WOMEN'S MONTH HONOREE : FANTANI TOURÉ
In honor of this International Women’s day we want to honor Fantani Touré, a global ambassador of Malian music and a powerful advocate for women’s rights in Mali, Africa. Fantani Touré is featured in collaborative artworks within the Andrea Bowers exhibition currently on at the MCA in Chicago. It was there that I recently discovered Touré and learned how she chose a life as a performer and activist over that of a princess. A descendent of one of the oldest noble families of the Malinké people, Fantani was by custom forbidden to sing in public but she defied conventions to become an internationally renowned musician who used her fame to advocate for girls' education and women's entrepreneurship. As an outspoken activist, her fight to end genital mutilation and forced marriage resulted in threats to her safety that forced her into hiding for long periods of time. Despite such threats she remained a vibrant force in the world of music and women’s rights. Fantani Touré may have passed in 2014 but her music and message will be remembered.
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