Folarin Falana, better known as “Falz the Bahd Guy,” is a Nigerian musician, social media personality, and fashion designer.

Falz, the son of the famous Nigerian lawyer and activist Femi Falana, followed in his father’s footsteps by studying law at the University of Reading.

After graduating from the English university, Falz attended the Nigerian Law School, Abuja and became a certified lawyer. He is definitely a man of many trades.

Falz was recently thrust into the international spotlight with the release of his video “This is Nigeria,” a cover of Childish Gambino’s acclaimed “This is America.”

Falz’s video currently has over 8 million views on YouTube.

 

Despite Falz’s global success, his video was not met without controversy.

Critics have stated that Falz is simply a copycat looking for more accolades. The award-winning rapper responded by saying:

“This is supposed to be a remake. It is supposed to be a cover. It is not supposed to be original. I’m not trying to make money off it. Now, the sooner you realise that you are supposed to pick up the message, or the numerous messages on the track , the better for your life, the sooner you start to act accordingly, the better for your own personal life. This is not business. This is a moral instruction. Wake up.”

Throughout his video, Falz stares directly into the camera as if he is demanding attention. Veiled girls dance behind him, reminiscent of the girls stolen by Boko Haram. The video includes shots of corrupt pastors and bodies being stepped over, signifying lack of respect or honor for life. 

Every frame of the video directed by Iyobosa ‘Geezy’ Rehoboth is a sharp criticism of the West African nation’s sociopolitical climate. 

Falz told CNN via e-mail:

“The primary motivation was to trigger an awakening among the Nigerian people about the numerous political and social ills that we constantly face as a country, and more importantly to spark a reaction in the positive direction.”

Similarly, Donald Glover’s criticism of American racism and gun violence was, presumably, to incite enough passion in viewers to make a positive change.

Childish Gambino’s “This is America”

 

“This is Nigeria” was not made by an over-privileged person who has no traumatic experiences. Falz recently opened up about his own encounter with random violence.

While performing at the Becoming Falz The Bahd Guy, TraceLive Event, the rapper detailed the moment he was shot at by armed robbers.

He stated:

“On our way, we were asleep at the back when we woke to a loud sound, apparently it was the sound of a bullet. There were three guys ahead of us and they kept shooting at the car.

One of the bullets hit our driver right in the face and he died, but his legs were on the accelerator. The car kept moving but it veered off the main road and crashed straight into a ditch. We all thought that was the end.

It took us some minutes to regain consciousness, as someone was knocking on our door. As I managed to crawl out of the car thinking the person came to help. The next thing we heard was, ‘Where is the money?’

We kept hearing gunshots everywhere, but we were later rescued and taken to the hospital.” He lifted his shirt to show scars, hence proof his story.

Falz is only 27 years old and has been a part of the entertainment industry for a few years. His fans hope that he will continue on his current self-righteous path. Falz looks up to Fela Kuti and other artists who use their platforms to speak on important topics.

Likewise, on the topic of the intersection between political activism and music he stated:

“We have the voice as artists. We need to use that voice for the right purpose. Speak the truth. We need to wake people up because… the terrible state of Nigeria has become so normalized that people almost don’t remember that it’s irregular.”

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons