The Triple Threat from South Sudan
As a musician, model, and activist, Amanie Illfated uses her music to tell a remarkable story. The south Sudanese artist experienced childhood in a refugee camp in northern Uganda, due to the civil war in Sudan during the 80’s and 90’s. In 1992, Amanie and her family found refuge in Canada. From there, Amanie moved in with her aunt in Toronto to begin studying music at Scarborough Academy for Technological, Environmental, and Computer Sciences at W. A. Porter Collegiate Institute. At the young age of 16, Amanie knew she wanted to be an artist.
As a result, both racism and cultural set backs forced Amanie to face even more challenges. In an interview with Arts Help, Amanie explains, “One of my greatest barriers were my parents and the cultural belief that a girl is not supposed to be doing what I do. The other is just being Black in the industry.” These adversities made her stronger, and she has made a name for herself, quite literally. Amanie states “illfated” means ‘hated against,’ or ‘to have an ill fate,’ in her home village. This act of sarcasm shows those who put her down just how far she’s risen. Music is her medium for spreading messages of perseverance and power.
Dynamic Music Style
Without a doubt, Amanie Illfated’s music is unique and refreshing. By intertwining elements from R&B, Afropop, and reggae, she has created an original sound to call her own. The lyrics captivate the audience with Amanie’s soft, yet powerful, voice. Her vocals are silvery and smooth, so it’s no surprise she was able to gain fame off her first album, ‘SATURN’ (2019). Amanie’s major hit, “The Hills,” is her most popular song to this day. The song features personal lyrics to Amanie’s journey and struggles in life. This work, and many others, mix various languages together beautifully. The beginning is heavily R&B influenced, and picks up into an new style of Afropop. The music video gives cinematic view of the hillside landscapes, and includes representations of various cultures.
Also, as a verified artist on Spotify, Amanie has recently released a new single, ‘Higher’. This piece is slower in tempo, but still just as catchy. She communicates a message of self love in the beginning of the intimate music video. Amanie’s voiceover reveals how she has felt at rock bottom.
Above all, her bilingual tracks have gotten her noticed in the music industry. Her songs debuted on international radio shows, as well as television. Amanie made appearances in Canadian Musician magazine and performed at both Afrofest and Francophonie En Fête. In 2021, Amanie won the title of “Best R&B Artist of the Year” at the South Sudan Music Awards. It is important to note her multiple nominations for “Best Female Artist” by the African Entertainment Awards, and “Musician of the Year” from the South Sudanese ACE Awards. She is an inspiration to many, and her music promotes messages of self empowerment.
Using the Platform for a Cause
In addition, Amanie is an activist for education, especially for those growing up in refugee camps like herself. She firmly believes that education is empowerment, and donates 50% of her merchandise proceeds toward educating young girls in East Africa. Amanie calls this, The Dream Collection, noting the symbol of the butterfly on both the shirts and necklaces. Amanie describes, “Each handcrafted necklace has a butterfly that symbolizes empowerment, liberation and growth and is a physical representation of the dreams of refugees and immigrants around the world.”
Overall, Amanie uses her social media platforms to acknowledge the contributions and show how they are helping the world. A recent post on both her website and Instagram show how Amanie and her partner, Sudan Warchild, were able to remove refugee children from camps and into schools. Fans can read the entire story here.