Pretty Loud is a music group from Belgrade, bringing together six girls from the Roma community. Pretty Loud is a kind of social movement. What drives them is the need to uproariously advocate equality and speak aloud about what they would change in society!

“We speak about everything through our songs. Every person can find themselves in them. And the most important thing for us is to influence young people,” said one of the members, Zlata Ristic, in an interview for www.kosovotrustbuilding.com.

Pretty Loud was founded in 2014 as a project of the GRUBB Foundation. Almost eight years later, these young girls did not stop advocating social change through music.

The topics they cover in their songs are the issues they felt on their skin – the problems they face and what people from their community, environment, and society face.

“We are fighting for women’s equality. We are fighting against early marriages, but girls have to be educated first and to decide for themselves what to do next in their lives, and not that someone is determining or imposing it on them, but to be self-aware, to have a goal to fulfill. We fight against discrimination against both women and Roma people because we felt it as Roma and women. Still, we also write love songs because we have messages about love for family, boyfriend…” – explains Zivka Fehratovic.

“For example, I am a single mother, I am an example of early marriage, and I would like for young girls to learn from my example that they do not have to do that,” adds Zlata.

Like other members of the band, she believes that education and independence are most important for the future of every young person.

“It doesn’t just apply to women. It can also apply to men. So our messages are against early marriages, against discrimination, for women’s equality, against violence against women, for everything that makes us happy and peaceful” – adds Zlata.

“For tomorrow for women standing equal next to men”

Empowering energy

Happiest and serenest they are at the performances – driven by mutual synergy, the audience’s reactions, and the need to speak loudly.

They performed all over Serbia, the region, but also abroad. You can see parts of the atmosphere in the videos on Pretty Loud’s Facebook page, but their impressions speak more about what it’s like to be on stage.

“Since my sister and I are the youngest, we always have a stage fright before the performance, but we enter the stage, the stage fright lasts another minute, and then we forget everything when we see the reaction of the audience,” says Selma Dalipi.

“I am delighted when women of different ages, who do not know us, meaning, those who are not our family members or our close friends, send us messages of support when they feel they need to open up to us and talk about their problems, so we can speak about it instead of them. They motivate us. Our grandmothers and mothers did not have the opportunity to talk about these topics, and some women do not have it still at this very moment. They share it with us, they believe in us, and we feel responsible because it is a big responsibility to give someone a good example” – explains Zlata.

“When I see smiles from the audience, then I know that I changed the opinion of at least one person. Of course, it’s not just one person, there are more, but I would be glad if I changed the opinion of only one person and know that I managed to do what I fight for” – adds Zivka.

Messages – lessons

Strong messages about the importance of support, public advocacy of what society should look like, their courage to do it unusually –heartwarming and pushes us on rethinking.

Inequality and prejudice are their everyday life, but silence on injustice is not.

“No one, absolutely no one, should put up with things that make them unhappy and dissatisfied. We all need to fight for what we want, not let others decide for us. It happens that parents decide in many cases, of course, parents think the best for us, but that does not mean that we want it, sometimes it is a husband, sometimes friends or the community are the ones expecting something from us” – says Zlata.

“Support is important to continue where we left off, and today as a single mother, I rap for all women, I dance, I have performances, and besides that, I also work. It is important that girls are educated and independent, and after that to think about family,” she added.

“We can share a lot with you, support each other and get to know each other better,” says Zivka Fehratovic.

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