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Dharavi's 'gully rappers' urge citizens to stay home to curb covid-19 spread

The anthem and music video are a part of a larger #StayHomeStaySafe campaign supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Fear, anxiety and tensions have run high throughout the lockdown phases in densely populated areas. With significant risks of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, rap musicians from Mumbai's Dharavi, have collaborated to create a trilingual rap anthem. Using music as a powerful means to educate and unite their community, the upbeat anthem, with lyrics in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil, calls upon residents to cooperate in efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus by staying home, wearing masks and getting timely tests.

Directed by Joel D’Souza and written, composed and performed by Mc Altaf, Stony Psyko (Dopeadelicz) and Bonz N Ribz (7 Bantaiz), popular rapper Divine joins in the young stars in the music video which also features popular Bollywood, Tollywood and Marathi cinema stars such as Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Atul Kulkarni, Dia Mirza, Rana Daggubati and Suniel Shetty, lending their voice to the cause. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the ATE Chandra Foundation, have been working relentlessly to make sure the government system has adequate provision of food and medical aid in these areas; these two NGOs have also extended their support for the anthem.

The lyrics of the song aim to educate people who live in densely populated places to adopt safe and healthy habits despite the cramped quarters in which they live. Produced by Gully Gang Entertainment, the rappers who have experienced the living conditions from close quarters, reinforce that it is essential to aid the efforts of police and the doctors who are working tirelessly to save people.

Mc Altaf Shaikh of Gully Gang states, "Stay Home, Stay Safe aspires to drive home the message of how safety should be of highest importance to each and every one and we should strictly follow preventive measures as prescribed by the authorities. This track is made in three languages Hindi, Marathi & Tamil with a combined effort from Dopeadelicz & 7 Bantaiz. Right now if you are alive, consider it a blessing and stop complaining. Assist the COVID warriors in carrying out their duties diligently.”

Tony Sebastian of Dopeadelicz states, "Stay Home, Stay Safe is a multi- lingual track about the unprecedented global pandemic and we are creating awareness around the need to follow protocols and guidelines, keeping your surroundings clean, co-operating with the government and supporting the frontline workers. With unity and cooperation, we can maintain social distancing and eradicate this virus by staying home and staying safe. Jai Hind."

Nishant Mohite of 7 Bantaiz states, “Self-care is important not only for you but your family. your neighbours, your friends and other fellow citizens too. Spread awareness and stay indoors. It’s time to fight this war with peace and harmony. Support the nation and contribute as a responsible citizen to the welfare of your country. Stay Home, Stay Safe.”

Lending his support to the initiative, actor Suniel Shetty said, “It’s an absolute honour and pleasure to be a part of this beautiful initiative. These are trying times and it is so humbling to see so many people come together to spread a message, that too, so powerfully. This song truly touched my heart, and I know the emotion will speak to many. Thank you for making me a small part of it.”

Echoing his words, actor Dia Mirza said, “This effort is a wonderful example of encouraging behavioural change and spreading awareness that has been made possible with these amazing artists! I feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this effort and truly wish it encourages more people to understand the importance and need to stay home stay safe.”

Social distancing in areas where the community relies on shared spaces, such as common taps and washrooms, is a difficult task. There is also the need to improve understanding about the disease itself to overcome fear and stigma around testing, quarantine and isolation. The anthem seeks to spark a change while appealing to the community to #StaySafeStayHome.

The anthem and music video are a part of a larger #StayHomeStaySafe campaign supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the ATE Chandra Foundation that seeks to unite communities in densely populated areas in the fight against coronavirus and inspires a behavioural change using a combination of rich media assets, social media platform tie-ups and on-ground associations.

The campaign will leverage community persons to act as liaisons between patients and their family at all quarantine and isolation centres and activate targeted social media campaigns across platforms including TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube to ensure safety and health messages reach all members of the community. Apart from the video, the campaign also comprises of posters on social distancing and wearing masks, and animation videos based on PSA guidelines on how to live in overly dense populated spaces.