Do talking heads speaking in monotone, party-line pundits, and thinly-veiled corporate agendas turn you off from the evening news? If you speak French or Wolof (a Senegalese language), there’s a program out there for you!
In 2011, the rap collective Y’En a Marre banded together to use their weight as cultural ambassadors to oppose the reelection of Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade with accusations of corruption. Since that victory, hip-hop has continued to be a political force in the country, especially since the launch of the short TV and web series, Journal Rappé.
Rapping co-anchors Xuman (real name: Makhtar Fall) and Keyti (real name: Cheikh Sène) present Journal Rappé in four minute segments that air on national television after a traditional news program every Friday night. The next day, the broadcast is uploaded on YouTube, where they have found success and critical praise since launching in April.
The activist rappers had a fair amount of previous success in their careers as independent artists and as a part of groups like Rap’Adio and United Artists for African Rap, but as they’ve grown older (Fall is 39 and Sène is 40) the arena of politics seems like a fitting next step.
The shows cover local topics like voter registration and public health to international topics like protests in Brazil and the war in Syria. Sène told the Wall Street Journal, “We’re just trying to break some rules.” More importantly, as Africa Is a Country notes, literacy in Senegal is below 50 percent, making the idea and execution of the show that much more brilliant.
Check out the ITN coverage of Journal Rappé below:
Alexis Stephens (@pm_jawn) is a staff writer at MTV Iggy.