Nigerian musician Folarin Falana widely known as Falz released a parody of Childish Gambino’s This Is America; This Is Nigeria. Falz’s video was widely received. However, an Islamic group has called for Falz to pull down the video for depicting Chibok girls wearing hijab and dancing ‘shakushaku’ a popular Nigerian dance.
Nigerian musician Folarin Falana, popularly called Falz has been asked by an Islamic organization to pull down his video This Is Nigeria. The organization accused Falz of Islam-bashing. Photo: Twitter/Falz
When Nigerian musician Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz made a parody of Childish Gambino’s This Is America music video, many Nigerians applauded his work. This Is Nigeria showed the many things wrong in the country and was considered a wake-up call to the government and the people. For a musician like Falz whose music many consider to be comedic, this particular music was different.
Many Nigerians would argue that conscious music died with Fela Kuti. Many Nigerian musicians, like their American counterparts focus more on lyrics and video content that mainly talk of getting rich, women but not much about the social ills hitting the society, issues on governance or corruption.
Falz’s video depicted Nigerian policemen taking bribes, the killings by Fulani herdsmen, sexual assault in church and the kidnapping of the Chibok girls. The Chibok girls, in the video were depicted wearing a hijab.
The issue and politics around the hijab in Nigeria has been a source of huge controversy in a religiously polarised country. Early in the year, a Muslim law student refused to remove her hijab during the call to bar, which according to the Nigeria Law School contravened part of the dress code rules. Controversy ensued on whether not being called to bar because of a hijab was worth it.
The Muslim Rights Council (MURIC) under its director Prof Ishaq Akintola in a press release stated that “one of the Chibok girls have been seen dancing like a drunkard. They are always in pensive mood. Do they have any cause to be dancing? Are they happy? This video is the most detestable, odious and insidious Islam-bashing in recent time.”
The organization labelled the representation of the girls in hijab as “Islam-bashing,” and “hate action.” The question of how religion interprets art leaves one with a lot of questions. Can art and religion exist side by side? When does the interpretation of an art work depicting a certain aspect of religion become offensive to religious practitioners?
Many Nigerians have called MURIC hypocrites chasing after shadows instead of focusing on the message being passed across. Many have questioned whether the hijab is more important than life, since the anger by the Islamic organization is more about the way the hijab is used rather than the missing Chibok girls that still haven’t been returned.