Sister Derby Obama

Songs in the Key of Obama: Africans Sing About the First African-American President

Now that US President Barack Obama’s second term is super close to an end, and next week this cliffhanger horribleness will finally be over (we hope, we remember someone called Chad some years ago…) it’s time once again to give some dap to this son of Kenya’s presidency via the medium of song. Right now the reminiscence and sentimentality over him is in high rotation. So if you’re feeling some kind of typa way, this is definitely for you.

We start off in Kenya, of course, with a song by Atomy Sifa. “Karibu. Barack. Obama.” But. What is that photo when he says “may glory be to God?” A white Jesus? Ma Afilikans mwe please. Start again, try again. There are sooo many things happening in this video including lion-standing. Including crocodile caressing. Beyond understanding but high entertainment value. The traditional dancers are the best thing about it.

This song by Cameroonian Tata Kingue is a respectful praise song and has that traditional thing going for it. There are shout-outs to many notables. But who is “Alka Sharpton”? Président Barack Obama this is your song, coming from Cameroon. Pressidanteh!

This track, however, by Ghanaian singer-satirist Sister Deborah (“Sister Derby”), is straight up cheeky, straight up disrespectful. (And I love it chale)

And then there’s this effort from South Africans in a pub in the rarefied space that is Franschhoek. Apparently the video was taken by an American who was in the country two days after the election.

Sokkie and Obama? Nie dankie. The way it’s sung is just an altered version of this other Afrikaans song, “Daar kom die Alibama”, done here in the Goema style.

Staying in South Africa and the much-loved maskandi (Zulu folk music) from Izingane Zoma. The video starts off with a Zulu-accented approximation of MLK, and the group then dance on the veld in their beautiful regalia. As one does. The lyrics include “ Obama Obama, Mandela Mandela” and so on and so forth and stuff like that. “Halala umntu omnyama” Basically, happiness that a black person has succeeded at this level.

And finally, someone decided to add “No One Like You” by P-Square over footage of Obama dancing, starting with him dancing with Ellen. It still looks like a tribute to the Obamas’ love. Thanks Chukwuebuka, we receive it.

And even more finally (I give up, Africans are something else!) Rwandans have a mix of songs for clips of the Obamas dancing. It’s not singing about them but hey… we receive it. (even though I wonder what Beyoncé is now doing in the audience?)



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