Her eyes spoke a truth that her lips won’t say. She had seen brokenness and had been pushed to the curb, yet her hope and faith in herself and the rest of humanity fails to fade.
Many of you would remember Salti as Paulette whose velvet voice failed to keep her in the “Mentor” talent contest. Her firm voice, won hearts of many and further fuelled her passion for music.
As Paulette Broohm sat across me at the coffee shop, I saw a warrior and I had to get a glimpse of her battles. I soon learnt that she was signed on a 5year contract after her appearance on Mentor. The contract was nothing but an excuse to exploit her virgin talent and leave her in the dark, not seeing an improvement in her career. After two years of slavery, Paulette chose to walk out of the company, leaving her unable to commercially practice music for three years. I imagined how this would have felt, for someone who lived by her voice.
Salti is like most plain surfaces that have seen the tide; she isn’t without her own spots. While doing my research, I learnt she had been vilified in the media for bearing a child with a married man. It must have been a dark time for the songstress, who stayed confident enough to preserve the life of the innocent child. Her experience made me realize how our society has made women a scapegoat, in the bid to protect men; victimizing a woman and pinning a medal of innocence on a man. Salti wished not to discuss this topic in the bid to protect her growing son. However, I soon began to understand that her experience had strengthened her faith and devotion, leading to her new name.
“In the Bible, Salt is symbolical; a symbol of preservance and betterment. I want to be the salt of the music industry, preserving and improving the elite standard Ghana is known for”, She said while explaining the name, “Salti”.
When I asked Salti, how she shuffles her job, motherhood and music, she took a second to process her thoughts- probably looking back at the long years and sleepless nights. “I mean, deciding which of the 3 takes priority ever day is a challenge. You want to be there for your son, but at the same time you want to build sneering for him. So when I had my boy. I decided to take two years of everything to be home and take care of him. Meaning work, music and everything head to take a back seat, ’cause I wanted to be there with him. Not missing the important moments. His first step, first words etc.”, she said as I was drawn close to tears, remembering how my mother would shuffle tailoring, homeworks and micromanaging two young boys.
Salti’s story is a mirror to many African women, whose lake of a medium to speak, puts a cloak of invisibility on their struggles. I needed to fully take of this cloak, so I chose to speak about her weight gain, “When you have a child, you gain weight, your body is no longer the way it was. With an industry that is so obsessed with looks, you are bullied and made to feel uncomfortable been seen in Public.”, She narrated.
I asked if she still felt bullied and she said, “I’ve learnt to embrace it. Plus size is beautiful. I am beautiful. I have a beautiful boy out of this. I won’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Paulette Broohm’s story isn’t an isolated story. There are many women with similar struggles, but very few with the will to keep moving. Her hope is that re-entry into the music industry would be a lesson to women like her. “You can take charge. You can be the Salt”, she said