By now, Burna Boy has succeeded in one distinction not many African artists have mastered – feuding with a country and alienating himself from its people.
Of course, throughout history, many international and local artists have been banned from entering the country for noble political reasons, particularly during Apartheid.
None of them, however, swore to never set foot in South Africa over streamlined fake news.
But when the spate of xenophobic violence plagued the country in September 2019 – a wave of attacks targeting foreign nationals which was rightfully condemned on a wide scale locally and by the global community – Burna Boy’s Twitter outburst triggered an onslaught of resistance to his music, with many calling for his music to be boycotted.
“I have not set foot in SA since 2017”, he tweeted on September 3rd. “And I will NOT EVER go to South Africa again for any reason until the SOUTH AFRICAN government wakes the fuck up and really performs A miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this.” (sic)
In a series of seething tweets, the Nigerian singer explained that he wouldn’t stand on the sidelines and watch Nigerians being killed in South Africa.
“He won’t be much of an ‘African Giant’ if entire shows keep being cancelled because he refuses to acknowledge and apologise for inflammatory statements seen by multitudes as having contributed negatively to the ideal of uniting Africans.”
He also rightfully drew attention to the fact xenophobic violence had occurred severally since the 2008 attacks that blindsided the country, revealing existing tensions between locals and African migrants.
“But Today After watching the Killing of my people in South Africa the same way we have all watched it happen a few times in the past. FUCK ALL THAT! I personally have had my own xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans and because of that…..” (sic)
The rant also came with a war of words between the ‘African Giant’ and South African rapper AKA, with whom his career found prominence when the two collaborated on their smash hit, All Eyes On Me, in 2014.
Burna Boy appeared to threaten AKA with physical violence after the South African rapper’s tweet about Bafana Bafana’s loss to the Super Eagles.
In July this year, South Africa lost to the Nigerian national soccer team, the Super Eagles, in the AFCON quarter finals.
“It’s a hard pillow to swallow man”, AKA tweeted at the time. “We keep losing to Nigeria in every way.”
He continued, “I’m hurt man. This match was bigger than football. The biggest rivalry on the continent. Why do we always have to lose against Naija at EVERYTHING.” (sic)
When the attacks happened, Nigerian artist YCee lambasted the tweets. Burna Boy joined the fray, blowing things even further.
While most incendiary tweets that spark public furore are usually deleted straight after by celebrities, a PR practice which is soon followed by an apology of understanding ‘the pain caused by the words’, or something or another, Burna Boy has refused to apologise.
The subsequent announcement that he would be donating proceeds from the Africans Unite concert, which had been planned as part as a remedial intervention to use music as a unifier, fell flat when the festival was cancelled just days before he was billed to perform alongside Jidenna and Kwesta in Pretoria and Cape Town.
The concert, which organisers explained as an attempt to “rebuild trust and respect amongst African nations by changing the current narrative to that of unity and solidarity”, was pulled when safety concerns entered the discussion.
Angered music fans had been threatening to show up to disrupt the shows. The threats were being brandished at an alarming rate as calls for Burna to apologise persisted.
In a shocking move, Burna returned on Twitter to put matters on ice.
“saying I mislead people? And I made up the Xenophobic attacks and I should apologise. Really? Lol. In 2015 Even I was a victim of the misguided hate so I know. Go and demand apologies from your REAL Enemies. I am not your Enemy. I will not be called a “foreigner” I am AFRICAN” (sic).
Last week, AFROPUNK Joburg announced that Burna Boy would no longer be part of the upcoming festival’s line-up on December 30th and 31st.
“We’re dedicated to working with Burna Boy and his team for his return to South Africa when the climate is right”, the festival said in a press statement received by QuenchSA. “We are deeply committed to providing music lovers and fans a safe space for all to express themselves.”
Burna Boy is yet to acquiesce to the fact that some of his initial and subsequent statements may have been misguided.
During the 2019 wave of xenophobic attacks, no Nigerian national had been killed as suggested in his tweets.
What now? Here are some possible options for the African Giant.
After all, he won’t be much of an ‘African Giant’ if entire shows keep being cancelled because he refuses to acknowledge and apologise for inflammatory statements seen by multitudes as having contributed negatively to the ideal of uniting Africans.
It’s unclear what informs Burna Boy’s reluctance to acknowledge his mistake, apologise and move on. Seems strange that he’d allow for large scale cancellations to happen in quick succession over failure to engage meaningfully in the discussion to heal?
But when one drills down, it may not be entirely absurd while he hasn’t apologised.
Firstly, he would have to come to terms with the fact that he was misled by fake content that was collected and repurposed from atrocities that took place in several parts of the world, over time.
He’s also refused to let his personal experience of xenophobia in South Africa, which he is yet to detail, to be denied. That’s understandable, everyone should be give the opportunity to express their own pain, and tell their side of the story.
Still, that’s what apologies are for. Not only do they help one express their remorse while acknowledging the pain caused by their actions, they also open a platform for dialogues with potentially remedial outcomes.
WRITE AN OPEN LETTER
Let’s move away from Twitter for second.
The apology, the logic, conditions and material that led to his statements could be better discussed in an honest, heartfelt letter to his fans, and to Africans. It’s more personal, feels more in line with his work as a songwriter, and, perhaps most importantly, gives him more space to express himself beyond the character limit on Twitter, where the culture sometimes inspires a weird readiness for drama.
CHAMPION A SOCIAL CAMPAIGN
A lot of people will see through that, obviously, but its the intention that will count more. I can think of more reasons why using one’s platform to elevate the conversation and move things forward is a better catalyst for change that tossing out obscenities in a middle of a social crisis.
If I were in Burna’s team, I would have tried convincing him to design a campaign targeting various issues, including the dangers of falling victim to fake news.
MAKE A SONG ABOUT ONE LOVE
An African giant doing a song about love to unite Africans after a wave of xenophobic attacks? I can’t think of a more teachable moment.
Consider Bob Marley lyrics for ‘Africa Unite’
‘Cause we’re moving right out BabylonAnd we’re going to our Father’s land
How good and how pleasant would it be
Before God and man, yeah
To see the unification of all Africans, yeah
All your love will make us ache
TOO SOON TO COLLABORATE WITH AKA?
I know this is pushing it, but history is made by those constantly willing to push the boundaries. I think the feud, from both sides, is a silly distraction to a serious issue. But I also think their unity would do so much for the culture, and for Africa.
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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.
When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.
A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.
The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.
This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.
Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.
Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.
After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.
Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.
In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.
After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.
Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.
Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.
Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.
In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?
Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.
We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.
What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.
We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.
Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.
First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe, the world ready to let old baggage go.
The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.
While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.
When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.
With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.
It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.
We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.