While Mali is not so famous for its rap scene— and even less so for its female rappers— Aminata Danioko is a rare exception. Known to her fans as Ami Yèrèwolo, she is one of the first Malians to produce her own album and solo tours. Even down to her look, Ami has abandoned the traditional colorful fabrics and crown-like head wraps worn by Malian women for short swinging dreads and casual wear. She has gained a continent-wide following paired with high-energy performances that bluntly address issues such as sexism, injustice, and backstabbers. Ami considers herself to be an activist, committed to the right of women. Her single, “Non À La Violence Faites Aux Femmes,” was so influential that she was invited to present it to the press at the National Museum of Bamako in the presence of the Canadian Embassy’s political advisor to Mali, Miriam Van Nie, and the representative of UN Women, Coumba Bah. The song, written in a mix of French and the regional language of Bambara, calls for the liberation of women and hopes to make change so that the woman are no longer terrorized.
Yèrèwolo’s Facebook page has 99,000 followers and most of her YouTube videos have approximately 40,000+ views. While these numbers may not seem impressive to those who are used to the million-view superstars we have in America, only 12% of Mali’s 18 million population have access to the Internet. Not to mention much of Mali’s music is spread through unregistered file sharing on cell phone networks, making a regional following impossible to track. Regardless, her concerts and shows fill parks and stadiums. One of Ami’s highest achievements was when she was named in the Top 10 Finalists for the Radio French International Discovery Prize held in Senegal. Her positive messages and impactful numbers are giving a new image to her native town of Bamako, Mali.