The 21st Century woman isn’t one to be dictated to. Or led, like a lamb to a destination the shepherd thinks is good. The 21st century woman is staging a revolution in which self-determination, self-love and assertiveness is of prime importance. The revolution wouldn’t only be televised but documented across various media outlets- with social media as the prime avenue- to millions, both the present generation and the next.
Patriarchy has always been one of the stumbling blocks to women’s progress, especially with its doctrine on capping the sexual desires or expressions of women. That need to break free is starkly addressed by Fu on the chorus of “Power To Power’’, the third track: ‘’before you speak, make sure your head is right/Before you speak, make sure your tongue is right/ loud it, no more intimidation’’, she raps. This is after asking her legion of femmes to ‘fuck the count (body count)’’; a very disturbing measure of a woman’s sexual prolificacy. Her point is given extra boost courtesy Ria Boss when she sings ‘there are diamonds in between my thighs/Phenomenal am I?’.
‘’Mother of Heirs’’ is a genre bending, 12 track album that features six (6) female artistes (2 poets, 3 singers and a rapper), who share various anecdotes about the struggles of being a woman. Even though what is shared could be said to reflect their individual views, they could be extrapolated as those reflecting those of other women.
The album opens with ‘Fresh Air’, a puncturing piano chord driven track produced by Keyzuz. With Ria Boss and Cina Soul’s vocals serving as the duvet, Poetra delivers encouraging words about embracing love but first, loving yourself: “forgive yourself for creating this architecture of doom and living underneath its lasting truth”. It’s such a hard journey for someone who has been disappointed, betrayed and berated for what she is- a woman- especially where love is concerned. It’s usually such a drag to see value in yourself. ‘There’s overflowing love lining up to engulf you’, Poetra pour out an assurance.
The theme of self-love is further explored on “Selfie”, where Dzyadzorm, Fu and Poetra team up to contextualize the phenomenon of selfie taking-an obsession of millennials. Whereas the older generation deems this action a worthless exercise, many millennials see it as necessary. For many, selfie taking is a time capsule: an exercise in documentation of growth: ‘’we fill our biographies with imageries of us and the times’’. It’s also a measure of appreciation of looks: ‘’when you take a selfie, you are just photocopying God’s version of today’s magnificence’’ (can I get an Amen!). Aside serving the social and physical purposes, selfies could take up a political role- an avenue for those long silenced to talk back to the world: ‘taking a selfie is reclaiming the meaning of self-love/ in a world that would rather we stay silent’’. If selfie taking is an act of narcissism, the girls here have a differing view point.
‘You have to be twice better to get half of what they have’. That’s an advice females are told or get to realize with time. It’s a reminder of the patriarchal construct and in recent times, we have witnessed women fighting for equal pay for equal jobs (Serena Williams made her views known per tennis tourneys). ‘’Distractions’’ is the song a frustrated heart sings after putting in “200 percent and only get a 10 (percent)’’. The realization that you ‘put in too much truth’ in your work yet the manifestation of the result(s) ‘take this long’ can be daunting. Whereas, the solemn ‘‘Haystack’’ featuring Cina and Dzyadzorm talks about the need to be found and appreciated, the boisterous pop-rock influenced “Black Is The Power” is an ode to blackness- excellence and skin tone: ‘’The melanin is in control/ baby you got the black, now glow’’. Even where humour or playfulness exists, there’s an underlining sense of seriousness. On ‘’Child’s Play’’’, a medley of known Ghanaian lullabies, the lyrics are nowhere childish. ‘’Paul G never said this was his first time/ but, Mary been around so she took his nervous hands/ led a little lamb on the path of vice / she saw it in his eyes, this shit felt nice’’ is a peek into the ‘seriousness’ of the song. The album title ‘Mother of Heirs’ is an ode to womanhood; a reminder of their worth as well as a call to embrace and wear their magnificence with pride. ‘Mother of Earth/Heir to the throne/Daddy was gone/King overthrown/ Have you lost your way?/ do you know your name?’’, Ria Boss chips in the reminder.
‘Mother of Heirs’ is not a feminist manifesto. It’s six female artistes- Poetra, Dzyadzorm, Cina Soul, Ria Boss, Adomaa and Fu- bringing to the fore issues that affect and/or impede the growth of women-overtly or covertly as reflected by the themes covered: self-love/worth (Fresh Air, Dumb, Selfie), Femme Power (Power To Power, Black Is The Power, Mother of Heirs), Struggles (Doing The Most, Distractions, Conversations) and love (Haystack, Humpty Dumpty).
An idea sowed in Poetra after her one month residency in the US courtesy ”OneBeat’ resulted in the founding of Black Girls Glow, an initiative geared towards promoting the works of women in the arts. Its first output is Mother of Heirs, the album.
In an era where joint albums rarely make a great impression on listeners despite the big names featured (expect you are a Jay & Kanye or Nas and Damian Marley), it is worth applauding this album. The artistes involved aren’t recognized names (except Poetra and Adomaa, arguably) but they rightly shared the spot by showing off the very best in their talent box. The production works from the 11 producers-including Keyzuz, EDWVN, Nii Quaye and Alex Wondergem (some of my favouites) stretches between charming and astounding.
The world is skewed against women in many ways. The fight to claw back their rightful spot is indeed on. The obstacles would be present but it’s up to these women to realize that they merit more than just an iPhone as payment for work. It’s time to have that serious conversations (all pun intended).
Buy your copy for GHc 10 here
Stream album here