Natasha Beckley, commonly known by her stage name Swadu d Savage is a hip hop superstar from Freetown, Sierra Leone. Swadu is famous for her unapologetic attitude and inspiring confidence expressed in her music. While many female African celebrities strive for picture-perfect bodies and appearances in order to appeal to beauty standards, Swadu has always embraced her curves and tall figure in her performances. Her music demonstrates the versatility of women in Africa in proving that femininity and toughness are not mutually exclusive.
In her 2021 song WARN DEM Swadu seeks to inspire women to rise above the criticism and embrace the power of self-love. While the male-dominated hip hop scene “is riddled with musical lyrics that amplify and normalize hypermasculinity, homophobia, sexism, and objectification of women”(Oriade 785), Swadu’s music seeks to empower women to reclaim their sex appeal while still celebrating female intelligence and grit. WARN DEM also tells the story of Swadu’s own rise to the top as she explains how she only achieved success in the industry when she “blocked out the voices” (1:39) and followed the guidance her mother had instilled in her; that she was “born to be leadin”(1:01). In line with her body-positive ideology, Swadu makes sure to call attention to the power in her imperfections and calls on the people of Sierra Leone to “accept me as I am with my goodness and my flaws”(1:52). Conscious of her immense creative influence in Africa, Swadu presents her lyrical message to all women who face criticism regarding their bodies or career aspirations. In paying homage to her connection to Sierra Leone and to the continent at large, Swadu uses this song to “warn” the world to “watch me make a difference. Watch me go beyond this green white and blue fence”(2:07). The very core of Swadu’s hip hop legacy has been resisting the overwhelming force of the patriarchy, and WARN DEM speaks to the power of the movement of female empowerment in Africa.
Check Swadu out on…
Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
& Listen on…
Spotify / Apple Music / Youtube
Adelaja O. Oriade. (2020). “Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity in Nigerian Hip Hop: An Evaluation of Gender Representation in Falz the Bahd Guy’s Moral Instruction Album” https://publications.waset.org/10011439/challenging-hegemonic-masculinity-in-nigerian-hip-hop-an-evaluation-of-gender-representation-in-falz-the-bahd-guys-moral-instruction-album