Anchors In Senegal & Uganda Are Rapping The News, & It's Seriously Addictive To Watch — VIDEO
When you think of cutting-edge media, your mind probably doesn't automatically conjure anything from Africa. But that's where some of the most entertaining news programs are currently coming from. Anchors in Senegal and Uganda are rapping the news in slick, well-made clips that feel like a combination between a BBC News segment and a Jay Z video. The hip-hop journalists behind Senegal's Journal Rappe and Uganda's NewzBeat hope their style of newscast will help a newer generation relate to the mainstream media. Given how much us Americans enjoy watching Jimmy Fallon "Slow Jam the News," this new media/musical genre will surely have everyone tuning in to current events.
In Senegal, rappers Xuman and Keyti, the duo behind Journal Rappe, have made news feel exciting and relevant again with their lyrical reporting, which Keyti describes as "edu-tainment." In Uganda, NewzBeat's Lady Slyke (Uganda's Queen of Hip-Hop), Survivor, and MC Loy are doing the same, offering "info with a flow." Both groups cover important topics like elections, pollution, and corruption, but instead of simply reading the latest stories, each segment is a full-blown production. Xuman explained to CNN that sometimes it can take up to eight hours to write, edit, and produce each "song."
In addition to defying format conventions, the two groups also defy party alliances, reporting from a stance that's neutral but no less critical. Xuman explained to CNN:
Most of the press groups are either working for the government or against the government ... so we just wanted to give our own point of view.
Journal Rappe raps in both French and Wolof, the most commonly spoken language in Senegal, in order to reach a wide audience. For them, the goal is to motivate the country to take an interest in the issues so that together they can enact change. Xuman explained:
Inspiring people is important. Show them the way, make them believe that they can make it happen. With one microphone, one pen, one camera, and your inspiration, you can change the world.
Here are some clips of Journal Rappe in action.
Here's NewzBeat and its lady rappers being ridiculously cool and informative at the same time.
And just for the sake of comparison, here's a classic "Slow Jam the News" clip.
Both styles make the news much more fun to digest. Here's hoping someone will come up with operatic news next.