Some of my twitter followers may have noticed my recent tweets and retweets involving the word #Banji! If you haven't found what it means yet, now is the moment for you! B.A.N.J.I stands for 'Be Authentic Never Jeopardise Individuality' which is a strong and powerful message that I feel is much needed in the media driven world we live in today. Constantly we are being fed information leading us to believe we need to look or act a certain way to fit into society. However Sharaya J - a rising star mentored by Missy Elliott is having none of this, creating a breath of fresh air in the current music world. Her debut single 'Banji' spreads the word about embracing your unique qualities and not changing for anybody. It is out on iTunes so get your copy here.
#Banji is becoming a popular trend and is taking the web by storm. It feels good to see such a positive force being shared increasingly around the world. As a female music producer in a male driven industry, I have always been a strong believer in staying true to yourself and following your dreams no matter what. This is why Missy Elliott has been a strong influence in my life and it touches my heart to know that everybody else who feels this way is speaking up and pulling together as a unit. Hopefully this will help people who have lost their way due to pressure from others, to open their eyes and find love within themselves again.
Below are some videos I have recently been enjoying created by folks who have been inspired by the #Banji movement.
Are YOU Banji?
Sharaya is very humble, much like Missy Elliott and interacts with her fans on a regular basis. She welcomes her audience to share stories of what they have been through and why they are #Banji.
If you feel you are #Banji, Sharaya J would love to hear from you! Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and see if you make it onto her Testimonial Tuesdays (see below). I particularly like the first story on this video as I rock a mohawk myself! Enjoy!
Yes! The rumors are true. Missy Elliott really is back after 7 years and has hit her fans hard by releasing not ONE but TWO songs, titled 9th Inning & Triple Threat (OUT NOW so go grab your copies from iTunes).
I cannot wait for the album to drop. Everybody who went to school with me will know I have always been a massive fan of Missy Elliott and her music. She is the reason I am a producer and songwriter today! Her music inspires me at every level. As I state in my YouTube interview, the fact Missy has shown support for me and my musical dream via twitter is the ultimate blessing and keeps me going. I could go on forever about why I love Missy but let me introduce todays blog!
#KeepMusicReal is my hashtag for today because Missy brought up a point I have been thinking about for ages!
Missy's fans (also known as #MEaddicts) have been voicing how various stations are not accepting their requests to play Missy’s two comeback tunes. Elliott is a HUGELY, well-known, respected musician with millions of followers and has worked with the biggest artists in the game. She has always stayed true to her hip hop roots and has every right to be blasted on every station like before. But it seems today the industry is less about the talent and truth, and more about forcing listeners to grow accustomed to nonsense by recycling trash & replaying it until people find it catchy. Does this mean Missy is going to 'change' to fit the pop music world like some other hip hoppers have been doing? Hell no.
In response to @9thWonderofPR,who was describing how he stands by Missy and refuses to settle for the ‘bubblegum and foolery’ the stations are pushing today, Missy stated:
‘Good music has become bad music and bad music is good music now smh! They not giving ppl what they want 2 hear. But hey I change music, always been ahead of time and I will continue 2 be and ppl will have 2 catch up! But it is something str8 that's happening behind the scenes that's blocking real music from being played. That's why y’all have to flood the radio stations to so u force them to start playing different styles of music’ @MissyElliott
Amen. This does NOT mean just Hip Hop, it means but ALL styles people! This is why I chose present on AfroVibesShow home of African music! And this is why I have happily agreed to be a judge on local urban and world music talent show Bling_Ya_Ting! Because it helps support REAL music.
Let's help spread this message! Don’t just listen to real music, share it, request it. #KeepMusicReal. Let’s lift these talented artists up from underground and into todays mainstream culture. Let's make them as big as Missy has made herself, just by being herself.
How does Missy do it?
Not only does Missy hit you musically but she hits you visually. When I was a kid and even NOW, when I listen to a good song, I imagine a crazy video in my head. So as you can imagine, when I first discovered Missy Elliott I was over the moon. I thought ‘FINALLY! Somebody else with crazy ideas that has actually made them a reality’ and it gave me hope. To me, she is the only artist apart from MJ who I feel goes that extra mile to make her music-video’s unique and timeless! The only music-videos I have ever bought on iTunes are Missy's, Ludacris' and MJ's. Standing out as an individual is the most important thing any of you can do.
ShaiRai from Mean Girlz Media said to me via Skype:
'I can tell that Missy hasn’t been tainted by the industry. I can tell she kept a lot of her real friends around her from the time when she was struggling, to now. Her same crew is around her and it keeps her a grounded person. And I feel like a lot of people lose sight of just being able to connect to real people.'
So artists - don’t be afraid to fulfill those crazy ideas and just be YOU and stick with those you love and trust. And musicians - stick to your passion and do what you enjoy. Help inspire others visually. I used to get excited and choreograph dances to Missy's tracks and teach them to my friends at school because her music just makes me move. I want to get that feeling again and from more artists and I bet you do too!
Don't forget to request Missy's music on all your local radio stations!! Missy is going to spread the word and YOU CAN TOO!!!
Sazrah is a UK music producer who has composed music for BBC 1xtra, Film, Catwalk and famous artists. Her blogs are about upcoming artists, music industry tips and general chit chat!