Sometime in October, Bantu, a 13-man band from Nigeria, released a music video for their single “Lagos Barbie”, the first single off their funky new album of massive-fusion of Afrobeat, Highlife and Afrofunk songs, Agberos International.
In an artful way, the audiovisual explores the politics woven through black hair dictated by western beauty standards, prompting “the habitual love of wigs and weaves by women in Lagos”. “Lagos Barbie’s” narrative — a hair obsessed lady unwittingly finds herself time travelling through several decades while trying to get her hair weave fixed.
The compelling statement delivered through fresh and funky sounds, irrespective of its laughable storyline (concept), contributes and/or initiates a profound cultural conversation around a significant subject. “We are aware of the absurdity of this message, knowing that no serious-minded Lagos big girl who spends a fortune keeping her ‘Barbie’ looks would want to wave it in the air,” Bantu member Ade Bantu says. “But we also know that the lyrics are such that will make everyone pause and think ‘hold on, wait a minute. Did I just hear right?'”
Watch the Bolaji Kekere-Ekun-directed Lagos Barbie below.