Wifey had a paper due yesterday for her Anthropology class. For the last 10 years (since undergrad and her 1st masters degree) I’ve helped edit her papers. Naturally, for her 2nd masters degree I wasn’t going to get any more naptime for good behavior. So, she had to use an old paper (the one I linked to a while ago on Fela Kuti and Afrobeat) and merge it with a new one. The topic she chose was Nigerian Afrobeat and Norwegian Black Metal and how they subscribe to the tenets of Frantz Fanon‘s 3 stages of the native intellectual.
Fanon is a really interesting person. He was a black psychiatrist/philisopher/revolutionary from Martinique, in France. While editing her paper, I learned a bit about him. He fascinates me. When I have more time, I’m going to grab some of his books, especially The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks. He’s portrayed in Western culture as an advocate of violence, and I can see why, but apparently in the original French, his tone is a little different. But here’s the gist of what wifey used to tie Afrobeat and Norwegian Black Metal evolution together:
Olorunyomi believed that in essence, Fela conforms to Fanon’s theory of the “three stages of native intellectual”, in which the first phase consists of the native’s acceptance of and assimilation into the over-ruling colonial power (a blind embrace). The second phase consists of the native’s realization of his oppression which incurs a “romantic retreat into a native cocoon”; a re-embracing of the traditions of a pre-colonial era and native society. The third and last stage is the native critically reassessing his current national society and engaging and inciting his indigenous group to help undermine it.
Fanon wrote about the “psychopathy of colonization”, which, after reading other material about imperialism and Columbus, I’m inclined to agree with. That also sounds like it would make an awesome song or album title.
Anyhow, Black Metal, especially in Norway, evolved along a similar path. There are differences, of course, due to time, culture, location and more. The Norwegians also took it a step or two farther than the Nigerians. Their “inciting the indigenous group to help undermine” an oppressive force or regime became physical. I’m hoping that we can expand on it sometime. Partly because I think there’s a lot more to say, and partly because she wrote it in a night, with revisions happening over the span of hours on two subsequent days. I think that with more time, it could have become even stronger, and I like reading about music and its effect on people and cultures.
Here’s the paper, and the older one on which its based:
- Musical Assault! Fanon’s Ideology as applied to Afrobeat and the Rise of Norwegian Black Metal Music
- Review: Afrobeat! Fela and the Imagined Continent
This entry was posted on December 14, 2011 by vishalicious. It was filed under Background, Music Culture & History and was tagged with Afrobeat, black metal, Black Skin, Fela Kuti, Frantz Fanon, Music, The Wretched of the Earth, White Masks, wifey.