Up and coming rapper from Burundi, Olegue Baraka, has been arrested after publishing a video promoting an upcoming concert of his. The charges are “public contempt of good morals”.
The video depicts Olegue dressed as a Catholic prelate and a young woman dressed as a nun, shaking her behind, as one does when having fun.
This did not sit well with the Catholic organisation in the country, of which the President is a devout member.
Burundi is a landlocked, extremely poor country in East Africa and it’s not exactly famous for nurturing free speech. But whether it is in poor Burundi or wealthy Spain, rappers face the same hardships: say the ‘wrong thing’, upset the crown or cross and you get arrested.
Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Iran is well known for its incredibly rich and diverse culture. It is the birthplace of some of the first known complex musical instruments and there is documentation of song and music being part of life in Iran for millenniums.
Hiphop culture is one of the most recent variations to enter Iranian music culture but especially since the Islamic revolution in 1979 being a rapper in Iran has become troublesome.
The Iranian regime has in recent years reigned down on free speech and artistic expression, a sad fact about a country that once was at the forefront of culture and human rights.
On March 18 this year, a collective of young artists and rappers came together to create a massive production, a song called Khanevadegi 2 (which translates to Family 2). The following music video featuring 39 rappers from every province of Iran, showing each province’s cultural heritage through clothing, landscapes and language. The video could feature more women though, so we stay hopeful for Khanevadegi 3.
Recorded in secret, over the span of two years, the video depicts frustration and sadness over the bleak situation facing artists and civilians in today’s Iran. Featuring Persians, the largest ethnic group, as well as Arab, Azeri, Baluch, Gilaki, Kurdish, Lur, Mazanderani, and Semnani ethnic minorities, the video portrays some if Iran’s beautiful and historic monuments and sites.
The mammoth of a video comes fully equipped with English subtitles so there is no excuse not to dive in and give it a listen.