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Video: U.S. Army Does Azonto In Afghanistan

The furore over the U.S. Army's Azonto is just a big distraction.

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Looks like the U.S. Army has submitted an entry to the #ANTENNADANCE competition (in which people record themselves dancing to Fuse ODG's hit Antenna).  The vid features soldiers pranking, grinding, shimmying, & (inexplicably) doing the dougie on tanks, in the feel-good vein of last year's 'Call me Maybe' cover, or 2008's 'The Ding Dong Song' or 2009's 'Ice Ice Baby' . . . you get the picture.  We came across it via Report Ghana, who tell us that "Afghanistan is actually known for war and suicide bombing" and then enthuse "It is really amazing to see that Ghana's azonto has spread world-wide."

Not sure how Report Ghana figured that a video in which U.S. soldiers bounce around barracks and dance with the odd Afghani kid is going to radically alter representations of Afghanistan. And in this instance, is it really worth celebrating Ghana's global reach? Mainly, in the vein of Hearts and Minds, the video functions as good PR for the Army and the U.S. government. Distracted by all the frat-boy homerotic fun and games, everyone (me included) starts feeling sentimental about "the boys" and forgets to ask what the the Army is still doing in Afghanistan . . . and why our leaders saw fit to send it in the first place.

On a purely formal note: this is not azonto - just bad dancing set to an azonto soundtrack.

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Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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