Poetra Asantewa’s one-month residency at OneBeat in 2016 was yet another experience that reminded her of the dearth of such programs – which cultivate and support artistes and their work – in Ghana. Another thing that she picked up from the residency was how essential and beneficial collaboration is, to artistry. On her return, she sought to replicate such an initiative in Ghana; and a little while later, Black Girls Glow — “an initiative to bring together a group of über talented, highly ambitious artists”— was born.
Yesterday, the first band of Black Girls Glow artistes – which comprises of Poetra, Fu, Adomaa, Dzyadzorm, Cina Soul, & Ria Boss – released the initiative’s debut project – Mother of Heirs; a 12-track category-defying, genre bending album – a feat which is analogous to what is arguably the essence of the project: women, (re)creating by defying and subverting.
The album opens with the very aptly placed ‘Fresh Air’ – which design brilliantly captures and sets the tone for the album. In such a largely suffocating existence, how much more refreshing could it get than Ria Boss’ humming and Cina Soul’s harmonising cradling Poetra’s life-affirming words.
With albums like this one, it’s almost futile to talk about standout joints; and since this is not a track by track review of the album, mentioning one or two other songs should suffice.
Track 3, Power to Power, is more or less an ode to the vagina. On here, Fu’s commanding manner and voice is unmissable; and she also does something very commendable: sticking a firm middle finger to that ridiculous patriarchal idea of ‘body count’:
“fuck the counts // fuck the counts // who told them you couldn’t count? // who told them you gave a damn?”
Another Fu line in here – “get down; down on your knees” -brings back something a big brother of mine once told me – that the vagina is a god…..that needs to be worshipped. Well, this writer here wouldn’t know, really.
Text and thoughts abound on the phenomenon of selfies and its resultant unhealthy attention-seeking and dangerously narcissistic attitudes. Sometimes these offerings are well-meaning and made out of genuine concern; other times, though, people are just being condescending snots; and it is in light of the latter that such songs as track number five on the album – Selfie – are important. On this song, Selfie is redefined as “a worship song exalting your beauty at a perfect pitch,”and Narcissism is reclaimed as “a revolutionary tool towards self confidence.” Both of which are very bold – and equally arguable – positions. At the end of the day however, this song’s overriding message is this: “go ahead and take your selfie.”
There’s a lot to be said for the soundscape created on the album – enabled by a wide-ranging pack of producers from Keyzuz to NiiQuaye (and mixed and mastered by Qube) – but for a writer like this one who happens to be a novice in the art of writing about sound, an attempt to detail the soundscape on this album equals taking a very high risk of doing the feat an injustice. One word though, should be passable in describing the soundscape on Mother of Heirs: remarkable
Whereas Mother of Heirs opens with an aptly-titled song, it closes with a rather deceptively titled one: Child’s Play. It is composed of – reworked – lullabies alright; but then, when Fu begins to rap about a certain “Mary and Paul G sitting in a tree k.i.s.s.i.n.g.”- and the former taking her bra off and tossing it in the air, it becomes quite doubtful that one would want Child’s Play to serenade their child to sleep. Or?
This debut project of Black Girls Glow is indeed a breath of Fresh Air on many levels: from the refreshing all-woman line up to the collaboration between six artistes of different genres, overlapping – and its’ delightful end product, this album is, as yoyo tinz has already mentioned in a tweet, magnificent.
You can stream Mother of Heirs below on Soundcloud or buy it here for 10GHS. The buying option is highly recommended because artistes too have needs – which go beyond “just want[ing] an iPhone.” Do the right thing.
By: Moshood Balogun