When one thinks of South African house music Cape Town hardly comes to mind, and in the same thought rarely does the empowerment of women. While the genre is well populated with women’s voices it is less known for carrying their stories in the lyrical narratives. Cape Town vocalist Jackie Queens’ latest single GIRLS seeks to change this. Released on Women’s Day (August 9), Queens wrote the song after a heated conversation with family about their youngest sister having to dress modestly to avoid being raped. “It wasn’t the first time but for some reason I was very angry that day. I just kept thinking how something as simple and innocent as wanting to look good for yourself at 12 years old can be twisted in such a way, and how through a series of periodic snuffing, a bright spark can quite easily be put out to suit some arbitrary expectations of how girls or women should act” says Queens.
The song then morphed into what Queens wanted her sister to know, with words encouraging her to own her identity. “I think of it as an imaginary bag I’d like her to carry with all the things she uses to claim who she is for herself “ adds Queens. This is most evident in the second verse of the song:
When I smile, this happiness
All the joy, is mine to keep
Makes no difference, what you see
This magic, is mine to keep
Body positivity and women owning their own bodies versus the world’s perceptions about who owns them, what they must do with them and how to keep “safe” are conversations that we’re all having. This song speaks to girls and women in a way we can understand and appreciate.
The crux of GIRLS is celebration. Of girl and womanhood, of love for oneself and holding each other up. As such the song features soul musician Deslynn Malotana and Bonj Mpanza leader of Afro Future band The CITY. Produced by Durban’s prolific Enoo Napa the song was recorded in partnership with Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. It is available for free on the studios’ soundcloud page and on South African digital store Xclusiveplay.co.za using the code GIRLS.