Song of the Month: Ode to Ignorance by REMI (August 2016)

This song, Ode to Ignorance, is exactly what its title implies it is: an ode to the ignorant calling out the social injustices that artist Remi ‘REMi’ Kolawole has experienced in his life as a Nigerian-Australian who had grown up in the capital of Australia, Canberry, and kept a vigilant eye on the racism plaguing his country he had been born and raised in.

Some people will never learn to take the perspectives of others who do not share their own world view, so Remi gives his ode to ignorance by repeating the words of the ignorant himself showing what the opposing perspective has to say without beating around the bush:

F*ck foreigners. Those Africans aren’t worth sh*t
F*ck the origins. Aboriginals aren’t worth sh*t
F*ck foreigners. Indian, Islander, Arabic, Asian if you’re not male and caucasian you ain’t sh*t

Australia shares a similarly abhorrent history and failure to compensate with reparations just as America has. As a case example, in Australia the day that the British arived in 1788 and declared the land terra nullis, despite the history of the native people who had lived there for millennia, has become the holiday “Australia Day,” despite its lack of recognition of aboriginals who had lived in the land of modern day Australia long before any of the British inhabited the land. As a result, the holiday on January 26th is known as “Invasion Day” by those who refuse to forget the true past of this ‘holiday.’

Australia’s Invasion Day is similar to America’s holiday celebrated on October 10 this year, Columbus Day. The day is referred to as Indigenous People’s Day, though it is not formally recognized throughout the countries and the atrocities that America was founded on were ignored. Remi calls out this history, noting that the native peoples are grouped with the foreigners, both seen as other as long as they aren’t apart of the ‘superior’ invading race that has thrived ever since 1788. The first step in the path to a diverse and truly whole society is acknowledging the flaws and detrimental social norms of a society, and Remi acknowledges that without hesitation in his song Ode to Ignorance.

That’s just the chorus, however, and the rest of the song deserves a listen to while truly listening to the lyrics (click on lyrical excerpt above to be linked to genius.com’s lyrical annotation). Within his four minute song, Remi addresses ‘the race card,’ implicit and systemized biases, and the importance of representation in the media and in pop culture.

Saja Hussein

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