A Muslim group has condemned a video released by a Nigerian rapper for allegedly promoting negative stereotypes against Muslims, Chibok Girls and Fulani.
Muslim Right Concern said Thursday that video like Falz the Bahd Guy’s help in giving “Muslim names to devilish and lowly characters.” But the rap artist insisted the video is a critique of Nigeria’s socio-political and religious ills.
The video, a cover version of US performer Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, was released on May 25 with almost three million YouTube views already and since then generated several reactions on social media.
It features young girls putting on hijab dancing viral dance Shaku Shaku and a Fulani who “suddenly abandoned his traditional guitar and beheaded a man.”
Images like these, MURIC said, portrayed Muslims and Fulanis in a bad light and said it will drag the artist to court except he withdraws the video within seven days.
“We, therefore, give notice of impending legal action against the artist behind the ‘Shaku Shaku’ video unless the latter is withdrawn and an apology is widely published within seven days,” MURIC director, Ishaq Akintola said in a statement.
“It is a hate video. It is Islamophobia nulli secundus. This video has the potential of causing religious crisis of unprecedented dimension.
“We, therefore, demand its withdrawal and an apology to Nigerian Muslims within seven days or the authors and their agents will face legal action if they fail to comply.”
But Falz in an interview said the video was aimed at shifting the focus from entertainment to social criticism, something leading artists of his generation shy away from.
“I think we are too distracted by entertainment in general, by flashy lifestyle,” the 27-year-old Falz told the private Wazobia television last week.
“We need to pause and think and look at our social space. We have a voice as artists and we need to use that voice for the right purpose, we need to speak the truth to wake people up.”
“The terrible state of Nigeria has become so normalised.”
While insisting that the video was “a most unpatriotic handiwork of a Nigerian youth in 2018,” MURIC, however, agreed that there were aspects of the video that held water. “Only the scenes portraying police brutality and the money-swallowing snake in the video are near the truth. Falz’ ‘Shaku Shaku’ video is nothing but a hate-induced production.
In spite of MURIC’s misgivings, Falz’s video has earned him applause from within and outside Nigeria. His trajectory has earned a comparison with Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.
American record producer and hip-hop legend P. Diddy praised the Nigerian rapper and said the video will be given a massive airplay on his Revolt TV network.
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In an opinion piece published by CNN, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti said the video was ‘revolutionary’.
‘This is Nigeria’ embodies the revolutionary and rebel spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti before him,” he wrote in the piece published.
“It shows that contrary to popular opinion among local talents, there is a demand for conscious music.
“Musicians tend to avoid political commentary, partly due to an ingrained fear of persecution from the powerful political class.”