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Song based on Robtel Neajai Pailey’s new anti-corruption book released in Liberia
A leading Liberian musician has released a song based on a forthcoming anti-corruption children’s book written by Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Robtel Neajai Pailey.
'Jaadeh Is Integrity' is written and produced by Liberia’s premier Hip-Co musician Takun J and features vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey. It is currently airing on 61 commercial and community radio stations across Liberia, as well as on West Africa Democracy Radio.
The song is based on the forthcoming children’s book Jaadeh! written by Dr Pailey and illustrated by Chase Walker. Jaadeh!, which is published by One Moore Book, is a sequel to Dr Pailey’s critically acclaimed anti-corruption children’s book Gbagba, published in 2013.
'Children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world,' Dr Pailey says. '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.
'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.
With two previous grants secured from OSIWA, Dr 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 Representative Massa Crayton, the grant making body has funded Gbagba and Jaadeh! adaptations because it 'believes the fight against corruption needs to start with teaching children 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'.