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Afghan Rapper Sonita Performs “Brides for Sale” at the Skoll World Forum

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Richard Ray Perez

“I had friends who had bruises on their faces because [they were] fighting to escape child marriage.”

That’s how writer, rapper, and activist Sonita Alizadeh initiated a candid conversation with Tabitha Jackson (Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program) at the 2016 Skoll World Forum Closing Ceremony. Sonita, whose story is the subject of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary of the same name, preceded the conversation with a performance of her song “Brides for Sale.” The music video for “Brides for Sale” has spread globally, far beyond the borders of Iran where she fled from her native Afghanistan to escape the Taliban’s occupation of her hometown.

Sonita’s performance at the Skoll World Forum and her chat with Jackson dove deeply into the artist’s personal story and illuminated the role of the artist as activist. The profundity of this conversation is that Sonita is not just an artist-activist; she is also a survivor who was to be married off at 16 years old for $9,000.

Today 15 million girls are forced into child marriage every year. Sonita was among the fortunate few who escaped. Watch Sonita perform “Brides for Sale” before an enthralled audience at the Skoll World Forum, followed by Sonita’s conversation with Tabitha Jackson where we learn how the artist used her creative spirit to survive life as an undocumented child in Iran and talent as a rapper to “scream to make up for a lifetime of one woman’s silence.”

Tabitha Jackson In Conversation with Sonita

Sonita Performs “Brides for Sale”



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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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