• An Affiliate Correspondent

Up and Coming Liberian Hipco Artist Won International Award

Circle Pines — Up and coming Liberian Hipco artist, Amaze is recipient of a global creative arts award a song that educates Liberian voters.

The song "Know Who To Vote For" by Monrovia-based artist, Amaze, won the Multimedia category of the "Through Arts and Imagination" creative arts competition hosted by global civil society alliance, CIVICUS. The focus of the one-day event was to create social and democratic awareness, in search of voiceless youth talents globally. Accordingly, the event was hosted on August 12, 2018 marking International Youth Day.

"I am of the opinion, that democracy should be the business of everyone. The song is sensitizes citizens to rightly vote their consciences, void of religious or ethnic affiliation," Amaze said.

"My inspiration was to educate voters to vote right and not base on ethnicity, scholarships, or religious background."

The song was one of 15 finalists and selected as the best multimedia entry from among dozens of entries from across the globe by a panel of judges and almost 1,500 online voters worldwide.

Amaze, whose name is Henry Amazing Toe, started his music career at age 14 in Guinea. He is currently a Hipco Accountability Ambassador who mentors other underground artists to create music for social change. Hipco is a genre of dance music that blends hip-hop, R&B and traditional Liberian music with lyrics in colloquial dialects spoken in Liberia. Amaze said he has always wanted to use music for social change and has been producing social change songs for six years now.

Said Elisa Novoa, CIVICUS Youth Working Group coordinator: "The aim of this contest was to give a space for young people to express a vision for the kind of democracy they desire. It was also an opportunity to mobilise young creative minds from every corner of the globe, offering a platform to amplify their messages related to the respect of democratic values and social justice."

"In a world where information is shared with so much hate, discrimination and stigmatisation, we want to enable arts to be a tool to share messages of hope, justice and equality," said Novoa.

Prizes for the winners include a USD300 cash prize to be donated to a social change organisation of their choice.

Contestants submitted entries in three creative arts categories: written arts, which included poems, short stories and essays of 500 words or less; visual arts, which included drawings, paintings, cartoons and photography; and multimedia arts, which included short films of no longer than 2 minutes and songs.

Cláudia Cassoma, a young published author from Angola, impressed judges with her piece entitled "Chave Mestra" (Master Key), which explores the power of education, to win the written arts category. The visual arts category winner was Vandita Sariya from India, whose cartoon was inspired by a surge in intolerance she has witnessed in recent times in her country.

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