By: Diego Austin
Negro Bey’s song “Pandemia” tackles the effects of Covid-19 in Equatorial Guinea, and Africa in general, as cases were rising in May of 2020. Negro Bey is a rapper from Equatorial Guinea who primarily raps in Spanish. He has been known to voice his opposition to the country’s authoritarian government which has been run by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbason since 1979. Negro Bey primarily addressed his dissatisfaction with the regime in his 2013 song “Carta al Presidente (Letter to the President),” which was a brave move considering the government’s poor treatment of opposition figures and human rights. Also featured in the song is Jamin Dogg, who has also voiced his opposition to the regime, causing him to briefly be arrested in 2018. The chorus features singers Mitwa and Narkelly Pina, both also from Equatorial Guinea.
The song has a somber mood and properly pays respect to the victims of Covid-19 and the sacrifices people have had to endure, while also calling for unity and pushing a message of hope. Negro Bey raps about his dream of a future free of the pandemic and says he sometimes “wants to pray to see if someone hears him,” signaling the devastating psychological effects of the pandemic. He also recalls how people no longer enjoy the freedoms they used to due to the need to quarantine. He finishes the song on a hopeful and inspirational note, saying, “the world is ours, let wisdom win.” This is shortly followed by a visual of a sign that reads “stay home,” further stressing one of the song’s messages: the pandemic can be overcome if people work together and take the virus seriously.
Similarly, Jamin Dogg talks about the deadly effects of Covid in Africa while also saying that people are strong enough to find a way past it. Calling for strength and solidarity, he says “we are sons of warriors, sons of time…sons of doctors who work for us,” which gets a bit lost in translation since it rhymes in Spanish but not in English.
The chorus then calls for unity among all people, rich and poor, and reiterates feelings of sadness and loss.
The lyrics are accompanied by a somber beat and visuals of the negative effects of Covid in Africa. This includes empty streets, empty schools, footage of people in hazmat suits, and graves dug in preparation for new waves of the pandemic. Throughout the video, all the artists mostly wear medical gear and masks, promoting respect for and solidarity with medical workers and safe practices.
Overall, the song is a great tribute to people who have lost their lives or their mobility during the pandemic, while also broadcasting an inspirational call for solidarity, strength, and respect for medical workers.