Emcee, activist, producer, and writer MC Sharon has been lending her artistic talents to Kenyan hip hop for the better part of her life. This veteran musician hailing from the township of Muhoroni is known for thought provoking music that centers around important sociopolitical issues that typically do not get recognized in mainstream pop culture. But despite commercial incentives to rap about palatable topics that reinforce existing social structures, MC Sharon refuses to compromise her art for the sake of profit. Her music is incredibly powerful because it draws from her authentic experience and gives listeners insight into her own personal struggles as they relate to larger cultural phenomenon. In 2020, the artist began a new project entitled TLWAT (The Last Will and Testament) that continues to challenge the status quo of mainstream hip hop and present provocative critiques of sociocultural norms. She has been releasing music from the project throughout the past year, including the subversive track “Moment of Silence” which “is dedicated to each and every mother in the world who has lost a baby”.
“Moment of Silence” is a deep and defiant work of art that delves into both the MC’s personal experiences with miscarrying and larger themes of women’s maltreatment in response to fetal loss. Needless to say, this is not a topic that can be touched upon by adhering to parameters of mainstream rap. In a genre of music that exists like any other within a framework of patriarchal capitalism, most successful hip hop artists are rewarded for supporting this system and perpetuating widespread stereotypes of women. In this established structure, women are often confined to being hypersexualized, objectified, and always dependent on male validation. MC Sharon rejects this trend and blazes a new trail in the hip hop community to humanize women and their shared experiences.
Within the song, MC Sharon divulges details of her own experience with the loss of triplets at 18 weeks along in her pregnancy, and raps that she grappled with feelings of impurity and unworthiness while considering suicide. This visceral pain was worsened for the artist by social misconceptions and public shaming surrounding pregnancy loss. The trivialization of this pain is what inspired her to write “Moment of Silence”, an anthem which gives visibility to mothers and the struggles they endure which often become punchlines. She notes that people ridicule these women and belittle them as barren and broken, but “at the same time dependent on the woman (they) be looking down upon”.
The strength held in every line of this song serves as a testament to the necessity of reframing misogynistic opinions on women’s lived experiences. As the hook ends, the emcee tells the listener to “take a moment of silence to cry, to honor, to celebrate” with the women that go unseen in their grief – a revolutionary sentiment in an industry that profits on women’s exploitation. She encourages women who have gone through similar trauma to “find the strength to extract something worthwhile out of pain” as she did. Now, as she states in “MOS”, she believes that she was not meant to carry the pregnancy to term because she was destined to deliver this message and challenge prevailing ideas of femininity and womanhood.
Support in the States: U.S. Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline (call or text): 1-833-246-2632
Perinatal Support in Kenya: Postpartum Support International Kenya