Falz is a Nigerian rapper, actor, and director known for his versatility and distinct wordplay in his rhymes. He is also known as the son of Femi Falana, a Nigerian lawyer and activist. Falz uses his platform as a rapper to speak up about issues around the world. In “Johnny”, Falz uses powerful imagery to portray the effect of SARS in Nigeria and how important it is that an effective solution is found. Johnny is a name that doesn’t belong to anyone in particular but represents any Nigerian. Showing multiple people on the ground killed by SARS police proves that anyone could be a victim of police brutality no matter where citizens are from in Nigeria. The themes in his song and music video are very similar to what Black people in America face every day.
Falz mentions people being afraid to leave their homes in fear of their children or themselves being harassed or killed by police for no reason. Throughout the video, we see Nigerians’ mindless killings by their people, who, instead of helping them, are actively snatching their lives away. There is also a scenario of young Nigerians having fun, driving their car, and SARS snatching them out of their vehicle to see if they’re criminals. Without any reason for them to stop the group, SARS kills one of the men in an unnecessary altercation. A line that stuck out the most is when Falz says,
“Him wan go study. Johnny says he wan be a doctor”
because police murder Black people without thinking about what dreams or aspirations they might have had. This kind of violence and flawed reasoning is the actual disease the world is facing.
Falz goes on to question the cause of all the violence he sees and the impact of religion and the government. The Nigerian government is known for being shifty in practice, as we also see in Falz’s “This is Nigeria” video. Politicians having sponsored violence in gangs, it isn’t surprising that they haven’t done much about SARS. Falz’ final question, “Eyan Melo lo ma Ku!” Translates to” ‘How many citizens would have to die due to the negligence of the policemen and government?”