Saturday, March 29, 2008

Adam A. Zango's "Tarbiya" from the album "Bahaushiya" that landed him in prison--who has spoiled the youth....?

In the vein of Eedris Abdulkareem's muckraking, yet entertaining, "Mr. Lecturer," Adam A. Zango critiques the elders for the problems of the youth... Why do the youth take drugs? Who is spoiling the young women?

His response to the critique of the "big men" making the rules is that in fact it is they, the elderly and the powerful, who are the problem. I heard this sentiment over and over the last time I was in Kano. I suspect this, along with timing (right after the Hiyana scandal) and the edgy dancing, is why he recieved such a harsh penalty.

This whole album deserves some serious scholarly, activist, and artistic attention--which I intend to write up if I can get a hold of the whole album when I return.

Adam A. Zango's "Bahaushiya"--the song that landed him in prison

Preparing for the defense of my dissertation proposal this coming Monday, I do a little "studying" on YouTube and find the video I have been looking for since last September.

This, ladies and gentlemen, maza da mata, is the song Adam A. Zango was sent to prison for 6 months for.

Apparently, the biggest problem (other than the vigorous dancing, occasionally glimpsed middriffs, and perhaps the shirtless young men?) was that he named the album "Bahaushiya" (Hausa woman), which was seen as "slander" against "all Hausa women," under the censorship laws against slurs against ethnicity, because "Hausa women don't dance like that." Wai.

For more information on this case, see
"How Adam A. Zango ended up in prison"

"Exodus of Artistes hits Kannywood"

"Resumption of Film Activities in Kano"

"Aftermath of the Nude Video -- Resurgance of Kannywood"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bottom Up Democracy: Barack Obama in Salem, OR, speaks of the differences between him and Hillary Clinton

(Got this from Baratunde's blog)In 5 minutes Barack Obama lays down the main issues that differentiate him from Hillary Clinton. Beginning with a classy note of praise for Ms. Clinton's strengths, he thoughtfully but quickly makes a strong case for how his approach is superior to hers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A More Perfect Union


I'm sorry I have taken such a long break from blogging, and that I have blogged about pretty much nothing else but the American election process the past couple of months as I try to get this man, Barack Obama, who blows my educated cynicism to smithereens, elected.

I was going to write about Dreams from My Father, which I finished on a plane to Atlanta last week, and how it made me hopeful and sad, melancholy and amazed all at one time. Does America deserve a man like this as president? Can we rise above the grubby reality of politics as usual to work together for a common good? Are we ready for this? Is the nation he imagines possible? And what will the presidency do to him?

Today, I was blown away again by his speech "A More Perfect Union," which struck me as about the most perfect description and confrontation of race in America that I have seen in a long time--or at least since I finished his memoir. It indicated an understanding of both white and black America--the "sometimes bawdy humor" the "dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear" of the mostly black church I attend, the anger and frustration of those who have to deal daily with ingrained racism in society--the story my pastor has told about how he will never know if the person who demanded his ticket as he walked into a theatre behind his white friends was racist or not, but how such reocurring and repetitive slights rankle for years; the apologetic and curious tone my working-class white Republican aunt took last week as we talked about how admirable Obama is and when she apologized to me for not being able to support him. "I know," I said, startled. I never expected her to, but it made me hopeful to hear how much she liked him anyway. How all the bitterness I've heard in previous years when she spoke of "hypocritical and self righteous liberal" democrats melted away when she spoke of Obama--the wonder and sheepishness in her voice.

Obama consistently resists the easy political binaries that fit into sound bites, and his speech today, in which he critiqued Reverend Wright's controversial statements while acknowledging the good he and his church community has done--the love he has for both his pastor and his occasionally racist white grandmother--was that of a visionary, a wise man, and a poet. But also one who is close enough to the people to see us for who we are.

THIS ultimately is America. This is America in all its complexity and nuance--its mess and its beauty-- its loves and its hates--its anxieties and its hopes--its bitter history and its idealism. Obama respects America by taking his audience seriously. The question is, are we Americans ready for that? Are we ready for open and honest dialogue? Can we handle it? Can we live up to these expectations? Does he tap into our collective hope or is he a prophet who will fall beneath the stones of those who cannot bear to hear Truth?

I find myself praying for politicians these days. For wisdom and strength. For good to prevail. Lord knows I'm being idealistic. But I think He created us like that.