It’s been a whole year since the famous #EndSARS protests that started in Nigeria as the predominantly youth population hit the streets to decry an all-time high level of police brutality being meted out on young Nigerians across the country by an infamous unit of the Nigerian police force, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, whose activities have left in its wake countless testimonies of brutality, extortion, kidnapping, torture, destruction and death from those who have encountered officers of the police unit.
And on the first year memorial of that fateful Tuesday night on the 20th of October, 2020 when the protest was violently ended by the Nigerian military as armed servicemen reportedly shot at unharmed protesters holding up the Nigerian flag, claiming the lives of several, many Nigerians, including R&B singer/songwriter and record producer Jasën Blu, went down the memory lane and celebrated the departed while indicating the fight for justice is far from over. Blu fittingly released My Kontri, his second single of the year, in the early hours of the EndSARS Memorial Day, followed by an official music video several hours later which, themed around a protest walk, coincided with the memorial drive-in memorial protest held at the Lekki Toll Gate, spearheaded by Nigerian celebrities including Mr. Macaroni, Falz and attended by a large number of young Nigerians.
Several days before its release, Jasën Blu announced the release of My Kontri in a video on his Instagram page, citing the October 2020 occurrence and the need to commemorate it as
inspiration. “It’s been a year and I can tell you it still hurts,” says Blu. He continues that, “In that protest we lost lives, and what we’re not going to do is forget those who lost their lives in the process. We’ll always remember them, we’ll always talk about them, we’ll always celebrate them, you know. And hopefully one day we’ll break through and get what we’ve always wanted as young Nigerians.”
My Kontri, written and produced in his usual fashion by Blu himself for his company SoundQraft LLC, seats cleverly composed lyrics of outright disapproval and indictment of SARS, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force as well as the Nigerian government on a heavy Hip-Hop production which is perfectly complemented by an equally scathing verse from the guest artiste Lauda, an indigenous rapper who also happens to be Blu‘s cousin. The lyrical performances from both artists consistently kick off with criticisms and tail off with encouraging the masses who love the country despite its innumerable woes to stand up.
The production also features actual recordings and audio clips from the scenes of protests, and in the beginning and the end of the song, back and forth chants of End SARS! and gunshots (apparently from the soldiers) can be vividly heard in the background.
The official music video was premiered same day, several hours after the song arrived on streaming platforms worldwide. Directed by Immanuel Udochukwu, the video reveal Blu and Lauda wearing the date of the Toll Gate shooting, 20.10.20, on white tee shirts and other people carrying several placards carrying the same date code. Also making a special cameo appearance in the video is FlagBoii, the famous flag bearer at the EndSARS protests, who joins Blu and Lauda in a protest march-themed performance of the song.
“What happened last year really sparked a very big ray of hope in me,” stated Blu in his Instagram video, “and has inspired somebody like me to continue speaking [up] with my music, my craft and what I do.”
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