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How Burkina Faso's Political Turmoil Shaped Rapper Art Melody's New Album

Art Melody details how the ousting of President Blaise Compaoré and several attempted coup d'états influenced his new album 'Moogho'


Ouagadougou-based rapper Art Melody is readying the release of Moogho, an experimental hip-hop album largely inspired by the current political turmoil in Burkina Faso. Moogho (which translates to “World” in the Mossi language Mooré) is a sharp criticism of the nation’s political situation and an educational tool for the Burkinabé people, especially the youth, in the face of ousted rulers like Blaise Compaoré and the attempted coup d'états that followed. Below, Art Melody explains the Burkinabé politics behind his new album and shares “Micro Makré,” a song about remaining vocal through struggle.

"When the water comes back up to the mountain, it's the end" (Mossi proverb)

I started composing Moogho at the end of 2013, one year before the events of October 2014. The writing process for Moogho was a continuation of my previous albums, reflecting current events, still - as always, it seemed - under the rule of Blaise Compaoré.

The lyrics changed as events came, in particular when the national focus shifted to article 37 of the Constitution: it limits the presidency to two five year terms, and Compaoré wanted to modify it yet again, even after 26 years in power!

Throughout 2013, everybody talked about article 37, the president insisted, artists started speaking up, journalists and representatives of the civil society also started speaking up. Moogho was forged during this entire process.

There is a very high rate of illiteracy in Burkina, so as an artist I felt the necessity to educate people about this article, and more generally about the entire political system in Burkina Faso, as did many artists in the country. In Moogho I call out the gigantic hole Compaoré has been digging for 27 years, I call out how Compaoré buys voters with t-shirts and 2000CFA bills (about USD3), I call out how the photo-ops may fool foreign media, but shouldn't fool our own people.

If we accept to sell our country for shirts and small bills, if we accept to keep feeding the corruption system, if we keep bribing police, we'll keep having corrupt, useless leaders. If we continue to seek quick gains, if the youth continues to drink and live on the fringes, if we accept to see our leaders driving huge cars, we will continue to live the same way, many children will never go to school, many young people will not contribute to building up the nation.

These same ideas fueled the insurrection, and as I saw people standing up, it gave me more inspiration, and more strength to fine tune my songs. I kept writing without knowing when I might record, so I continuously adjusted my songs. "Micro Makré" for instance, was recorded three times, first in France, then in Ghana, then later on in Burkina, each time with different lyrics, adapted to the evolving situation.

After the insurrection, I added these words to “Micro Makré”: "If you say nothing, you agree. If you disagree, you speak up." This is what happened on October 30 and 31, 2014, and this is what will happen again and again, in countries where leaders continue to hold their people by the balls.

I continued to write Moogho after the events, so the album also educates people about the next steps, in particular who to vote for, we can't vote for someone because they give us a t-shirt or a bill, we should vote for someone with a plan, a strategy, and the will and energy to change the country.

All of my albums talk about the system and the situation in Burkina Faso. Now that Compaoré is out, we as a people must ask ourselves how to move forward. This is something Moogho addresses, so in that sense, it continues the previous albums, and reflects the evolution of the situation in Burkina Faso.

Art Melody’s Moogho is available now on iTunes and Amazon from Tentacule Records / Akwaaba Music.

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Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

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