The importance of “Johnny” by Falz

by Zainab Ahmed

Falz’s music video for “Johnny”

“Eyan melo lo ma ku?”

– Falz in “Johnny”

Falz released the video for his song “Johnny” on November 10th, 2020 in order to highlight the ENDSARS protests occurring across Nigeria. The video starts with showing Falz and others portray the Nigerians murdered by SARS policemen. They are covered in a pool of blood while onlookers take videos and talk to reporters trying to make sense of the senseless killings. Throughout the music video (which has a sensitivity warning on Youtube) it shows real videos of protestors, both dead and alive. We see Nigerians getting hosed by Nigerian police, getting shot as well as dying and being mourned. Falz also depicts the randomness of SARS police searches with a group of boys being forced out of their vehicles and harassed. They insult them and ask for their “share” before shooting one of the boys and fleeing. Falz ends the video in a gathering to mourn those they have lost with the last words of the song being “eyan melo lo ma ku” which translated from Yoruba means “how many people will die.”

Falz the rapper

This was heavily important in order to bring more light to ENDSARS protests. Many Nigerians only had themselves to report what was going on since the Nigerian government heavily tried to suppress the issue. There were some Nigerian entertainers that received backlash such as Burna Boy. He was mainly silent during the beginning of the protest which caused Nigerians to refuse to play his music during protests which he responded in a tweet saying “even JESUS was crucified.” Falz did not follow Burna’s route and instead gave a song showing the pain of his people and the disappointment with the Nigerian government, which he is not new to doing. In 2018 he released “This is Nigeria” which was inspired by Childish Gambino’s “This is America” and highlighted the numerous problems in Nigerian society. Since he has a reputation of speaking for the average Nigerian many appreciated and felt seen by “Johnny”.

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