One of the most powerful and creative methods of raising awareness about taboo subjects like Violence Against Women (VAW) is through music and song. From medieval bards to protest folk singers of the 1960s to today’s Pop, Rock and Country songwriters, musicians, singers and songwriters continue to play a vital role in spreading the message about social issues via heartfelt lyrics and musical hooks that ensure that the song stays with the listener until the message sinks in.
As part of championing the power of music to educate, enlighten and help with social change, The Pixel Project presents our 2012 selection of 16 songs about or related to VAW and women’s empowerment. While there have always been songs that are very explicit about domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of VAW, we have, like last year, select a mix of songs about VAW and songs that empower women because it is crucial to get a balance between the reality of violence and the message of hope for survival and healing.
This year, we are also very pleased to include the music video PSAs of 4 out of 5 of the songs from our first ever “16 For 16” digital EP. Headlined by the rich R&B harmonies of “The Rose” by our YouTube Music Ambassador AHMIR, artistes from across several countries sing out about stopping VAW and giving women strength and courage.
Without further ado, here are this year’s selection of 16 songs presented in alphabetical order. We hope they inspire and move you as much as they have inspired and moved us.
Song Number 1: A Broken Wing – Martina McBride
American Country superstar Martina McBride is a staunch supporter of the cause to end VAW and her songs often reflect her commitment to empowering women. A Broken Wing is no exception.
Song Number 2: A Day Will Come – Pete Ahonen
San Francisco/Bay Area based Folk/Pop/Rock artiste Pete Ahonen wrote A Day Will Come after watching a powerful documentary about human trafficking. It is his heartfelt wish that this song will give all victims and survivors out there strength to survive and rebuild their lives. To download the song as part of our charity digital EP, visit our ’16 For 16′ digital EP intro page.
Song Number 3: Bitch – Meredith Brooks
Bitch is one of the Girl Power anthems that came out in the late 90s/early 2000s and became part of the empowerment of a generation of women who came of age in that era by reclaiming the pejorative B word to mean something positive.
Song Number 4: The A Team – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran wrote his award-winning song “The A Team” about a street sex worker and raised £40,000 for the One25 charity which reaches out to street sex workers who often face violence including rape and sexual assault in their work. Sheeran said: “There’s a lot more popular charities that get a lot of attention. And with certain subjects like this they’re often washed over and people don’t necessarily give them the attention they deserve.”
Song Number 5: Dark Side – The Other People
Mumbai-based band The Other People took part in The Pixel Project’s first ever YouTube Cover Carnival and won with their smooth R&B flavoured cover of Kelly Clarkson’s Dark Side – song which calls for unconditional love and acceptance of every person that has gone through tough times. To download the song as part of our charity digital EP, visit our ’16 For 16′ digital EP intro page.
Song Number 6: Face Down – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Rock band The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’s song Face Down takes issue with violent abusive men, telling them that one day, they will get their comeuppance: Do you feel like a man, when you push her around? / Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground? / Well, I’ll tell you my friend, one day this world’s going to end / As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found.
Song Number 7: It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston
The late, great Whitney Houston sang her share of empowering songs in her heyday and in It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay, she calls on women everywhere to throw out men who treat them badly.
Song Number 8: Me and a Gun – Tori Amos
Music superstar Tori Amos is also a rape survivor who went on to rebuild her life, build a glittering career and help other survivors and victims. In this song, she sings very graphically about the experience of being raped.
Song Number 9: Mr Know It All – Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson is one of the biggest female superstars today and a role model for young women and girls everywhere through her positive, woman-friendly anthems. Mr Know-It-All is no exception as she sings about leaving a man who treats her badly.
Song Number 10: Nicoletta – Tony O’Malley
Veteran singer, songwriter and piano player Tony O’Malley wrote Jazz-tinged Nicoletta after learning about the appalling abuse suffered by a friend – abuse that also traumatised her young daughter. O’Malley wrote this song as a way of speaking out against domestic violence and hoping for a better world for survivors of abuse. To download the song as part of our charity digital EP, visit our ’16 For 16′ digital EP intro page.
Song Number 11: No More Drama – Mary J. Blige
Grammy-award winning singer, songwriter and producer Mary J. Blige sings about surviving and transcending harmful relationships, emerging stronger than ever and leaving all the drama behind.
Song Number 12: Survivor – Destiny’s Child
Survivor was a monster hit in the early 2000s for multi-platinum powerhouse female group, Destiny’s Child. It became a huge hit precisely because it was an in-your-face declaration that women can survive the emotional, mental and physical toll of toxic relationships by walking away with their head held high.
Song Number 13: The Rose – AHMIR
AHMIR – the #1 R&B band on YouTube and The Pixel Project’s YouTube Music Ambassador – recorded Amanda McBroom’s The Rose in April 2012 as part of The Pixel Project’s Music For Pixels campaign. The Rose is their message of love and healing to survivors everywhere. To download the song as part of our charity digital EP, visit our ’16 For 16′ digital EP intro page.
Song Number 14: Video – India Arie
This song by India Arie calls on women and girls everywhere to accept and be happy in their own skins and to appreciate themselves for who they are inside and out!
Song Number 15: Wide Awake – Katy Perry
In this song, Pop superstar Katy Perry sings about waking up and acknowledging harmful relationships, learning from the hurt and moving on better and wiser.
Song Number 16: You Gotta Be – Des’ree
British singer Des’ree had a hit in the late 90s with this feel-good song about being the best that you can be as a woman.
Searching for an affordable gift that is both empowering and uplifting for someone in need of that extra encouragement and good vibes this Christmas? Check out our “16 For 16” digital EP featuring 5 songs aimed at lifting the spirits and empowering survivors of Violence Against Women worldwide via all major online music stores including iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, Spotify and many more. Prices range from US$4.95 to US$6.45 depending on region and retailer and 100% of the proceeds go towards keeping The Pixel Project’s programmes and projects running. Just click on the buttons below to be taken to the EP’s download page in your preferred online music store: