Impressive team of talented female artists collaborate on inspiring creative project

International Women's Day (IWD) provides a perfect opportunity to embark on creative collaborations, while also spreading ever-important messages of equality and inclusion.

For Niv Saberi (a nuclear engineer in her day job!) and her team of creative colleagues, IWD provided a useful moment to employ their talent to send strong messages of women's empowerment via song and lyrics. The call to produce a video for the IWD's Women Rappers Project was heard loud and clear by Niv and her international team of women.

Using an exciting blend of rap and imagery, their IWD creation reinforces the notion that young women are capable of so much. Their inspiring video starts with a salient quote: "In this world there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise."

Through an extraordinary level of sheer effort, tenacity and creativity, Niv and her team created something truly marvellous that will continue to inspire young women across the world.

The creative collaboration also aimed to increase awareness about work done by the Mona Foundation, a global community of individuals and organizations who believe that the key to alleviating poverty and achieving sustained community transformation lies in education and gender equality.

A creative concept inspiring the creation

The creative concept came together when Niv was reflecting on the educated and talented women in her life and how lucky she was to have such a strong female support system. Niv wanted to showcase these women in their most natural contexts - doing what they love, from playing sports to making music or food.

"Most of the women featured in the video have full-time jobs and professions outside of what is shown in the video and I thought it was truly incredible to acknowledge how multi-faceted and passionate we all are as individuals," explains Niv. "They truly are more than what you see in the video. They are academics, entrepreneurs, engineers, future lawyers, social workers, health care professionals, marketing visionaries, leadership developers, social and environmental progress activists, artists, musicians and more." 

Choosing the right song 

Video: Inspiring young women to achieve their dreams.

Niv knew right from the start that she wanted to do a cover song, but she wasn't so certain about which piece might best convey her ideas. Thankfully the perfect song came to her - and yet it was in the most unexpected of circumstances.

"I was getting an oil change at a car dealership when 'Girl on Fire' by Alicia Keys came on the radio. I soaked up the lyrics and suddenly realized this was to be our cover song," she reflects. 

Bringing together the right all-female team 

With the concept defined and the song chosen, it was then time for Niv to bring her friends together and to cleverly combine their unique sets of creative skills in order to create their video.

"I instantly contacted my creative friend Megan Sauer. She sings, makes hilarious youtube videos, has her own production company, and she's a total multi-hyphenate," says Niv.

Niv then reached out to further friends including sing-songwriter Haifa Behbs and coordinators Carmel and Samin. Together, they set up their own pop-up production company and developed a quick plan in the lead up to International Women's Day.

Megan Sauer - Haifa singer

Image: Singer Haifa with creative artist Megan Sauer.

Showcasing women doing the things they love

Using social media to share their plans about creating a music video, the women then proceeded to contact various women they admired to share the concept. Around 15 women agreed to take part and sent in short video clips featuring themselves participating in their favorite activities.

Some women found extra time in their busy schedules to record an original clip for the group, while other women provided existing footage from their previous music or dance videos. Overall, the team received an astounding 80 one-minute video clips.

Curating the clips proved to be the hardest and most time-consuming element of the video production but Megan worked incredibly hard to achieve a great outcome and created the overall music video so seemingly effortlessly. 

Combining a range of skills and talent to bring the project to life

Niv and her production team combined, shared and discussed their ideas using social media and shared Google Docs - and they executed their vision with a robust Action Plan that brought together all their unique creative skills.

Niv wrote the first draft of lyrics and sketched a story board in her notebook for the video layout. Haifa, with the help of her sister Carmel, made some further changes to the lyrics to fit her soulful singing style and then commenced sound recording in her home. Megan brought the vision together, coming up with the mosaic style imagery where the women are looking side-to-side as though they know each other. This emphasized the idea of female unity and collaboration that makes the video so powerful.

Connecting with rapper Raven the Science Maven

Raven Science Maven

Image: Raven the Science Maven - rapper, molecular scientist, educator and researcher.

For Niv, one of the most amazing challenges accomplished in producing their video was finding their rapper, Raven the Science Maven who lives, works and records from Buffalo, New York.

"I had started re-writing the lyrics to the song and realized we still needed a rap element to being the creation together," says Niv. 

"As none of us rap, we still needed to find our rapper within the team. While Megan put together a back-up clip of her rapping in case we couldn’t find a rapper (and she totally nailed it!), we still needed to explore our options finding a female rapper."

Niv made a call-out poster and ran it on social media asking if any amateur rappers might be interested in collaborating on a creative project. The production team shared it across their various social media platforms but had no luck in finding their rapper. Finally, Niv reached out to Instagram icon Sarah Habibi, PhD Researcher, educator and make-up art geek, knowing Sarah had a large following and so asked her to put a call out to her followers that the group needed a rapper.

Shortly after, Niv got a direct message from Raven the Science Maven so she presented the idea and thankfully Raven was keen to get involved. 

"When we first interacted with Raven, it felt as if we all already knew each. I had already created some generic lyrics for the rap element but Raven adjusted them to meet her flow, while also respecting the overall message, then recorded her contribution in her studio. The team had never met Raven in person since we all live in Canada yet Raven lives in the United States," explains Niv. "We did have plans to meet-up after the video was made but sadly COVID-19 travel bans prevented that."

Emphasizing the importance of female education

With the song and rap recorded, clips edited and final video produced, all that was left was to share it with the world. 

Niv believes that through education, women and girls can gain the necessary tools to be economically independent and to support themselves and their families - and contribute to the positive growth of communities, especially in underdeveloped countries. "The right to education provides access to equal opportunities. I believe that knowledge is power, and ultimately this knowledge can promulgate universal peace and progress for humanity."

So a great creative collaboration was certainly achieved by Niv and her creative team. After all, Niv does live her life by a very relevant and impactful favorite mantra: "Let your vision be world embracing."  

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