Since the days of Fela Kuti, music has been a weapon to fight corruption, injustice and infrastructural decay. He was a vocal critic of the government of the day and took music activism to a level that was novel for the era. Generations after have continued to acknowledge the Afrobeats pioneer as an icon and inspiration and one artiste that has often been compared to Fela is Burna Boy.
The Port Harcourt-born singer supposedly tows the path of Fela using his music to speak truth to power. His most recent album, ‘Twice as Tall’, contains tracks which pointedly criticised both Western and African worlds of injustice to the common (wo)man.
His latest single, ‘20-10-2020’, was inspired by the #LekkiMassacre and he dedicated it to the victims of #EndSARS. Subsequently, he performed one of his hit tracks, ‘Monsters you made’, at this year’s edition of BET Hip-hop awards which held last Wednesday and if the world didn’t take enough notice when the album was released, it would have taken notice now.
Burna Boy recognises the power of music and for an Afrobeats giant, the world takes note of every lyrical utterance he makes.
His latest album is already being touted for another Grammy run but more importantly, he acknowledges the precarious situation of the Nigerian leadership against the youth who are getting more aware by the day. By extension, it is the African continent, not just Nigeria.
As such, the struggle is one which should go international and it is perhaps why Burna Boy has taken up an ambassadorial role with global anti-corruption music movement, Fair Play Music.
On his new role, the singer expressed that, “We as musicians have the power to speak directly to our fans through our music, to let them know what is really going on and inspire them to change their situation. It is both a responsibility and an honour to speak on behalf of those who are not heard in the mainstream media and being a Fair Play Ambassador, I join a movement that works to do the same.”
With this development, many youth will hope for more support from the international community as they continue to battle brutality, injustice and corruption at large on all possible fronts.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.