By Niamh Colclough
Bianca Ali, core member of BLM and CEO of domestic abuse organisation The Take Back is having to put fundraising on hold, as her primary way of raising money through local music events in and around Cardiff has been halted, due to the pandemic’s effects on the music industry.
After a an abusive relationship, Bianca turned her pain into an amazing cause. After performing a spoken word piece and discovering the powerful female ‘Ladies of Rage’ group in Cardiff, she decided to dedicate her time to helping other women who had faced similar relationships. Ali said she wanted to create a safe area for women to speak about how they’re feeling.
She said: “I came across a post about raising money for survivors of domestic violence, and it was a cake sale. It was with some of the girls from Ladies of Rage and I wanted to do it to raise money for them and give back but I wanted to do something bigger than just a cake sale. So we all came together and created The Take Back, we thought up a load of ideas and thought we could make this bigger and better by using local talent.”
“The Take Back in terms of the name originated from taking back your strength, taking back your power, taking back anything that you feel that you’ve lost within domestic relationships, or mental health or any bad place that you’ve come from. I made the name up because it’s very important to me to feel as though i’ve taken back my strength and my power with everything that I had just gone through and I felt that a lot of people would be able to relate to ‘taking back’.”– Bianca Ali
The Take Back became a success within a short while of its launch, due to Ali’s large social network within the music industry, people where helping her rage large amounts of money from the start.
She said: “Fabian Dubz, the DJ, said he would DJ for us. We hosted our first event back in November 2019 for Women’s Aid and raised £700. From there we have gone on to do many different things: We had two events on International Women’s Day in March, one in a gym where we provided the talent to perform.
“We also had another one in Splott. There was an international Chilean anthem called ‘A Rapist in your Path’ and that went international, we performed that outside the BBC in Cardiff and were on Cardiff TV for that.”
A few weeks later the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Ali’s work came to a halt. Due to lockdown restrictions and drastic effects on the music industry, The Take Back struggled to keep up its momentum. Ali has managed to host a couple of events via social media in order to try and continue to raise awareness. However the pandemic has continued to show its effects.
Ali said: “I can’t do any music events at all, so The Take Back can’t do anything really since COVID has happened. We have created the “lockdown challenge” though which was on Cardiff TV too. It was a beat produced by Fabian Dubz, an idea created by myself and then together we created the lockdown challenge.
“It was a number of different rappers and MC’s and singers and people from Cardiff and Newport, jumped on a beat and did a 16 bar challenge and then we have created an EPL with them, so we are going to put them all on an EP and release it.
“So that’s one positive we have been able to create with covid but other than that we have literally not been able to do events and with the artists i’ve been working with, we’ve not really been able to get them in the studio or get videos booked and things, so its been a bit of a pain.”
Even through The Take Back has struggled through the pandemic, Ali is confident that it will re-gain its momentum as lockdown rules ease and society begins to get back to normality.