Badaljams: Like Brand New Shoes
Welcome back to Badaljams—where we explore inspiring, taboo-teasing, body positive, and (of course) controversial music that have contributed to the global movement for gender justice.
In light of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, we’ve been reading many stories of women surviving against great odds in militarized zones, and at BJ! we wanted to pay tribute somehow to these formidable women who have lived through such horrible experiences, and those who work to end violence against women.
“Pearls” by Sade is a song from my childhood that stuck with me for a long time. Firstly, because it seemed so out of place on the upbeat 1992 album ‘Love Deluxe’ which was made up mostly of (some of the best) urban jazz love songs.
Secondly, and more profoundly, for the empathy Sade was able to invoke in me with the story of a woman in Somalia, a country I had barely thought about, for a reality of extreme hardship that I had never known. Being 12 years old at the time, the analogy of something ‘hurting as brand new shoes’ was something I could immediately relate to, yet I knew at the same time was also grossly facetious.
I remember being blown away by the story told by Sade’s aloof yet warm voice, and the simplicity and rawness of the accompanying guitar and violins. I often had it on repeat, and it was one of the first tracks that prompted me to delve into what life was like for other women and little girls around the world.
So, in honour of all the survivors of VAW, the BJ! family salutes you, and Sade says,
“Don’t know what she’s made of,
I would like to be that brave”