This male rapper in Burkina Faso is trying to help stop female genital mutilation

The World

Many of us can be sqeamish when it comes to discussions about women's sexual health. There's one topic I always have trouble talking about: The practice of FGM, female genital mutilation, or excision.

Of course it's hard to discuss. We're talking about women in many parts of the world who, at a young age, have the most sensitive parts of their sex organs removed — and their mothers and fathers allow it. In some cultures, it's a tradition.

But a rapper from Burkina Faso, in West Africa, is trying to break the stigma of talking about FGM.

Smockey is a rapper who lives in the capital city of Ouagadougou and he's trying to make strides in the fight against FGM with his latest song, "Tomber la Lame," or "Drop the Blade."

In the introduction to the song, Smockey is poetic and graphic:

Each time her sex is butchered with the pretext of purity...

...three million of our sisters face this violence each year...

"Some women told me that when they listen to that song, they start crying because it's a sad song," he says.

His own family has plenty of experience in fighting FGM. "My wife is also very [skeptical] about this practice," Smockey says. When she refused to undergo it herself, she was kicked out of her house.

But he also thinks it's important for men to act, as well as women. "Men [are] not obliged to talk about this stuff, you know?" Smockey says. "It's more comfortable for us to shut our mouth, [but] I think it's better that a man is talking about [it]. ... It's a female fight, but we have [to have] the respect to denounce it, because we are part of this humanity."

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