Bringing back Fela: Why it is time for artistes to also speak through their art in the #EndSARS movement

Even the most insentient person in the country knows that a revolution is already being brewed. Such is the magnitude and intensity of the protests that have engulfed major cities in Nigeria. What seemed like a usual social media hashtag movement escalated into a full-blown demonstration, the like of which this generation has never seen.

The role of entertainers, celebrities and influencers alike cannot be downplayed. Falz and Runtown deserved the applause they got for taking the lead in what, in hindsight, set the tone for the nature of the protests which have lasted for close to a week now.

Across the globe, Nigerian celebrities were seen putting their influence to use with Wizkid spotted in London, Adekunle Gold in Houston, Dice Ailes in Canada, among many others. In Nigeria, the base, influence heavyweights came out in droves. The manner in which seemingly squeaky-clean celebrities hugged rugged activities inspired their fans to follow in their footsteps.

Mentioning names may not be necessary as their names and faces have continued to grace social media pages. From securing meetings with government authorities to facilitating the release of arrested protesters and contributing resources towards the sustenance of protests, the impact of our entertainers has been felt across board.

In recent times, some have taken to the studio to voice their concerns and interests. However, with the direction of these protests and the astute organisation which has been on display, it may be time to consider an idea which was championed by Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo, in the ‘80s – performance activism.

With an array of musicians committed to the cause, an audience of Police-frustrated youth and a Federal Government with a recalcitrant disposition, the ingredients appear complete for the recipe of performance activism. Many artistes in this dispensation have often referenced Fela as their idol and it would be a good time to follow in the footsteps of the iconic activist and musician.

Fela was the kind who never held back in criticising the government of the day and considering that no tangible action had been taken other than replacing SARS with SWAT, the stage is perhaps set for an invocation of the legendary singer.

Alongside plans to occupy major locations in the country with live football streaming, night parties and games, a concert to further the cause in the universal language of music is one which should be included as well.

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