Rapper Falz’s ‘That is Nigeria’ video holds up a mirror for the nation


The brand new model is titled ‘That is Nigeria,’ and it has generated a storm on-line, together with a response from hip-hop musician and entrepreneur Diddy, who shared it on his Instagram web page, propelling the video to worldwide recognition.

Falz, (actual title Folarin Falana) has gained plaudits for tackling social ills in a rustic the place pop stars not often get political. Musicians are inclined to keep away from political commentary, partly because of an ingrained worry of persecution from the highly effective political class.

Falz’s ‘That is Nigeria,’ embodies the revolutionary and insurgent spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti earlier than him. Fela Kuti, the pioneer of the Afrobeat style, was well-known for his political activism through the nation’s period of army dictatorships.

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From his records ‘International Thief Thief’ (ITT) to ‘Zombie,’ Kuti exhibited a daring defiance in opposition to the Nigerian authorities and different corrupt officers of his time. Fela was a raging supporter of human rights, and his data, – usually stuffed with verbal assaults – had been in opposition to Nigeria’s army authorities within the 70’s.

It got here at an amazing private value to him; he was ceaselessly imprisoned and his mom was thrown off a balcony by an unknown Nigerian soldier throughout a raid.

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After the passing of Fela, his sons Femi and Seun Kuti have carried on a few of his activism of their particular person music careers, however Afrobeat, as a style of music has largely turn out to be area of interest.

Falz is understood globally for his comedy-flavored hip hop hits however may he tackle the political music mantle and fill the hole left by Fela?

The singer has a regulation diploma and is the son of outstanding Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, so this suggestion shouldn’t be as far-fetched because it sounds.

It is usually not the primary time that the rapper has included social commentary in his music with earlier hits ‘Verify’ and ‘Little one of the World,’ so it might seem that the apple doesn’t fall removed from the tree, because the saying goes.

Complacent slumber

Whereas the idea for the ‘That is Nigeria,’ video is not authentic, what Falz did was internalize the message, cross it by means of his personal inventive filter and convey it dwelling to Nigeria to spotlight the nation’s quite a few social ills.

Nearly as if to awaken Nigerians from their complacent slumber of acceptance.

“The first motivation was to set off an awakening among the many Nigerian individuals concerning the quite a few political and social ills that we continually face as a rustic. And extra importantly to spark a response within the optimistic course,” says Falz by way of e-mail.

With the assistance of stuntmen and extras, Falz walks us step-by-step by means of Nigeria’s main issues, central to that is what many understand to be inefficient management by the federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Many consider he has did not ship on its guarantees of bettering Nigerian lives and fixing the economic system. which slid right into a recession two years in the past and is slowly beginning to emerge out of it.

Nigeria is awash with petrodollars however a lot of this cash doesn’t trickle right down to the typical man and lady on the road. In accordance with the World Poverty Clock, 82 million of the 180 million inhabitants (42.four %), stay in excessive poverty.
Different issues embrace the nation’s opioid disaster, normalization of insecurity comparable to frequent Boko Haram bombings and kidnapping of schoolgirls such because the Chibok women.

Added to this incendiary combine is the nation’s strained ethnic and tribal relations, a scarcity of reliable energy provide, poor infrastructure, a trigger-happy police drive, the recognition of advance price fraud, (regionally often called Yahoo boys) and exploitation of the citizenry by some clergymen.

A nationwide mirror

The very first thing you discover whenever you watch Falz’s ‘That is Nigeria,’ video is the strongest message contained within the video; Nigeria is a lawless nation, guided by a structure that’s handled like an honorary doc.

That is why the primary man, wearing conventional Fulani apparel would swap from being a cheerful musician minding his enterprise, to a assassin straight away. He abandons his Goje (popularly often called the ‘Hausa Guitar) for a machete, and immediately strikes in the direction of one other helpless citizen who he kills with out mercy.

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It’s this sort of imagery that makes the video so highly effective.

That is the primary time within the current historical past of the native pop scene that an artist with the affect and credibility of Falz has launched such materials.

Whereas many commentators within the native area have been fast to dismiss it on the idea of it being a canopy model, it would not take away from the core message; Nigeria is a flawed nation, with multi-faceted issues.

Falz captures this utilizing cinematic methods and concludes, identical to the supply materials, by failing to proffer an answer.

Maybe that’s the level he is making an attempt to make. It’s a nationwide mirror, created to make Nigeria stare at itself and its issues, yet one more time.

Falz’s ‘That is Nigeria’ video and its influence has generated conversations around the globe, and acts as a reminder of the facility behind music, and the way it may be used extra successfully to encourage change.

It reveals that opposite to widespread opinion amongst native abilities, there’s a demand for acutely aware music.

Capturing their ache

Many musicians ought to comply with his lead, and create artwork to replicate the occasions and the heartbeat of the individuals. Whereas there are legitimate opinions in opposition to chasing activism as the only focus of African music, the flexibility to stability it out, and create acutely aware music, whereas additionally feeding the individuals’s want to flee is an important ability.

Falz’s video means that, as Nigeria strikes ahead, its musicians have an enormous duty on their shoulders to create artwork that amplifies the state of the nation, and in the end improves the society that nurtured them.

Their music is created for communities which might be massively affected by these issues.

In the end, it should not solely present leisurely aid. It ought to seize their ache too.

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