This Time for Africa... But Not Really.

good article on the modern blackface that is FIFA's world cup song from Mahala blog. can't say i'm surprised -- another use for the paint metaphor: liberal progressive surface, racist structure.

people have brought up the fact that previous world cup songs have not always been representative of their host countries. while this is true, there are some differences:

this is a first for the African CONTINENT. a continent with an amazingly rich musical heritage (THE MOST amazing of all if you ask me, and a few musicologists).

Shakira is singing "waka waka" over an uncredited, unpaid-for rip-off of an old Cameroonian protest song.

Germany, Japan and France were colonialists, and have never been victims of colonialism, and they do not have a history of their music getting stolen and their artists being ripped off, because they were DOING the stealing and ripping off.

so given this context, this ABSOLUTELY should have been a chance for African voices to be heard, and African culture to take the spot light. but sadly, and expectedly, no.

in addition to the examples in the article, look into the history of The Lion Sleeps Tonight for a fascinating story. a documentary film has been made about this Zulu protest song from South Africa, whose lyrics mean "when the Europeans took over Africa, our king did not die, but only went to sleep, and will again wake someday" (a meaning all but entirely stripped from the words in the West). The Lion Sleeps Tonight has been a chart hit in America since the 1940s, covered many times by many different artists, and recently earned 15,000,000 USD in the Lion King alone -- but it's original author, living an impoverished life in the forbidden townships under apartheid rule, did not see a single penny until half a century later.

No comments: