Promoting equality in the creative industries: "Blindfold"

Post date: 
Friday, 10 June 2016

Marie Naffah is a young singer-songwriter who was named MTV’s Unsigned Artist of 2014. When she was 18, she wrote a song called ‘Blindfold’ to try to better understand her grandmother’s experience with AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration.)

She then recorded the song with six visually impaired musicians as part of the Blindfold Project: Ashley Cox, Antonio De Lillis, Rob Ellard, Rikky James, Steve Plowmann, and Kevin Satizabal. This was to raise awareness of the fact that disability does not limit you when it comes to being creative and successful. The project was turned into a documentary, in which the blind and partially sighted musicians talk about their own experiences – how they got into music, and how it’s helped with some of the struggles they’ve come up against. 

MARIE NAFFAH - BLINDFOLD transcript (Word, 19.86 KB)

Recently, Marie gave at TED X talk at the Courtauld institute in London under the tagline 'Utopia - Breaking the Rules' about how she strongly believes that music represents a way to promote equality and shine a light on the stigmas that still exist for people with disabilities in the creative industries. For Marie, there should not be a distinction between sighted artists and visually impaired artists, there should simply be talented artists. 

MARIE NAFFAH - TEDx COURTAULD INSTITUTE TALK transcript (Word, 19.83 KB)

In a blog she wrote for the website Time for Equality, she says “working with these six musicians… taught me much more about blindness than tying a scarf around my eyes could ever do (go figure!). As a fully sighted person, I cannot see what it is like to be blind. What I can see, and have seen, is the social stigma that still surrounds the lives of people with visual impairments.

I used to think that in the UK, we were merely victims of British awkwardness when interacting with people who are visually impaired. When we meet blind people, we don’t look them properly in the eye, we tread on eggshells and speak in an uncomfortable, patronising tone. Rather than being of any practical help, we just get in their way.” (Time for Equality)

You can read the full article on Time for Equality

Do you love music?

Are you a blind or partially sighted musician who would like to join with likeminded people, or find out about local music groups in your area? The RNIB Music Advisory Service can put you in touch. Whether you're an established musician, have been inspired to learn a new skill or want to revive an old hobby they have something for you. Email mas@rnib.org.uk or phone 020 7391 2273 for more information. And if you become a member of the RNIB library, you can borrow music in your preferred format for free. 

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