A collaboration of two Ukrainian stars, 2016 Eurovision song contest winner Jamala and rapper Alyona Alyona, led to the release of a single called ‘Take it all’ and music video which addresses the problem of cyberbullying. When looking for a subject for the song, both Jamala and Alyona Alyona said they wanted to move away from more traditional subjects like love and relationships.
Prior to finding fame, Alyona Alyona said she was bullied for her looks. Jamala, whose family are Crimean Tatars, said she was bullied as a child for not having much money and for her ethnicity.
Even when I was not a singer, people still hated me for the way I looked. It did not matter whether I performed good deeds or bad deeds, the hatred was always there. So I thought it could make a cool topic for the track, first of all. Secondly, when many people started to follow me on social media, I noticed a lot of hypocrisy,” rapper Alyona Alyona said.
“I also experienced bullying for different reasons at school. I was poorly dressed, I did not have enough money, [I was bullied] for ethnic reasons, etc. There were different situations. That is why, you know, I think we keep carrying our burden from childhood times. Both myself and Alyona. It seems to me that all issues come from childhood,” singer Jamala said.
Both said they consider themselves victims of cyber bullying after their fame grew, adding that they continue to receive threats and insults via social media, and decided to call attention to the problem through music.
Considering the reasons why people bullied others, Alyona Alyona said she thought it was because bullies were victims themselves, either in the past or in the present. “When a person shows aggression towards you in a form of bullying or any other form, it means he is not happy himself and is doing it because he is a subject of the same bullying probably at home, probably among other people, probably he experienced it in the past. Therefore, a person reflects certain events in their life. We need to sympathize, understand, embrace and say: ‘Yes, you are probably right. Fine!'” the rapper said.
Jamala said she wanted to embrace her vulnerability to online insults in writing the song, and that she did not want to stay quiet about the problem. “One must not be silent and afraid of being vulnerable. I am vulnerable. I am vulnerable and for that reason, I wrote such a song. I wanted to be heard. I did not want to keep it quiet. I did not want to be hated after I went through such a difficult path. Probably I constantly make some mistakes because I am a human being. And no one can hate me for that. No one can kill me for that, tag me for that,” Jamala said.
According to 2017 UNICEF research, 24% of Ukrainian children between 11-17 years old were victims of bullying, and almost half of them did not report the incidents. In 2019, legislation against bullying came into force in Ukraine and prescribed a fine or community service for perpetrators. If the perpetrator is a child, their parents are held accountable.