Berenice Mulubah, a Liberian writer and self-described “culture activist” who runs the popular Liberian culture blog C Liberia Clearly is receiving submissions for an Arts and Culture Grant for US$3,000 to help a Liberian musician create a professional music video.The grant is open to Liberian musicians both in Liberia and the diaspora. Contestants must submit a song they have made, as well as a concept for a music video to accompany it. Mulubah, who is currently funding the grant herself but looking for supporters to donate to it, will select which artist has the strongest song and concept. The deadline to apply for the grant is October 31.
“The industry is really struggling,” Mulubah said. “The grant is my way of working toward improving the industry.”
C Liberia Clearly’s mission is “to promote Liberian Arts and Culture,” according to Mulubah. “A good 80 percent is on musicians and actors and actresses, fashion, the movie industry,” she said. “100 percent is on anything positive going on. A little bit of politics, a little bit of sports. Just anybody who is doing something positive.”
Mulubah, who was born and raised in Harper, Maryland County, Liberia but now lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina, United States, started C Liberia Clearly about two years ago, after searching for information on Liberian entertainment. “When I googled Liberian entertainers, only Nigerian and Ghanaian entertainers popped up,” she said. “There wasn’t really anybody writing.”
“When you google Liberia, the majority of what you see is what we went through during the war,” Mulubah said. “This is not showing the whole picture of what Liberia is.”
Mulubah wanted for Liberians to be able to “see the whole picture, who we are.” So she started a Facebook page, promoting the Liberian entertainers she knew. The page became very popular. “Right now I’m pretty close to 30,000 followers,” she said. “From the Facebook page I went up to doing a blog.”
Mulubah conceptualized and funded the Arts and Culture Grant in response to what she saw as the neglect of Liberian arts and culture. “All the focus is on politics, education, health care, which I’m not saying is not important,” she said.
“It’s like a stepchild in the development process,” she said. “We’re recovering from a civil war and a lot of development needs are being done, but the concentration on arts and culture is not a priority for most Liberians.”
“Liberia has a rich culture that we really don’t know of because a lot of the musicians lack confidence in Liberian arts and culture,” Mulubah said. “So a lot of them try to imitate other arts and culture.”
Mulubah said that much of the reason for this was the dispersal following the Civil War causing many Liberians to lose their sense of identity. “Before the war, even though I was a little girl, I remember dancing, listening to Liberian music,” she said. “I saw people indulging in Liberian culture.”
“We just need to find our way back to who we are and find our way back to enjoying who we are,” she said.
When asked why the grant is only focused on musicians, Mulubah said, “I figured the best way to do this is through music. Everyone relates to music, music is a universal language.”
The winner of the grant must follow stipulations on how the funds will be spent. “The money has to go toward video production,” Mulubah said. ” A lot of the artists are making real good hit songs, but they’re not making any good videos.”
Mulubah has ventured into other aspects of Liberian culture. She has published a collection of her poems, Landing Safely on a Solid Rock, and is in the process of publishing her second book, Purple Honey Lip. She has also recently registered Zama Records, for which she is looking for talented musicians who emanate professionalism.
Mulubah hopes that more Liberians will be supportive of Liberian arts and culture, both financially and through interest and motivation of artists. “Be more proud,” she said. “Nation-proud. Be patriotic. Enjoy the Liberian music. Enjoy the Liberian food. Enjoy the Liberian fashion. Enjoy being Liberian through arts and culture.”
Mulubah’s Facebook page is available here. To contact her regarding applying for the Arts and Culture Grant, donating to the grant, or her other work, she can be reached by phone at 910-554-7600 or email at email@example.com.
Source: The Bush Chicken