By: Olayiwola Faith Adedolapo
The recent video, ‘This is Nigeria’ has created a lot of controversies among various Nigerians over its connotative musical and pictorial meanings. The Nigerian singer and songwriter, Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz The Bahd Guy is a singer, songwriter, rapper, actor and T.V presenter. At present, he owns an independent record label, Bahd Guys Records. He is the son of the famous Human Rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana and Funmi Falana who is also a lawyer. Falz has won several awards for his songs as well as his uniqueness and style of music.
In May 2018, Falz released the musical video, This is Nigeria, which is a mimick of Childish Bambino’s ‘This is America’. In the musical video, several caricatures were made on the various and mostly major issues that affects the nation Nigeria as a whole. Various themes were explored which included, corruption, tribalism, juvenile delinquencies, drug abuse and the popular ‘SAS assaults’.
The video started with Falz The Bahd Guy carrying a radio while listening to the broadcast on the situation of the country which revealed the dilapidated state of the nation while Falz turned his back away from the screen which signified his nonchalant attitude to the situations that surrounds him as announced on the radio...they are extremely poor and the medical facilities are poor. We operate a predictory neocolonial capitalist system which is founded on fraud and exploitation and therefore, you are bound to have corrupt institutionalists. Many crime cases are settled in police station albeit illegal…
Every word and lines in the video corresponds with every movement and action performed. They represent every situation and issues that affects everyone of us as a nation.
The scene where a man is being slaughtered by a Fulani herdsman and then Falz walks into the scene and walks over the dead man without turning back reveals Nigerian nonchalant behaviour towards the problems that affects the nation.
Also, there had been a lot of controversies on his use of young girls in hijab dancing one of the most popular dance, ‘Shaku Shaku’. Many Nigerians has viewed such an act as an insult to the Islam religion; a condemnable act. The Muslim Rights Concern has also expressed their displeasure as signed by the executive director, Ishaq Akintola who condemned the song for both the Fulani man beheading another man and also the women in hijab dancing ‘shaku shaku’.
Falz The Bahd Guy in an interview on Hello Nigeria said, ‘we are too distracted by entertainment, in general….I think it’s good, but I think we need to pause and take a look at our social space and political space….The terrible state of Nigeria has become so nominalised that people don’t remember that it is irregular. So the irregular has become so regularised now….we need a selfless spirit. Everyone is selfish. It happens in front of us but we decide to look the other way….Those girls were obviously… symbolic to the Chibok girls.
Moving beyond the musical/visual controversies, one would view the video, This is Nigeria as an act of dependency on other people or countries’ ideas and acts. The video which is identical with the popular ‘This is America’s video in form, idea and structure. While ‘This is America’ focuses on just a major issue – terrorism which affects the America country is totally condemned, ‘This is Nigeria’ tries to sum up almost all the major issues within the four minutes video.
Falz The Band Guy, This is Nigeria focuses beyond just one plot such as the Fulani herdsmen’s constant killings, terrorism, vandalism, police harassment, the power of the rich, the Internet fraudsters, no electricity, the irregularities in the church, and IG Idris’ speech on transmission.
Many Nigerians have been criticized on their inability to produce anything scientifically, artistically and technologically which has led to a major setback for her among other countries. In lieu of Falz copying and releasing a video as that of Childish Gambino’s hook, line and sinker in both form and structure, he should have created a better video which would depict Nigerian’s originality and not her always-copy nature.
So, far beyond the visual, cultural and political movement and actions within the video, everyone should try to find where he or she is at fault and create a better version of themselves.