Liberian hip-hop artist Pochano discusses the aftermath of Liberia through his 2012 song, “Product of a Failed State”. In his visual for the song, he incorporates clips from both the past and present of Liberia, including footage from the civil war. The footage of Pochano rapping is shot in a run down hotel called “Hotel Africa”, and in the notorious neighborhood of West Point.
The overall message of the song is to place blame on the government for the conditions many in the country are forced to live in. In the song, Pochano says:
I’m a product of a failed state/
Yup, I carry the weight of the mistakes made by ex-slaves and the forefathers/
To emphasize the idea that the lives that Liberians are living is the result of a failed state, the visual has different people–ranging from adults to children–reciting the line, “I’m a product of a failed state”. These expressions reveal how much trauma and despair is left for adults and children to bare after the civil war destroyed their country.
What intrigued me most about this song and video is that it was more than just a song. The visual is a product of a documentary that was in the works at the time called called The Product of a Failed State-Liberia. This documentary is about a generation of young entrepreneurs in post-war Liberia. It also takes a glimpse at the recovery process after the war. Pochano’s “Product of a Failed State” takes on the role of activism by holding the government accountable for the way his people live. By using his influence, he promotes a platform for reform in his respective country through powerful visuals. I commend him for the video, and I definitely will be looking into more of his work.
Below is the video to Pochano’s “Product of a Failed State”: