I be Africa Man Original!

Fela, the true Africa Man, challenges those of us who are so quick to adopt a “Colonial Mentality” and warns us about the dangers of not staying true to our African culture and mannerisms. He uses the most obvious adoption of western clothing despite its unsuitability to the tropical African weather as the basis for this song. This assimilation clearly extends beyond the clothing and is addressed over and over again in several other Fela songs.

While there is nothing wrong with adopting the western culture, I think the key is in how we adapt these elements to our everyday lives while staying true to our Africanism. One can argue that Fela started off playing Jazz with western musical instruments however; he demonstrated his ability to make it work for him when he gave the world Afrobeat.

The irony of all this is that Afrobeat (in particular) seems to have been more widely adopted by non Africans! I recall the very first time I saw Antibalas perform in Brooklyn (sometime in 2000), I was shocked to see that the only other black person at the venue apart from my boy and I was Amayo, the token lead singer. I haven’t been to an Antibalas show in a while but judging from the Jump ‘n Funk crowd that used to show up at SOB’s before they shut it down, things might be different these days. I’ll certainly check it out and let y’all know!

I leave you with these words from “I no be Gentleman”:

Africa hot, I like am so… I know what to wear but my friends don’t know.

E put im socks, e put im shoe, e put im pant, e put im singlet, e put im trouser, e put im shirt, e put im tie, e put im coat, e come cover all with him hat!

E be gentle man… E go sweat all over. E go faint right down. E go smell like sh*t. E go piss for body, e no go know.

I no be gentleman like that!

Full Lyrics below:

I no be gentuluman at all…

I no be gentuluman at all…

I no be gentuluman at all…

….

I no be gentuluman at all…

I no be gentuluman at all…

I no be gentuluman at all 0!

I no be gentuluman at all at all

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

 

Them call u make u come chop

You chop small, you say you belleful

You say you be gentleman

You go hungry

You go suffer

You go quench

Me I no be gentleman like that…

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

You dey go your way, the jeje way

Somebody come bring original trouble

You no talk, you no want

You say you be gentleman

You go suffer

You go tire

You go quench

Me I no be gentleman like that

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

 

Africa hot, I like am so…

I know what to wear

But my friends don’t know

E put im socks

E put im shoe

E put im pant

E put im singlet

E put im trouser

E put im shirt

E put im tie

E put im coat

E come cover all with him hat

E be gentle man!

E go sweat all over

E go faint right down

E go smell like shit

E go piss for body, e no go know

I no be gentleman like that

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I no be gentleman at all at all

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

I be Africa Man Original

[I no be gentuluman at all O]

….

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “I be Africa Man Original!”

  1. I hear you on Afrobeat bringing in more non Black patrons.
    You should see my African dance classes, or even the drum shows I go to. I can count on my hands (normally one hand) the number of Black people at the shows that are NOT associated with my dance studio.

  2. Well, so much for afrobeat music. Femi seems like the only one singing it these days. 🙂

  3. Actually, there are actually quite a few Afrobeat bands out there. Even Seun (Fela’s younger son) is holding it down with the original Egypt 80 Band.

    I’ll put together a list and post something shortly!

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