Arts + Culture

NextGen: DJ feMo Is Putting Africa's Alternative Sounds on the Map

In our latest edition of "NextGen," British-Nigerian DJ feMo wants the world to know Africa from the perspective of Africans through music.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 

Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our 15th edition, meet British-Nigerian DJ, producer and radio presenter, DJ FeMo.

Oluwafemi Gbadamosi, known as DJ feMo, is a British-Nigerian DJ, producer and radio presenter currently based in London.

Femo’s mixes and songs are a medley of global sounds that are intended to put the alternative sounds and styles of Africa in conversation with the rest of the world. Her show, So Rad, on London’s youth-led Reprezent Radio is on air every other Thursday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and is a platform to showcase Nigeria’s entrepreneurial and creative youth culture. Through her show she tell unique stories and brings more awareness to alternative and rising African artists.

Photo courtesy of DJ Femo.

When asked about what Afrofuturism means to her she says, “Afrofuturism, to me, is a movement that champions Pan-Africanism in Africa and the rest of the international black diaspora. It is a constant learning process that helps us to grasp the history of Africans around the world and what shapes the present conditions of black people internationally. This understanding further helps us to configure the idea of what we want our future as a community to entail."

Photo courtesy of DJ Femo.

She continues:

"It is important that black people begin to take control of the narrative on Africa in educational institutions as well as in the media because as human beings we attach our self-worth to what we know about ourselves. Due to our failure to cherish and pass on information about history within black communities, there is a sincere lack of pride about our heritage plaguing most black youths today. Afrofuturism allows us to be multifaceted and knowledgeable assets to our community through our different skill sets and characteristics."

feMo hopes to continue to spread positive messages with her show and brand Something Radical.

"Personally, I’d like to bring to the forefront information about alternative music, culture and lifestyles within Nigeria in the past, present and future," she adds. "Something Radical intends to broaden the perspective of Africa in Western media and represents actual Africans, not someone’s idea of what Africa is supposed to be.”

Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.

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