For Angélique Kidjo, the pandemic of sars coronavirus as the current protest against racism in the United States have spread to the big day to the flaws of capitalism is that it calls for reform.
June 5, 2020 9h27
Angélique Kidjo : Pandemic and events are an alarm signal
NEW YORK — For Angélique Kidjo, the new star of african music known for her activism and her experiences of fusion between music, african and western, the pandemic of sars coronavirus as the current protest against racism in the United States have spread to the big day to the flaws of capitalism is that it calls for reform.
As an ambassador for Unicef, the singer, who will be 60 years old on 14 July — two weeks before the 60th anniversary of the independence of Benin where she was born — including recently recorded a version of the tube anti-apartheid Pata Pata, the legend of south african Miriam Mabeka, with lyrics reworked to encourage the distancing in the face of the pandemic.
Excerpts of an interview granted to the AFP via Zoom from Paris, where the singer, who divides her time between the French capital and New York, isolated with her husband for the pandemic, and is working on a new album.
Q What lessons can you pull from this pandemic ?
R greed has weakened our system, our ecosystem, our humanity, our freedom, everything. This is an alarm bell to all of us, the sign that we can’t stay the observer, in a society where there is so much injustice and inequalities of wealth.
People work and earn nothing…capitalism doesn’t work for everyone.
We must have the courage to rethink capitalism, to give priority to the people. There are things on which we cannot speculate: health, education, all the services for human well-being.
A good lesson of COVID: it is necessary to put a damper on our arrogance. We must realize that we are not invincible.
Regardless of your wealth, […], a tiny virus can kill you. The COVID has been a time of reflection, which confirms that he must remain humble: we may lose tomorrow what we have today.
Q How do you see the protests against racism in the United States and elsewhere ?
R What happens in the United States lasts for an eternity. It may be the drop that makes the vase overflow. He does one read his rights before putting him in the knee to the neck, and the head in the gutter ? All the hatred of Blacks is concentrated in this moment.
Black people can be killed at any time. It is unbearable in the Twenty-first century. It’s like a worm that eats the apple from the inside. It should solve the problem. We can not say that one believes in the Declaration of Independence, when the first article says that we are all born equal in rights.
We need to unite as the american people, the whole world is watching us. It is not the largest country in the world if you can’t do it.
And let’s not responsible to say that we do not have the right to go out in the street : to be silent, it is to be complacent, it is criminal.
Q do you Believe changes are possible ?
R I always have hope, no matter what happens, because without hope, what’s the good of getting up in the morning and make plans ?
We can go out in the street — fighting for their rights, without violence.
I understand the anger, I understand everything and more, because I suffered discrimination all the time, but I do not answer with violence. Because with the violence, there was more conversation, you can’t change anything because it gives more power to the person who is abusing you.
Until the next elections, show all days… In numbers. If you just sit down and say, “We ask justice, we want the police to be accountable.”
Q How can it be expressed in music ?
R The music frees people. When the dictatorship starts, the first thing removed, this is the music — it silences people.
A society without culture cannot survive, it is impossible because we are not fully rational, we are also spirituality, we are art, it’s in our DNA.
And without black music, there’s more to modern music. The music that we love comes from a place of pain, the abolition of slavery. It irritates people, because it raises the question — why hate us Black people if we love to dance on their music?
Q do you Have the answer ?
R It is the human complexity, it is our hypocrisy, our schizophrenia.