Have you seen the Nigerian version of Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’?

This Is Nigeria is an inspired piece of work by a “brilliant and highly distinct” (Bahd) actor, musician and entertainer, who also happens to be as funny as the first guy. [article, video]

Falz The Bahd Guy's version of 'This is America'
Falz The Bahd Guy – ‘This is Nigeria’. Screenshot: C. Bird

This Is Nigeria stars Folarin Falana, who goes by the stage name Falz, aka Falz The Bahd Guy. He sings and acts in the video, which draws inspiration from the recently released viral video, This Is America, by actor, musician and entertainer Donald Glover, who released the song under the stage name Childish Gambino.

The Nigerian version of the song opens with a voiceover by Falz’s father, lawyer and human rights activist Femi Falana, according to OkayAfrica magazine, discussing the consequences of rampant corruption and exploitation. The song then cuts to the critical refrain: “This Is Nigeria, look how I’m living now, look how I’m living now. Everybody be criminal.”

“The opening lines set the tone for the rest of the song and video, in which Falz tackles everything from the government’s sluggish response to the missing Chibok Girls, the drug epidemic affecting Nigerian youth, widespread consumerism, the country’s infamous Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), internet fraud, crooked pastors, Fulani herdsmen and even Big Brother Nigeria,” says OkayAfrica.

Inspired by the most popular video of the year, This Is Nigeria, also takes place in an underground parking garage with groups of people showcasing Nigerian cultural influences through their interactions. It’s all a contradictory mix of contemporary with the traditional, in everything from religion to dance. Its seems to say, like the two artists, Falz and Childish Gambino, America has a lot in common with Nigeria when it comes to the things they consider sacred – right down to their social attitudes toward consumerism, overconsumption and self-indulgence.

We see the usual sarcasm found in Falz’s personal videos on social media and in songs like Foreign, where he pokes fun at people who travel abroad and return home with forced British accents, an absurd sense of style for the climate and culture, and even an acquired taste for American things that are inaccessible to most Americans.

He may change the meaning of words or use the same phrases in a different language in his music to highlight hypocrisy. The girl who just wants Something Light to eat on her date in the song featuring YCee proceeds to order everything on the menu. Something Light becomes quelque chose léger in La Fête, another song in which he sings in Swahili, Yoruba, French, English and an English that Nigerians refer to as Pidgin.

The wordplay is fun to listen to and is sharp when used to mock people who are hypocritical, like those who embrace religion to get rich, those who are suck-ups, fakers and posers, who put on false fronts just to appease others or to show off. He likes to pick on preachers. He’s definitely a Bahd Guy.

Falz is a lawyer, an award-wining musician, both in the US and in Nigeria and an award-winning actor for his work in television in Nigeria. He sings about democracy and political hysteria in This Is Nigeria. The video was released days ahead and just in time to climb the charts for Democracy Day in Nigeria on May 29.

Falz – ‘This Is Nigeria’ video – on Vevo

by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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