Alewya was born in Saudi Arabia raised in Sudan then relocated to the United Kingdom. Although her upbringing was highly diverse the Ethiopian roots of her mother have still shone through in her childhood. This is expressed through her most recent single entitled “Ethiopia”. She was given the opportunity to perform this song on the COLORS stage, which garnered her the most attention. This performance was the reason I knew about her.
Unlike the majority of Ethiopian musicians that make it big in countries outside of Ethiopia, Alewya often calls back to her roots. Other artists usually stick to the genre and content of music that made them famous. They usually overlook the opportunity to express their Ethiopian heritage as it is a risky move to make. As a result, it is uncommon to see wildly successful Ethiopian-descended artists like Amine and The Weeknd to actually speak about their parents’ country in their songs. They might make some nods to the culture, like adding a couple of Amharic words in their song, but they shy away from going deep into the culture.
Alewya on the other hand, with her performance on COLORS she represented Ethiopia both lyrically and aesthetically. She wore a traditional Wolayta hat as she went through her verses. Her neck and wrist tattoos were boldly visible. These tattoos are the exact one used in many parts across Ethiopia. When it comes to her lyrics, Alewya boastfully describes herself as a warrior ready to conquer any opposition. She exclaims that her Ethiopian roots are what make her the best and generally shows a sense of great pride in her country. I hope this show-stopping performance by Alewya encourages more of our artists in the diaspora to start speaking about Ethiopia. Their counterparts from West Africa can be heard speaking about their country proudly, however, there is much left to be desired from diaspora Ethiopian artists.
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