In “Girls don’t always sing about boys” British-Nigerian singer and songwriter Ego Ella May soul- and skillfully deconstructs conceptions of gender and ‘normalcy’ that intoxicate our societies. Speaking about her motivation to write the song, she told Atwood Magazine: “I was sick of hearing romantic love songs! I wanted to address other things that I was learning about and reading, and so I did.” In the monotonous refrain she encourages women to break the vicious cycle of role expectations in which they seem to be caught in.
“We’ll go to school and then get married and start a family
And they’ll go to school and then get married and start a family
The cycle continues
When we don’t question what we’re into
We’ll go to school and then get married and start a family“
In the track she advocates for socially marginalized groups like homosexuals, homeless and mentally ill persons demanding acceptance and services: “But I hear love is the only thing worth fighting for/ As well as loving the same sex/ Sanitary kits for homelessness/ Grenfell, mental health/ For all“. Here, she makes reference to the trauma haunting the survivors of the Grenfell fire that killed 72 individuals in June 2017. The intensity and number of cases are now considered a mental health disaster by experts.
May points to the shallowness of the music industry, which rather reproduces sexist content than dealing with serious problems like environmental degradation:
“What if I wanna talk about suffering?
In the earth
The ocean plastic happenings
Would anybody listen at all
If I don’t parade in a bra, only to get my point across“
The song inspired Ego Ella May, Ayishat Akanbi, Grace Acladna and Sophia Thakur to have an inspiring conversation about gender based misconceptions, which is highly recommendable. You can see it here.