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JM | Oct 13, 2021

‘Legendary tingz!’: Ishawna excited Ed Sheeran knows ‘Equal Rights’ by heart

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

Not something you see everyday: Ed Sheeran’s recent Dutch interview praising Ishawna’s song ‘Equal Rights’—a “really filthy” song done on the instrumental of mega-pop hit ‘Shape of You’.

Four years after taking airwaves by storm dancehall artiste Ishawna’s controversial Equal Rights song has been showered with praise by British pop superstar Ed Sheeran. 

Reacting to a clip from Ed Sheeran’s interview on Dutch radio station QMusic, Ishawna, in an Instagram post on Wednesday (October 13), said she was pleasantly surprised the sexually explicit song, done on the instrumental of Shereen’s Shape Of You mega-hit was a favourite of his.

According to Ishawna, despite the single immediately going viral, she intentionally did not put Equal Rights on any streaming platforms out of fear Shereen would never give her the clearance to use the track and made the single being an independent artiste. 

“Fast forward 4 years later Ed Shereen is singing my song Equal Rights word for word saying it’s his favorite,” Ishawna said.

(Photo: Twitter @mamachell)

“When I recorded Equal Rights it was never meant to be a “real” song. I was just so in love with Ed Shereen’s song and the riddim just moved me in a way I couldn’t explain. I’ve always wanted to touch on the topic and I just knew it was time. The song went viral immediately, yet it wasn’t on any streaming platforms,” the artiste began. 

“At that point, I didn’t have any clearance to use the track and I thought Ed Shereen would never give me the clearance because I’m an independent artist and i had no major label behind me to reach out to his team. I ended up putting out the song on a brand new riddim to avoid any legal issues. (If you check iTunes, Spotify etc you will see that it’s a different version),” Ishawna added.

Beaming from Ed Shereen’s embrace and acclaim of Equal Rights, Ishawna argued that the single was the “most iconic songs of this generation” and encouraged her over 844,000 followers to never give up on their dreams.

A screengrab from dancehall diva Ishawna’s risqué 2017 ‘Equal Rights’ music video. (Photo:

“I say that to say this, NEVER ever let FEAR stop you from pursuing your dreams. I remember all that I went through and I’m STILL going through simply because I express MYSELF doing what I love…music!

Equal Rights is one of, if not THE MOST ICONIC SONGS OF THIS GENERATION PERIODT!!!” she exclaimed.

Shereen, appearing on QMusic last week, smiled in acknowledgement that the remix was “really filthy” but lauded Ishawna’s creativity with the lyrical content of Equal Rights

“What I like about Shape Of You is anywhere that I go in the world, people know that song. And there’s so many remixes of it! I was in the Caribbean and I heard a totally different song. It’s really, really filthy and she’s just singing about a man going down on her,” he said. 

(Photo: Instagram @QMusicNL)

Shereen then asked the DJ to play the song if he could find it, after which he was singing Equal Rights word-for-word. 

Clips of the interview subsequently went viral on Tik Tok and Twitter as Jamaicans giggled at how happy the 30-year-old Sheeran seemed. 

Many Jamaican Twitter users remembered how the song polarised the island and wider Caribbean for months as men and boys of all ages boycotted the single. Some male students went as far as refraining from consuming Pepsi as the beverage was referenced by Ishawna in the risqué remix.

Equal Rights returned to the court of public opinion when a dubbed version of the song was used by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness during the 2020 general election campaign.


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