ThisIsNigeria: Meanings and Interpretation of the video
By Tomori Uriel
Music in Nigeria is beyond culture, it’s a tool. A tool of change. Music has overflowed the banks of entertainment, and has transcended into our stream of consciousness, from shaping policies to dictating social normalcy.
While many attribute this to the ubiquitous nature of the media, Nigerians themselves are active seekers of musical content. As for me, I am no lover of circular music, but musicians like Falz has made me placed my status under scrutiny. While many circular Nigerian musicians have little or no knowledge of the impact their contents create, the few who are aware have fed Nigerians with life changing music.
The recent bombshell, “ThisIsNigeria,” by Falz, “The good bad guy,” has got pleasant receptions. While Childish Gambino deserves credit for the patent, Falz deserve more accolades for producing a carbon copy that reflects the modern Nigeria society. I watched the video seven hours after its release, up until now, I have watched it more than ten times, and I can confirm that, Falz sync his lyrics and action in this video (strong literature).
As a literary addict and critic, my review will be quite lengthy, but could as well be your best review (ThisIsNigeria).
First, an aspect of the video people won’t comment on, is the half-naked (shirtless) Falz in the video, which represents the shameful and casted state of Nigeria. In the music “ThisIsNigeria,” Nigeria has dual personality, the first is Falz himself, while the second is the setting.
The video began with Falz holding a radio, portraying the average Nigeria who depends on the media for awareness – despite the state of violence around him, he choose to be dead to them. For me, the voice on the radio was the perfect lead into the genius we saw in the latter part of the video.
The voices echoed:
“Extremely poor, and the medical facilities are poor we operate a predatory named colonial capitalist system which is funded by fraud and exploitation and therefore we are bound to have corruption…institutionlist.
Many criminal cases are settled in police station…
The next move by Falz was symbolic too. He immediately dropped the radio – critiquing Nigerians and telling them who they really are.
“Look what we eating now
Everybody be criminal”
These lines highlighted the nature of Nigerians. Falz walking over the body showed no one is moved by the killings, we all go about our hustle, minding who is next. He reiterated that we are all criminals, yes we’re, either you like it or not, we’re all beneficiaries of corruption (either active or passive).
The dancers in hijab portrays the kidnapped school girls, who are active, agile, energetic and are the future of our country (Their shakushaku dance moves could have a meaning of “shakushaku” itself). The setting shows the girls are in Nigeria (the arena), yet Nigeria turns its back on them (Falz). We’re all gossips, launching harmless twitter campaigns, “on fake wristwatch discuss.”
“Where looters are killers, and stealers are still contesting election o.”
This line is a true representation of most Nigerian leaders who play dirty politics, using youths as pawns. Yet, we all show our loyalty and support for them (As for me: “Where looters are killers and stealers are still wining elections o…” would have been better).
“Police station dey close at 6! Security reasons o!”
This speaks volume of the fractured security in Nigeria. With all due respect to the good eggs in the Police, the Police is useless, they exhort poor Nigerians and celebrate criminals who can bribe their way out of crimes (Record shows Nigerian Police are the worst in the worst, I can’t agree less). Falz used that line to call for restructuring in the Nigeria Police. However, Falz went further to show the rate of substance abuse in Nigeria, which has gone from being a secret act to happenings on the street.
” ESE o baba, away dupe baba)
…Your miracle is coming this week…
Pastor put hand on the breast of His member, he’s pulling the demon out…”
In those lines, Falz depicted the religious Nigerians who aren’t in anyway spiritual. He showed us how Nigerians go to church to seek unrealistic fortunes. While many who go to church to have their problems solved are deceived by spiritual godfathers, who are mostly fakes.
He went on the call out spiritual leaders who got their fortunes from the little earned by the poor, but are setting up infrastructures that aren’t accessible by those whose money it was built with.
“Your People are still working multiple jobs and they talk say we lazy o…”
The line is an expression of what Falz thinks about Buhari’s comment of LazyNigerianYouth. Falz told us that, Nigerian youth are workaholics who pickup multiple jobs just to make hands meet. “Your people,” tells us that the youth form a larger part of our society.
“Fulani herdsman still dey slaughter, carry people dey massacre”
I find this really interesting, Falz began his video showing us the herdsmen’s killing, but he wasn’t fast to talk about it. However, he raised an alarm on the unnoticed dangers herdsmen killings could cause and its impact in our society.
“This is Nigeria
Come to my area
This is democracy; political hysteria
Yahoo Yahoo don’t tear everywhere now, while we act like it’s so cool
Casting the bee and been castigated just for trying to be noble…
This is Nigeria
Look at my nation o”
The relevance of these lines to Nigeria, is pictorial. Falz introduced us into the political sphere where we have missed it, and how fraudulent practices are accepted by Nigerians (the wealth of Nigerians is in the hands of few) – doing what’s good is a crime, he wrapped up by reporting this to us.
“SARS blocking for road, any explanation you go talk am for station o”
“(Sir, em Sir look I’m just a student, from the University of Lagos, we’re just coming from the club)”
The dangers posed by SARS in the society is another social malady highlighted by Falz. It’s ridiculous how securities turn tax locators, vampires and judges on our highways. Falz was apt in his condemnation of their act.
“(This is break of transmission of transmission in transmission)…”
For me, this goes beyond the IGP’s saga. Falz laid emphasis on the incompetencies of our leaders, who are confused, illiterates and greedy.
“But what happens Everyday is that the system has allowed it.
For example there’s no law that allows you to take money from the church and privatise it. It is only in Nigeria that you can take money contributed by poor congregation members to set up a University that the members cannot attend…It is against the rule about the law of god, against our constitution.”
At the end, Falz portrayed Nigeria as the giant of Africa, with his “four fingers, wankanda style and raising his hands like Fela Anikulapo (to represent victory).” As the curtain falls, Falz, who represented Nigeria stood on top, as the the camera captures the arrays of problems existing in Nigeria.
The sarcasm of Big Sister Naija showed the distracted Nigerian youth who are not productively engaged.
The twist is that, although not everyone would notice this, but I did, Falz depiction of a torn green and white flag, symbolizes that all these social vices are tearing us apart, including our economy, lands and peace.
I hope this isn’t peculiar to me. I think this song should be “Falz ft. Femi Falana, I was skeptical until I sync the ideas of both personalities in every line. I am a fan of the great Femi Falana, so think twice before you doubt my assertion, however, there is every tendency that genius runs in the family bloodline.
Falz deserves a kudos for his work, ThisIsNigeria, he pitched Nigeria’s numerous problems in less than four minutes. He has played his part by steering our consciousness towards our problems, we all must proffer a lasting solution to them. Also, Nigeria artists should know that, music is beyond self actualisation,it’s a tool that shapes the society –music is an art, and art is life.
Tomori Uriel is an avid communicator.
University of Ilorin