Nigerian rapper Falz has found himself the center of controversy after a Nigerian radio station was fined for broadcasting "vulgar lyrics" in his version of Childish Gambino's No. 1 hit "This is America." Falz's appropriately titled "This is Nigeria" has amassed over 13 million views on YouTube alone, receiving praise for its political commentary. But now, as CNN reports, the song is facing censorship in Nigeria itself.
Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) sent a letter fining a radio station for playing the song, citing "indecent and vulgar" lyrics. The NBC has fined the station $278, and as expected, Falz is not happy with their decision. "I am not happy that the NBC is preventing people from listening to such strong messages that need to be heard," Falz told CNN.
Like the original song, "This is Nigeria" takes the subject matter a bit further with its video, referencing the 2014 kidnapping of 276 school girls by Boko Haram as well as the nation's drug crisis. Falz insists that what he raps about on the song needs to be discussed, explaining, "There is a lot going on that needs to be talked about, even though a lot of people may not want to hear the truth.”
Following the letter, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has released a statement condemning NBC's decision. “The right to freedom of expression, information and ideas is applicable not only to comfortable, inoffensive or politically correct opinions, but also to ideas that offend, shock and disturb,” the non-profit organization said in a statement. “The constant confrontation of ideas, even controversial ones, is a stepping stone to achieving a vibrant democratic society, transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law[…] Vague rules on vulgarity and indecency should not be used subjectively to ban or fine independent media outlets, particularly radio and television channels.”
This isn't the first time Falz has received criticism for the song and video, with Nigeria's Muslim Rights Concern threatening to sue the rapper back in June. They claimed that the video's references to the Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their secondary school "demonized Nigerian Muslims." Their statement claimed it "portrayed women in hijab as choreographers dancing the 'shaku-shaku' (a dance associated with a drug related song)."