“One love” – Bob Marley’s iconic song re-released in support of families affected by COVID19

Sudanese artist Tayeb Hajo part of the global solidarity anthem in support of UNICEF’s Reimagine campaign

Mai El Shoush
Photo of Sudanese Artist 249toodope
UNICEF
17 July 2020

Bob Marley’s everlasting message about the power of love and solidarity is more important than ever as families face a difficult time of being apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions continue to call for equality. 

UNICEF teamed up with the Marley family, Tuff Gong International and Amplified Music to reimagine the iconic song One Love – a global fundraising appeal to governments, the public, donors and the private sector to respond, recover and reimagine a post-COVID-19 world fit for children

The song, released today by Tuff Gong International and Amplified Music Ltd and available on all major streaming platforms, was recorded by the Marley family as a true global anthem and in response to a call by UNICEF to help reimagine a fairer, more just world for children whose lives have been upended by COVID-19. Our hope to continue supporting families and to honor the late Bob Marley – is through solidarity and cooperation.

The song and music video also come during the year-long celebration of Bob Marley’s 75th birthday and features artists and musicians from Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Jamaica, Mali, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States.

UNICEF Sudan spoke to Sudanese artist Tayib Hajo (249 TooDope) one of the artists featured in the Iconic song. Here is what he had to say:

Q - How did your involvement with the Reimagine: One Love campaign come about?

An old friend of mine put me in contact with Amplified Music Group towards the end of 2019. This isn’t my first project with them, in February 2020 I was chosen amongst other artists to participate in Harry Belafonte’s 93rd birthday celebration where I was meant to perform at the Apollo Theater in New York City. However, due to Sudan being amongst the countries added to the travel ban to the US by the President of the United States I was not able to participate.

Q - What does it mean to you to be involved and working on the socially conscious production of the iconic One Love song and alongside the family of Bob Marley to help raise awareness on the pandemic and to support children who urgently need help?

I must say that I haven’t yet fully comprehended how monumental this entire moment is to me. It feels like I’m operating on autopilot right now while posting and promoting the project.

On a personal note, this means a lot to me, to know that my music is helping make a positive impact where it’s needed.

Q - What message would you like to share regarding being one of just a few select international artists featured on this powerful initiative and the only one to represent Sudan – especially with recent challenges including the revolution, that the country and people have experienced?

I hope this serves as a message to all Sudanese creatives based in Sudan that their dreams are not only valid but possible as well. Despite all the challenges thrown our way in the year 2019 with the revolution and 2020 with the global pandemic - we will prevail. The world will be reintroduced to Sudan properly.

Tweet to toodope
UNICEFSudan
A fan tweeting to 249toodope

Q - What is the biggest memory you will take from this experience and why?

There are two things that stand out to me regarding this project. The first is that out of all the artists involved I was the only one given the chance to write my own lyrics, to me this is the biggest accomplishment within this big achievement.

The second thing that stood out to me is once I shared the announcement of the project on Twitter one of my followers Tweeted replying, “you’ve made us proud and you give all of us hope. I went to the refugee camps in the west and when the refugee kids knew I was from Khartoum they asked me if I knew ‘TooDope’ and they played me your music. I just wanted you to know your place in the hearts of the new generation and work for them because they have entrusted you with this”.  

Q - How would you describe your music and style?

Youthful but wise, serious but entertaining. As for genre, I have been experimenting with a lot of different sounds and styles but the one thing in common with all the styles and genres is that they are generally HipHop, RnB, Afrobeat’s, Jazz and so on.

Q - Do you consider this as a turning point for your career? What will you do differently going forward when it comes to the messaging in your lyrics?

I would be crazy to not consider this a major turning point for my career and a milestone. As for the messaging in my lyrics, that will always depend on the time of music I am creating at that moment. Some songs demand more seriousness and in-depth lyrics. While others are made for pure entertainment that will obviously not have as much of a message as for a serious song. The reason behind this is that I don’t want to be boxed in to be a ‘type’ of artist. I am not a political artist, freedom fighter nor am I just another rapper. I am all the above, depending on the situation and social climate.

Q - This project is a great example of the power of positive music and collaboration and you describe yourself as an activist - some of your past lyrics have been described as controversial - following your experience with this campaign, how do you see yourself taking on more of a responsibility to use your voice and music to be a positive role model, especially for your younger fans?

I think as an artist my biggest responsibility is to report the truth. As artists or creatives in general we’re meant to serve as mirrors of our society reflecting the good the bad and the ugly and everything in between. Obviously, that might not always be a positive reflection however it’s never a false one.

Rap has always been a social commentary type of genre. I always try to maintain socially aware and reflective lyrics in all my music that speaks to the contemporary Sudanese experience  

 

One Love is available to download on all major streaming platforms and to watch on YouTube.

In addition to donations unlocked through Pandora’s augmented reality filter, the jewellery brand will continue to match every dollar donated by the public to UNICEF's One Love activation until 31 August 2020, as part of the company’s total contribution of up to US$1 million to the activation.