"This is for our heroes”: rap video by two French hospital porters applauds healthcare workers
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The latest release by French rap trio G7N is a tribute to the country's healthcare workers. The Grenoble-based rappers, two of whom work as hospital porters themselves, wrote and recorded the song to provide strength and encouragement to their co-workers. But the song has reached a much wider public, garnering more than 1.6 million views.
Brothers Samir and Adel Baloul and their childhood friend Djamel Tahar, who make up the rap group G7N, called their song “20H” or “8pm” because that's the time French people go to their windows eah night to clap for the healthcare workers on the frontlines against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Samir and Djamel, who work as porters in the hospital system in Grenoble, wanted the song to provide encouragement to their co-workers. The lyrics talk about their own experiences as well as paying tribute to other healthcare workers: "Doctors, cleaners, porters and nurses, you are our heroes and you make France proud. Underpaid, but on call to save the country, together we will beat this bastard Covid. Our heroes wear white.”
In this post, the rap trio explain that their song “20H” is now available on Spotify, Deezer and all other streaming platforms.
"Some of our co-workers cried when they watched it”
The song came out on March 20, three days after France went into lockdown. Since then, it has garnered more than 1.6 million views. Samir, who volunteered to transport COVID-19 patients at the Grenoble University Hospital, said that this success was totally unexpected. He spoke to the France 24 Observers team early in the morning, before heading to a shift at the hospital:
I’ve worked at the La Tronche Hospital in Grenoble for the past five years. I’ve also been part of a rap trio called G7N. Music is my passion and it allows me to take a break from the difficult things that I see at the hospital. It's a way of venting.
I got the idea to make this music video after a friend, who also works as a hospital porter, invited me to join a Facebook group. There were about 3,000 medical professionals in the group, including doctors, hospital porters and nurses. They had created the group as a way to support each other. I’ve been making music for a long time and I thought, if I don’t make something now, to reflect this moment, then what is the point of even making music?
That night, I wrote the refrain. My brother wrote the words and Djamel, who works night shifts as a porter at a clinic in Grenoble, wrote more the next day. We recorded the song immediately, just as lockdown was beginning.
"When I joined a COVID team, I was impressed by their bravery”
We also decided to make a music video. My fellow porters, the nurses, everyone participated. We filmed the video all over the University Hospital. First in my department, and then other co-workers wanted to join in too. We also filmed it in the clinic where Djamel works. We wanted to show that, yes, COVID-19 is here, but so are we.
When I joined a COVID-19 team, I was impressed by their bravery. It’s not easy. I’ve seen my co-workers get really scared. It’s a difficult decision to decide to work for the team.
I wanted to share the clip with my co-workers before releasing it. I’ll never forget the experience-- some of my co-workers cried! It affects me too. When I listen to the song, I get tears in my eyes. I honestly made the piece for my co-workers at the Grenoble University Hospital. We were really surprised by the success-- 1.5 million views is incredible. People are sharing it, following our page. So far, we’ve only gotten positive feedback.
"Stay home, stay strong, we’ll get through this, we’re going to make it”
In a video posted on the group’s Facebook page in late March, Samir thanks everyone who listened to the song and encourages everyone to keep clapping for healthcare workers at 8pm.
He says that, on a personal level, hearing people clap really boosts his morale:
Last week, I finished my shift right at 8pm. When I left work and passed by all my neighbours clapping, it really warmed my heart. This show of support gives us a boost, it gives us the strength to keep going to work, to keep fighting.
There are healthcare workers who get up every day and go to work. Stay at home, stay strong, we’re going to get through this, we’re going to make it. We stand together. All together, we’ll be strong.
Article written by Maëva Poulet