How This Afghan Rapper Sang Her Way Out Of Being A Child Bride

by Kathryn Hensch

Sonita Alizadeh was just fifteen when her parents told her she going to be sold into an arranged marriage. It’s a sickening reality many young girls face in developing countries, where one in three will marry before age eighteen. Terrified of becoming a part of that statistic, Sonita resisted – by rapping. In a recent interview with PRI, she told her story.

She grew up in Tehran, where a non-profit organization taught children things like photography and music. It was here that her passion for rapping would begin: “Rap music let’s you tell your story to other people. Rap music is a platform to share the words that are in my heart. Being sold would mean moving to Afghanistan, leaving her family and dreams of continuing her success in music behind. And so, “Brides for Sale” was written.

The music video for the song is chilling. Sonita wears a wedding dress, bruises, and a barcode, which could be the uniform of child brides. “Let me whisper, so no one knows that I speak of selling girls,” she begins, “My voice shouldn’t be heard as it is against Sharia. Women must remain silent. This is this city’s tradition. I scream to make up for a woman’s lifetime of silence.”

Upon hearing the song, her parents told her she didn’t have to marry. “It means so much to me that my family went against our tradition for me,” she told PRI, “Now I’m somewhere that I never imagined I could be.” Sonita, now eighteen, earned a full scholarship at an art academy in Utah. She continues to make music so she can speak for the people of her country who have to remain silent. Watch the video for the powerful song below:

Image c/o: Sarcheshmeh, Video c/o: YouTube

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