No social movement has ever progressed without powerful music to energize it. In Nigeria there has been a wave of #EndSars protest in almost all the state capitals and all the major cities. The protests started about two weeks ago to demand an end to police brutality, with mainly young people using the social media to rally people to demand the closure of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protests have also been backed by global celebrities such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, US rapper Kanye West, footballers Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford as well as Nigerian superstars Davido, Wizkid, FalzTheBadGuy, and Runtown.
The music of the likes of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Davido, Eedris Abdul Kareem and Africa China, have been the fuel for this mass action to demand social justice and an end to police brutality. Their sound mirrors the reality of present-day Nigeria in the last decades.
Here, GLAZIA presents some of songs making waves during this #EndSars protests.
Davido – FEM
Davido’s FEM could have not come out at a better time. The song has become the official anthem of the protest. The crowd at the Lekki and Alausa protests sang the song in defiance to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who wanted to address them.
“FEM” has quickly become a phenomenon, sitting at the top of Apple Music’s daily top 100 songs since it dropped and the video has racked up over five million views on YouTube in less than a week. It’s also been a prominent song for the #EndSars protest all over the world.
African China- Mr President
‘Mr President’ is the lead track of African China’s debut album of the same title. The track was one of the best-selling songs of 2005 in Nigeria at the time.
The song was an open letter to the president highlighting some of the very many ills of the Nigerian society including police brutality.
Eedris Abdul Kareem – Jagajaga
The song which was released in 2002 was banned by the then-President Olusegun Obasanjo led government. ‘Jaga jaga’ is a slang which means ‘scattered’ or ‘out of place’.
Released off Eedris Abdulkareem’s fourth studio album, Letters to Mr. President, the song documents the perpetual upheaval that’s inherent in the Nigerian zeitgeist. ‘Jaga Jaga’ is then onomatopoeia for the trouble and upheaval.
FalzTheBadGuy – This Is Nigeria
“This Is Nigeria” is a song by Nigerian rapper Falz, released on May 25, 2018. It is a cover of Childish Gambino’s “This is America”. Falz’s father Femi Falana performs background vocals on the track.
“This Is Nigeria” is one of those songs that addresses a number of societal issues prevalent in Nigeria, including SARS brutality, codeine abuse and unrestrained killings.
Fela Kuti – Zombie
In 1976, Nigerian musician Fela Kuti released a song titled Zombie that criticised the oppressive military regime in Nigeria. In the song, Kuti compares the Nigerian military personnel to zombies who follow orders mindlessly.
Fela’s Zombie was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic.