Afrobeats singer Simi aims to shift the conversation with new single, ‘Woman’

The singer launched a social media campaign for women to share their stories

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Nigerian Afrobeats singer Simisola Kosoko, a.k.a Simi, released her new single, “Woman,” along with a colorful female-driven video on Friday. In the song, Simi can be heard saying “woman don suffer,” before explaining all the ways in which people critique women and tell them they’re not good enough.

Simi said that the song was written years ago after she noticed the harmful rhetoric that gets thrown at women and the harmful stereotypes that influence the ways in which women are treated. Simi said she saw women in her communities whose voices were not being heard and whose cries were being ignored by the larger society.

“I was thinking this is an opportunity for me to use my platform to make noise and speak out for women that are oppressed on the daily,” she told theGrio.

Along with the song and video, Simi launched a social media campaign called #NobodyLikeWoman where she asked a few friends to share some of the harmful things that they’ve been told as women. She said the campaign blew up and thousands of women in Nigeria and abroad got involved.

Many of the stories highlighted the ways in which women were made to feel as though they were nothing more than vessels for children, or, if they were successful in business, it was because a man was helping them behind the scenes.

“It’s costly comments like this that can actually break people,” said Simi. “I saw a bunch of them that really shocked me.”

The World Economic Forum publishes a Global Gender Gap Index report each year. The report analyzes data and outlines the “magnitude of gender-based disparities,” in a particular country. The rankings are meant to bring awareness to these disparities and ultimately stop them.

In 2020, Nigeria was ranked number 128 out of 153 countries. Though the country has seen improvements from year to year, “women represent a higher share of skilled professionals than men, but a significantly lower share of senior positions,” according to the report.

“I don’t think it’s possible to change the world one day, but it’s possible to change the world one day at a time,” said Simi, who wants the takeaway from this campaign to be a simple change in the way we speak to women.

(Courtesy of Simi)

Simi released her debut album in 2008 but gained mainstream acclaim after a string of catchy singles such as “Joromi” and “Tiff” in the mid-2010s. She says she was at the receiving end of a number of offensive gender-based comments in the music industry as she rose in her career.

Simi told theGrio that people told her, “If you don’t dress a certain way, if you don’t sing a certain song, you’re not going to make it in the industry.”

Simi said she received feedback from many people who said they didn’t realize how harmful these statements were and how much they affected women who heard them.

“These conversations are uncomfortable, but they’re necessary because change is uncomfortable,” she said.

This song is a lead single for a new project Simi is working on which she aims to release early next year.

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