Burna Boy, Fela and Activism; What people need to understand

    Burna Boy had social media buzzing after his response to human right activist, Omoyele Sowere‘s invitation to join his protest.

    Burna Boy, Fela and Activism; What people need to understand
    Burna Boy, Fela, and Activism; What people need to understand

    Human Rights Activist, Omoyele Sowere on the 28th of September reached out to Burna Boy via Twitter asking him to join the ‘Revolution Now’ protest expected to take place on the 1st of October since he is always compared to Fela Kuti.

    Burna in response via several tweets outlined why he won’t be joining a protest anytime soon.

    His reasons were;

    • Fela fought for people who didn’t appreciate it, Burna’s family suffered consequences as a result of their association with the legendary musician.
    • Fighting for Nigerians is not worth it.
    • He doesn’t trust politicians of which Sowere is.
    • He doesn’t want a part in whatever scheme Sowere is cooking.

    These reasons weren’t enough for Nigerians who used the opportunity to drag him on social media.

    Growing up in Nigeria, especially in a rugged city as Port-Harcourt requires you to be smart, cunning, and calculative. All of which Burna is so its understandable why he is skeptical of Sowere’s invitation.

    However, for an artist who sampled most of Fela’s songs, dragged Nigerians on several occasions, it’s not hard to see why Nigerians will drag him for his response.

    Burna has on several occasions dragged Nigerians and the words were harsh, at one point calling them, ‘backward illiterates’

    His music was also another tool to pass his militancy like ideas. In collateral damage, Burna criticizes Nigerians

    My People sef they fear too much, we fear the things we no see, One day all of go die

    “We always get reason to fear, Fight for your right o you go to fear, Police go slap you,you go to fear, Fight for your pikin dem no go to fear, You go to fear fear fear” 

    While this is true, is a somewhat biased take on the issues plaguing Nigeria. The average Nigerian is hustling to look for food, rebelling against the Government is the last thing on their mind.

    In Nigeria, where freedom of speech is guaranteed but freedom after the speech isn’t, one must be careful about rebelling.

    Take note, Nigerians do rebel, it just hasn’t gotten us the change we need. The system that makes corruption fruitful is an old aged complex structure that would take more than rebelling to destroy.

    This protest saga is just a reflection of double standards; a case of “Do as I say not as I do”.

    However, Burna isn’t to blame completely in this whole brouhaha.

    Nigeria and Activism

    Being an activist in Nigeria is hard. If its not the Government, it’s the people who you are advocating for.

    Fela was an activist who paid dearly for his choice. He was arrested on several occasions, his mother was thrown out a window by soldiers, his family was persecuted by the Government.

    If he criticized Nigerians for their cowardice, he was right and highly justified. He talked the talk and walked the walk. Fela made his own rules and always kept to his word.

    This was a man who was literally a thorn in the Government’s flesh. Do you know how much of a problem for the Government to send Soldiers to always pay you a visit as an artist?

    It didn’t help that some people dragged him for his rebellious nature. This is what Burna meant people didn’t appreciate Fela for the activism he played.

    Truthfully, Burna boy doesn’t owe anyone a protest. What he owes everyone is to spare Nigerians his righteous indignation about being nonchalant about political issues.

    You can’t slam millions of people for not fighting back and still refuse to take action.

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