(Monrovia, Liberia—July 30, 2018) Today marks the official release of “Jaadeh Is Integrity”, a song written and produced by Liberia’s premier Hip-Co musician Takun J and featuring vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey. It is currently airing on 64 commercial and community radio stations across Liberia, as well as on West Africa Democracy Radio. Visit https://bit.ly/2NKX1ZF to listen.
Based on the forthcoming children’s book Jaadeh! written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker, and published by One Moore Book, “Jaadeh Is Integrity” was made possible through a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which focuses on governance and transparency issues in West Africa. Jaadeh! is a sequel to the critically acclaimed anti-corruption children’s book Gbagba published in 2013.
In both books, eight-year-old twin protagonists Sundaymah and Sundaygar navigate the confusing ethical codes of the adults in their lives, in places as diverse as traffic jams, schools, churches and markets. In Gbagba, the children express clearly the concrete ways in which corruption hurts rather than heals society. In Jaadeh! they embrace integrity as a way of life.
Gbagba and Jaadeh! author Pailey says that “children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly and authentically, with integrity.”
“Jaadeh Is Integrity” joins its companion song “Gbagba Is Corruption”, which was released in 2014 and is based on the first book. Both singles are part of a canon of anti-corruption songs popularised by politically conscious musicians such as Takun J, who blends Liberian colloquialisms with Hip-hop beats.
With two previous grants secured from OSIWA, Pailey has commissioned Liberian artists to adapt Gbagba into a music video, radio drama, and stage play with an all-child cast. Jaadeh! will be similarly adapted, with a music video of “Jaadeh Is Integrity” released shortly.
According to OSIWA Country Officer Massa Crayton, the grant making body has supported Gbagba and Jaadeh! adaptations because it “believes the fight against corruption needs to start with children being taught about the values of accountability and integrity, which opens the space for an honest discussion of how corruption adversely affects them in their homes, schools, local communities, and within the national landscape on a broader scale.”
Visit http://www.robtelneajaipailey.com/author/ for more information about Gbagba and Jaadeh!
Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author.
For more information about “Jaadeh Is Integrity”, contact Robtel Neajai Pailey or OSIWA Liberia.
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