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“This Is Nigeria” Sparks Conversation on The State of Nigeria

by Shelby Hawkins on May 30, 2018

Nigerian artist Folarin ‘Falz’ Folana is being praised for his rendition of Childish Gambino’s “This is America”. His music video “This is Nigeria” has garnered over 1 million views in under 72 hours.

The video addresses societal issues within Nigeria such as the government’s slow response in saving the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Young Muslim girls donning long veils can be seen dancing behind Falz while he sings the lyrics:

“This is Nigeria

Look how am living nah

Look how am living nah

Everybody be criminal

This is Nigeria

Look how we’ living nah

Look what we’ eating nah

Everybody be criminal”

The opening sequence shows Falz standing in red and yellow striped pants with a boombox sitting on his shoulder. A radio message reports:

“They’re extremely poor

And the medical facilities are poor

We operate a predictory neo-colonial capitalist system

Which is founded on fraud and exploitation

And therefore, you are bound to have corrupt institutionalists

Many criminal cases are settled in police stations, albeit illegal”

The ending sequence starts with a shot of Falz staring directly into the camera as it zooms out showing the entire scene. Among him is a man with a laptop propped on his lap, four young women looking impatient and a man lying face down with a bag over his head among other symbolic characters.

Other issues addressed were the drug addiction crisis among the youth, con men disguised as pastors, corruption and the fascination with reality TV.

Folana is not new to calling our social problems. He is the son of a popular Nigerian lawyer and has previously challenged the norm in Nigerian music that glorifies internet fraud.

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” directed by Hiro Murai showcases some of the discrimination aimed towards Black Americans. When his character is not dancing and smiling in a Sambo-like manner, he is participating in a killing spree.

While he’s dancing around with the accompaniment of some school children he can be heard rapping:

“This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (ayy)

Look how I’m livin’ now

Police be trippin’ now (woo)

Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)

Guns in my area (word, my area)

I got the strap (ayy, ayy)

I gotta carry ’em”

Both videos are meant to incite a conversation about the state of each respective nation.

“The primary motivation was to trigger an awakening among the Nigerian people about the numerous political and social ills that we constantly face as a country,” Falz told CNN via email, “And more importantly to spark a reaction in the positive direction.”

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Shelby Hawkins
My name is Shelby, like the mustang, and I am an avid lover of photography, literature and desserts. I identify as a proud feminist and Pan-Africanist; hopefully that manifests in my writing.
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