Watch: Falz the Bad Guy’s Childish Gambino Riff, This is Nigeria
Back in 2002, Filmmaker covered Nigeria’s “Nollywood” film scene, which producer Jeremy Nathan wrote, could be compared to the American no-budget movement of the ’80s and ’90s with its inventive, low-cost non-industry production models. Nollywood would go on to receive much international press over the years, with articles describing the interplay between Hollywood hits and the Nigerian variants they would inspire. The latest noteworthy example is actually not a movie or TV show but a music video. Nigerian rapper Falz the Bad Guy, a former lawyer, has released a riff on Childish Gambino’s This is America, in which the song and music video are copied and reworked. The DP of the original video, Larkin Seiple, broke down This is America‘s six shots for Filmmaker. At NPR’s Goats and Soda, Linus Unah walks us through the cultural references that abound in Falz’s video. Here’s Unah’s exegesis of minutes :30 to 1:10 in the video:
A machete-wielding man, dressed as a herdsman, simulates an attack on a blindfolded man. “Fulani herdsmen still dey slaughter, carry people dey massacre,” Falz says.
The scene refers to the country’s simmering conflict between herders, many from the Fulani ethnic group, and farming communities. Since 2011, both sides have been embroiled in clashes that have claimed more than 2,000 lives, according to Brussels-based think tank the International Crisis Group.
A woman picks up wads of colorful notes on the ground as a snake emerges from a half calabash melon to eat up the money. It’s a reference to a story from February: Philomena Chieshe, a sales clerk of Nigeria’s exam board, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, claimed that a snake ate 36 million naira ($100,000) from her office. Falz makes a joke about this story: “Where that Madam Philomena?” he asks, “money vanish for your office, 36 mily, you say na animal.”