Diariata N’Diaye, words to heal the ills

Diariata NDiaye words to heal the ills

For more than twenty years, Diariata N’Diaye has used art and words to raise awareness among the youngest about sexist and sexual violence. Slammer, author, entrepreneur, facilitator, founder of the Résonantes association… As soon as she has an idea, Diariata N’Diaye has to try it. Always at the service of the fight against violence against women, the fight of his life.

When we arrive in the Parisian café, Diariata N’Diaye is finishing another meeting, drawing her diary, and already planning the next one. ” I never pick up “, she admits with a smile. At 39, this mother of three is bursting with energy. Even ” tired », she manages to take the time to retrace her journey and tell us her story.

It must be said, Diariata N’Diaye knows how to do it with words. During conferences, workshops, concerts, and especially from a very young age, she is used to speaking. His way of expressing himself? Slam, an oral poetry that plays on the rhymes and consonances of sentences. A trained youth leader, Diariata N’Diaye combines this musical creativity with her years of commitment to equality between men and women.

Because for more than ten years, Diariata N’Diaye has been organizing writing workshops in schools, sharing her music, and using it as a support during slam shows to raise young people’s awareness of issues of violence against women. But it doesn’t stop there. In 2015, she founded the Resonant association and immediately launched one of the first applications to help victims of violence, called ” App-Elles “. ” In the beginning, I put a lot of pressure on myself. Now I realize that I can’t do everything, and I accept that. I have the chance to have a good time in my job and to love what I do. Because all this is much more than a job. It’s my whole life “, she confides.

This is why to introduce herself, Diariata N’Diaye makes it a point of honor to define herself as an “artivist”. ” I wouldn’t assume that I was simply called an artist. I don’t distract people. My creativity can only be engaged “, she asserts.

Music as an escape

Diariata N’Diaye begins to write from the age of 11, and very quickly discovers the liberating power of words. ” Uncool things have happened to me. I think I needed to exteriorize. I had no interlocutors and I thought it was great to have a notebook, because you write what you want without judgment “, she says, combing her long blond braids.

And if this commitment against violence is so close to her heart, it is because the French woman herself endured it. Born in the Vosges, fifth of thirteen children, Diariata went to her 15th birthday in Senegal, her country of origin, for the first time. ” For me, I was going to discover my country. Actually, it was my wedding, and I didn’t know. I found myself two weeks in town in this trap. And the only urgency I had was to go back, to come back to France “, she testifies. The young woman does not prefer to give more details about this period of her life. ” It is not because I am committed to the subject of violence that it is easy for me to talk about my experience “, she says.

For her, everything has already been said in her piece of slam “ French from Africa to pop-rock tunes, where she describes her feelings and explores the theme of forced marriage.

I just agreed to marry my cousin

The real one, my father’s brother’s son. For them it’s a good match

I was not in

Looks like I’m the loser […] I fit in the frame, I fit in the box

Here’s one more that ticks the box. »

One of his main sources of inspiration: the French rapper bams, which she discovered at the age of fifteen. ” It had a real impact on me, in my construction, in my thinking. In his single ‘No’she taught me to say no for real “, she recalls. Diariata then becomes aware of the power of music: that of touching people, their emotions, their sensitivity. To influence an audience. To lay bare to allow others to testify in turn “. Faced with this observation and once her literary bac in her pocket, she obtained her BAFA then turned to animation with young people.

Become the “Bams” of young people and raise their awareness

In 2009, after being spotted by the Observatory of violence against women in Seine-Saint-Denis, Diariata created her first slam show, ” Words for Evils », with his group Dialem. Surprise: at the end of her first performance, a line of young people want to chat with her, this woman with a tender and assured gaze who appears as the big sister that many have never had. ” I say to myself, that’s it, I’m somebody’s Bams “, she remembers. Except that Diariata is unable to answer their questions and direct them correctly. So, she gradually trained in gender equality and support for victims of violence. ” At first I improvisedshe acknowledges. I learned on the field then I refined my technique by practicing. »

Always smiling, Diariata N’Diaye puts you at ease. Familiarize yourself immediately. Punctuates his sentences with ” you see ? “. A relaxed attitude that she uses at each writing workshop with young people. ” Teenagers are in the midst of construction, so it is possible to have a positive impact on them. There are so many people who have a bad influence on young people that I can’t give them all the space “, she assures playfully.

Thus, through her encounters with children, Diariata embodies this benevolent adult figure that she has never known. ” In reality, all I did was because I myself would have liked to receive the advice that I am giving today to young people. With them, she creates a framework of trust, testifies to her journey, is delighted with the bond created between the students and leaves them completely free of the content of their texts.

Entrepreneur and creator of the “App-Elles” application

His Résonantes association was born a few years later, driven by the unfailing determination of its founder. “ When I create something, it’s because it doesn’t exist and the public needs it. “Diariata is developing an information site dedicated to young people, designing materials for its interventions on gender-based and sexual violence, and organizing discussion groups, exhibitions, workshops…” Our role at Résonantes is to adapt to young audiences, to their constraints, and to find a way to reach them. “, she specifies.

At the same time, the Frenchwoman is diving head first into the world of tech, with the creation of the “App-Elles” application. This free tool aims to facilitate procedures for victims of violence and their relatives, and of win time “Says Diariata. The application has an alert feature that allows you to notify three previously chosen trusted contacts in the event of danger. ” Once alerted, these people hear live what is happening and have real-time GPS tracking. They can then help the victim », explains the founder.

Except that creating an application turns out to be an obstacle course, and that, Diariata quickly understood. ” I didn’t expect it to be so complicated and so expensive, nor that there would be so many blockages in the associative world because of distrust of tech! she exclaims. So Diariata develops a strategy. She presented her project to numerous competitions. And his ” good idea is rewarded: App-Elles has won 27 awards in eight years, two Innovation Award ” At CES in Las Vegas in 2019, then in 2023, and obtains financial allocations. In 2022, the application has more than 92,000 users and 29,000 alerts issued.

A fight in the service of others

Since the launch of App-Elles, Diariata has written an educational slam book on school bullying – Arsène and Marcelle harass me – for children, parents and teachers. She integrated the commission of violence made to the women of the High Council for Equality in June 2022, and continues tirelessly to push for more action against all types of violence.

Over the years, Diariata has remained bold in her commitment. Tenacious. Sincere. ” I need to see concrete, victories, otherwise this fight becomes too depressing. And I see it all the time. Meeting a person who testifies to the violence they are subjected to for the first time is already a success. That alone is enough for me. »

When asked if she is proud of the progress made, Diariata retorts without hesitation: “ I have no personal pride in the actions I take. Everything I do is for the cause, for the victims. But on the other hand, I’m proud to have done what I wanted, to have gone to the end of my ideas, to have been stubborn. His next ongoing projects: extend Résonantes to New York and develop the services offered by App-Elles.

Today, Diariata N’Diaye continues to write. His next track, Dick-sa is aimed directly at the perpetrators of violence. The first person she played the new song to was her older brother, who she rapped with as a child. But this kid who scribbled entire notebooks of text grew up and learned. Despite everything, if there is one thing that Diariata N’Diaye will always keep in her, it is this visceral need to put her thoughts on paper.