Tigist Asmare is a popular Ethiopian musician. Her most famous song, Amelegnaw, gained widespread popularity and topped charts for over 8 weeks. Her most recent song and music video, Alan Wey, however, has garnered attention much quicker due to its social and political message. Not only did the lyrics directly comment on her stance on the political situation within Ethiopia, but the addition of the music video raised much controversy within the Ethiopian hip hop scene.
The title, “Alen Wey”, translates to English as, “Are We Here?” This title depicts the overall theme of the music video, which is a call to action for her tribe and Ethiopia as a whole. The lyrics already carry a heavy political message and call to action, however, her music video illustrated the emphasis of her words. The music video conveys multiple different settings in which they are shown as soldiers of Fano. Fano is a youth group within the Amhara region of Ethiopia. This group is a protest group and is also an armed militia. In the music video, Asmare depicts herself and the other actors as members of Fano and sings about their determination and bravery. She calls them “Ambessa”, or in English “Lion”, multiple times, which is synonymous with strength and courage in Ethiopia.
The music video, however, is controversial within Ethiopia because of the current warfare and political tension between tribes. Fano is in some regions a group that is credited for defending Ethiopia and its people for years through its volunteer soldiers. However, in other regions, people accuse Fano as a group that incites massacres within Ethiopia. Due to the way Asmare conveys not only Fano, but also the association with Fano and the Ethiopian flag, the video has garnered much controversial commentary.