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Rap isn’t always the problem. Sometimes it’s the solution.

There's been a lot of talk about rap music in the wake of the rape-glorifying single recently released by Rick Ross, one of the genre's most successful musicians. The resulting protests kicked off an important public conversation about rap music and its power, purpose and connection to violence against women. Interestingly, the Rick Ross story broke while Anne K. Ream, an ambassador for Art Works for Change and the founder of The Voices and Faces Project, was in Senegal with Sister Fa - one of Africa's most prominent rap musicians and an outspoken voice in the fight to end Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and violence against women. Sister Fa's Education Sans Excision concert tour and AWFC workshop series were both created to raise awareness of the prevalence of Female Genital Cutting in Senegal, while encouraging a discussion among Senegalese teens about human rights, social justice and violence against women.

In that spirit, we encourage you to read and share "Take It Back: Rick Ross, Sister Fa, and the Fight for the Soul of Rap," the piece that Anne wrote for Thomson-Reuters' "Word On Women" while on the road with Sister Fa last week. In it Anne considers the power, politics and original purpose of rap music, while arguing that it can be one of our most effective tools in the fight to end violence against women. An excerpt from Anne's piece:

I believe in anger. Righteous anger, justified anger, the kind of anger that leads to real change– because there has never been, and probably never will be, any major social movement without it. I believe in anger, which is one of the reasons I believe in rap. And though the genre has grown older, arguably tamer, and infinitely more mainstream over the last thirty-plus years, its best beats are often angry ones. We live in a world characterized by inequality and injustice, and the musical mirror we hold up to that reality needs to be a gritty, jagged one. This is something that the most evocative rappers – think Public Enemy, The Roots, Lauryn Hill – seem to understand instinctively. Their songs aren’t just lyrical. They’re political, and they make demands.

Read the full Thomson-Reuters article: "Take It Back: Rick Ross, rape and the fight for the soul of rap."

Get to know Art Works for Change, a key Voices and Faces Project partner.

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The mission of Art Works for Change (AWFC) is to harness the transformative power of art to promote awareness, provoke dialogue and inspire action. Art Works for Change seeks to address issues of serious concern, including human rights, social justice, gender equity, and environmental stewardship and sustainability. In Senegal, AWFC is partnering with Sister Fa, UNESCO and FAWE to use art and music to create a dialogue about violence against women. Voices and Faces Project founder Anne Ream, an AWFC board member, is traveling with the team to document the trip. Find out more about the important work being done by our allies at AWFC.

41 states and three continents: Our Voices and Faces Project lecture and workshop series.
We founded The Voices and Faces Project to bring the names, faces and stories of survivors of sexual violence and trafficking to the attention of the public. No program has helped us do that more effectively than our Speakers Bureau, which has taken our team to 3 continents and now - thank you, Iowa! - 41 US states. Find out more about our available Voices and Faces Project lectures, and contact us to bring one of our 9 lectures or workshops to your community.

Forget the status quo. Discover CounterQuo.
Are we winning the fight to end sexual violence? And have we made the world safer for women and girls since the advent of the rape crisis movement over 35 years ago? In 2008, Boston-based Victim Rights Law Center, the first nonprofit law center in the nation solely dedicated to serving the legal needs of sexual assault victims, and The Voices and Faces Project joined forces to explore these questions, and to launch CounterQuo, a national campaign to challenge legal and media responses to sexual violence. Today our CounterQuo initiative engages over 75 national organizations and leaders in the anti sexual violence field in an ongoing dialogue.
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Your tax-deductible donation to The Voices and Faces Project will help us expand The Stories We Tell, the country's first testimonial writing workshop for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and trafficking, while allowing us to sustain our existing Voices and Faces Project creative, outreach, and online programs for survivors.

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