Don’t let loose the Hip Hop dogs of war!
Every generation has its vogue or style of life and the young generation of Sierra Leonean musical fans have not been left behind in the imitation of the Western hip-hop gangstarism that culminated in the killing of hip-hop stars like 2 Pak Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. (Photo: LAJ, real name, Alhaji Jalloh)
In Sierra Leone, the rivalry between funs of the two prominent overseas based hip-hop rappers, Kao Denero and LAJ, has led to the importation of the USA clique culture into the country which seems very nauseating and a potential threat to national security. Fans of Kao Denero have their clique called Black Leo with black and white as their colour, while LAJ’s fans have their clique called Red Flag Movement (RFM) with red and white as their colour. The bloody rivalries between the two cliques have often led to brutal attacks, stabbing and killing of clique members from either side. Sometimes unsuspecting people are hurt by clique members in certain areas in Freetown when you don the colour of their rivals, For instance, members of Black Leo can deliberately attack someone wearing the colour of RFM in their own territory and many innocent people have been brutalized by these bad boys.
The culture of gangstarism in the hip-hop world has taken the better part of the fans of Black Leo and RFM which they demonstrated last Saturday at the National Stadium in Freetown during a musical concert where Kao Denero was to launch his new album titled ‘Now or Never.’ There was pandemonium on that night when the police refused the crowd to come down to the area closer to the stage where Kao Denero was performing lyrically. The resistance of the crowd and the use of batons by OSD personnel that prevented them from going nearer to the stage led to a nasty riot that warranted the use of force and teargas canisters by the police. Many people got suffocated and injured when the teargas was thrown into the crowd.
Though many concerned people have blamed the police for treating the crowd with high-handedness, the refusal of the crown to take the orders of the police portends lawlessness and brutality that characterize the gangstarism culture of members of Black Leo and RFM. We expect any law-abiding citizen to always respect the orders of the law enforcers for security reasons. If the police had allowed the mammoth crowd to go nearer to the stage, perhaps something unfortunate could have happened to the artiste on stage, especially when there were rumours that some hot-headed RFM members donned black and white – the colour of Black Leo – in disguise to wreak havoc on their rivals in revenge for the imprisonment of their hip-hop star LAJ in the USA which they alleged had been machinated by Kao Denero who also lives in the USA. The police probably had intelligence on those rumours and decided to provide tight security for the hip-hop rapper though other schools of thought may not perceive it this way.
Granted that during musical concerts, musicians on stage often invite the crowd nearer to the stage as a way of feeling their reaction to their performances, but not in a situation where two identified notorious cliques are always at each other’s throat let alone give them the space to let loose on innocent people. I believe the police were absolutely right in their decision not to allow the crowd to go nearer to the stage for the security of the artiste which was very paramount because the service for his protection was well paid for.
I gathered from a very reliable police source that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) on Wednesday had intelligence that some members of Black Leo and RFM, whose colleagues were arrested at the National Stadium and detained in police cells, threatened to attack the police stations where their fellow colleagues were detained. The security alertness in Freetown on Wednesday night and the charging of the accused the following day could not be unconnected with the intelligence.
By and large, exuberant members of both Black Leo and RFM cliques are lawless to the extreme because of their culture of gangstarism. Examples abound the brutal clashes that had occurred between those two cliques and their humiliation of unsuspecting people who wear black or red in certain zones in the capital without knowing the rivalry between those two uncouth groups. That is why I believe the general public should support the SLP to cow those hoodlums into submission as the 2018 elections approach. If the SLP fail to put those two notorious cliques under firm control before the elections, their inaction could create insecurity in the country because unscrupulous politicians would use them as thugs to intimidate, brutalize or silence their political opponents.
One of my suggestions to silence both the RFM and Black Leo cliques is that both of their hip-hop stars should never be allowed to launch their albums at the National Stadium or any venue that would encourage public gathering. It is common knowledge that whenever Kao Denero or LAJ is launching an album at the National Stadium, their lawless fans would misbehave to the detriment of innocent people who often become the victims of their unacceptable and incomprehensible acts.
Second, the SLP should also strictly prohibit the use of black and white, and red and white handkerchiefs which are the colours of RFM and Black Leo cliques’ members. Such action could instill the fear of arrest and detention in them and gradually, they would abandon their acculturated gangstarism culture and comport themselves as good citizens.
This clique business in this country should come to an end because this is one of the ways our many of our youths have wasted their lives instead of doing something that would make them responsible citizens and liabilities to the state.
By Ensa Kondor Konneh
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