intense high from curating this playlist on the bus home and all the feels from finding the Lagos version of Google's #OneDayIWill campaign. It's been a pretty good day, indeed - sniffles and software failures excluded.

IWD means different things to different people. For some, it's an opportunity to celebrate (themselves and) the women in their lives; for others, it's the time to highlight recent advances in eradicating gender disparities, assess existing problem areas and discuss steps forward with likeminded people around the world on some social media platform or other. Maybe a little bit of both for what I hope is the majority of those lucky enough (yes, lucky) to even know about IWD. And for a choice few, it's a reason to whine about there not being an International Men's Day or argue against the need for IWD in the first place, akin to the debate about BET's role in building a racism-free America today.

I'm personally on the fence about BET** but I definitely don't support the criticism surrounding IWD. With society essentially pitting genders against
each other at nearly every turn in this game called life where women arepreordained to lose even by choosing not to play, I think anyone who advocates against International Women's Day can just take several seats and watch us enjoy the day regardless. And we'll be keeping Mother's Day too, and spending the other three hundred and sixty three petitioning, tweeting and using any platform we so please to support each other and even the playing field.

The platform under the spotlight tonight: music, with the classic pre-Amber Rose slut-shaming clapback anthem from Salt N Pepa kicking things off in my first (but hopefully, not last) pro-woman playlist. Noticeably, sex-themed songs are sparse. Given that I and my snot-logged head are bouncing around in a steamed-up bus, partly focused on this and partly wondering why the run arrow for my program is broken but the error list is empty (what is this sorcery?), I'm really not in top form and thought it best to leave out the more ambiguous numbers that popped into my head, the ones I couldn't decide if the lyrics presented a woman in control of her sexuality and desires, or one as the object/at the disposal of someone else's. I'm all for women choosing to live however they want, obviously, but the latter just doesn't feel particularly progressive.

Speaking of progress, please check out the IWD website if you haven't already and consider making a #PledgeForParity. I pledged to "challenge conscious and unconscious bias" by embracing permissiveness and appreciating different perspectives. Excluding certain no-brainer matters of great importance to our legacy as a species (Drake vs Meek, for example), I like to think I've been doing this rather unconsciously*** for the better part of my life much like the other options but it should be interesting taking a more deliberate approach to explore new ideas and POVs, and also I reckon I bossed the others as School Prez for EEE and as the only girl on the Electronics society committee at uni last year, cohosting the first faculty-wide event in our department celebrating women in engineering this day last year #winning.

Salt N Pepa

Queen Latifah

Janelle Monae X Eryka Badu

Lilly Allen

Beyonce X Nicki Minaj
Fifth Harmony

Beyonce X Nicki Minaj X Chimamanda Adichie

Gwen Stefani

Rihanna X SZA

Erykah Badu


Bonus Track:

*Don't even look it up if you don't know what this is, you're much better off.

**In my humble (and completely unsolicited but I'm still on the bus, so why not?) opinion, BET's already served its purpose in amplifying more black voices to a global audience. But social media (and its vigilant justice warriors who never fail to point out cultural appropriation where credit is due) has made it clear black culture is quite prominently at the heart of American pop culture, and African-Americans are breaking even more ground in the arts for their eventual unhindered inclusion in "the conversation"; "the", as in singular and therefore, united, thereby making BET's divisive connotations imply an eat-your-cake-and-have-it situation, which in turn becomes completely justified by slavery and colonialism (#neverforget). However the money spent on a lot of those painfully awful made-for-BET movies that carelessly promote (negative) stereotypes in storylines not quite as successful in promoting their way of life as, say, Beyonce's crude, disjointed but still entirely effective Formation, for example could be better spent funding independent African-American filmmakers struggling to make even more films good enough to give the #OscarsSoWhite movement even more clout. I'm not saying I'm with Stacey Dash on the issue because I'm not; I just think it's worth considering where else BET-related efforts could be targeted so shutting it down won't mean less "blackness" in American media but with some tact, the exact opposite. If I have offended anyone however, picture me waving my British and Nigerian passports in your face right now to help put this into context: this is based on occasional brushes with information diluted by mass media on both sides of the Atlantic.

***I think it's time I came out and confessed: I totally cheated on Pottermore to get into Gryffindor. A bona fide retake on the longest fan-made Sorting Hat test in the history of the HP fandom claimed I was in fact meant to be in Ravenclaw but would do just as well in Slytherin. Go figure.
photography by me

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