The lead singer of the Freetown Collective, Muhammad Muwakil, is no stranger to activism and advocacy. His most recent efforts are focused on addressing gender-based violence and violence against women through the Love Over Everything movement.
Already, the group has been able to secure a partnership with Associated Brands Industries Limited (ABIL) and help clear the backlog of survivors awaiting help from the Rape Crisis Society.
The movement was born after Muwakil sought to use the music video for his song Oshun to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
“A year later, when it was time to release the song, I felt like I didn’t want to just do another video for another song and put it on Youtube. So what could we do to do more?” Muwakil told Guardian Media yesterday during an event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
He said they gave grants to three female filmmakers across the region to use the song as a bed to create short films dealing with women’s issues. They also partnered with the Rape Crisis Society to help clear the backlog of survivors waiting to see therapists.
As of September 29, there were 264 survivors of gender-based violence awaiting assistance from the society, 110 of them being children.
The Love Over Everything campaign began after ABIL became a corporate partner in May.
“The idea of Love over Everything is that we’ve been trying to solve the problems with force for so long - telling men don’t hit. In terms of crime, we do the exact same thing but I think not enough care and attention and love is placed at the root of the problem. I think if we attack it simultaneously, then we can solve it,” Muwakil said.
The group was also able to make a donation to Eve For Life in Jamaica.
Currently, he said the campaign is focusing on treating the issue at the root by turning to efforts at educating young men about gender-based violence.
ABIL Group Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Lok Jack, said the company was proud to be part of the movement.
“We get a lot of applications for sponsorship of events all the time and this one really hit home. It was something that when the statistics are brought out, it really highlights the type of scourge we have in society,” he said.
ABIL Marketing Manager Kathryn Inniss applauded Muwakil and the Freetown Collective for the work they’ve done on the campaign.
“It’s been viral and that’s what we wanted. To make sure people stop and listen and really come and support,” she said.
For those who wish to help support the movement, they can visit loveovereverything.love.