Our culture must be a weapon we use to defeat imperialism!

 
African artists in the world have two choices to make: either represent the interests of the oppressors or represent the interests of the oppressed.
 
It does not matter how perfumed you are or what clothes and shoes you wear—you cannot avoid making the choice of whose interests you serve.
 
Whose culture do you represent? The imperialist oppressor's culture or the culture of the oppressed African and other colonized peoples of the world?
 
Culture is a way of life
 
We agree with those who say that culture is a way of life. It is about our food, arts, spirituality and the way we do things, such as marriage, funerals, etc.
 
It is also truth that for imperialists, culture is a way of life too.
 
Their wars to dominate others and their programs for assassination are also their way of life.
 
This can also be extended to the traitors who are in power everywhere in Africa, killing activists in the struggle for freedom, terrorizing peasants and workers, bowing to foreign interests, foreign gods and adopting foreign religion.
 
One thing you cannot fail to notice is that under capitalism, money buys all rights, from elections to quality education.
 
Access to money determines the quality of life.
 
This is capitalist culture, based on capacity to pay, and those who can pay are also those who control the means of production and distribution in the society.
 
Under capitalist society, the way of life is greatly determined by the people who have wealth and power.
 
So capitalist culture is the culture of those who have, it is the culture of the possessing class, the privileged class, the imperialist class, the robbing class.
 
What determines your culture?
 
The question of culture cannot be answered by way of life only.
 
In the same way our mineral wealth is stolen from us by the imperialists, so too are our arts stolen from us.
 
We must examine what gives rise to our way or to the oppressor's ways of life.
 
That is how culture must be defined and understood. If not, we may end up with loving our enemies and subscribing to all the enemy's programs to maintain the status quo at our expense.
 
There is no such thing as an apolitical culture or an apolitical cultural artist. Culture in general does not exist.
 
We all have the obligation to build a better world—a world without exploitation, without slaves and slave-masters, poor and rich, workers and bosses nor oppressed nations and oppressor nations.
 
Every artist has to decide if they are going to hold up the African working class or the billionaires who make money by stealing our minerals, killing the people working the mines and destroying the environment.
 
Just look at the ways imperialist police, armies and militias kill the workers in Guyana, South Africa and the Congo.
 
In Guyana and South Africa, workers are shot for demanding a pay raise.
 
We cannot allow an artist to hold up the IMF rulers and U.S. and NATO generals with their uniforms soaked in the blood of the people of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
 
Our culture and music are not a creation of X factor, Sony, HMV, FNAC, Island Records and other parasitic institutions who make more money than the Africans who produce the music in the first place.
 
Factors, U.S. Got Talent and EMI are all imperialists whose wealth is based on naked theft of our music at our expense.
 
Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Barcelona F, and the sports equipment-makers Nike, Puma and Adidas are in our youth's brains.
 
They are becoming part of our youth’s identities all over Africa, even in the villages where there is no electricity.
 
These sports companies are present at great cost because these matches that are broadcasted almost daily by satellites are not free.
 
These are economical and cultural assaults on Africa and on our people too.
 
They get our cash and infect our brains with the idea that we can "sport" our way out of this imperialist social system.
 
They reinforce a sense and pursuit of an individual solution to imperialism.
 
Furthermore, they validate and reinforce our dependence on imperialism as the solution.
 
Culture must serve the revolution!
 
There is no doubt; it is an absolute necessity to break with imperialism.
 
We need a new society based on freedom and self-determination for all oppressed nations of the world! We must break with all the imperialists’ cultures of exploitation and oppression!
 
Johnny Hallyday, a French legendary rock star who has made no contribution in the creation and development of music, has more wealth than Africans in the U.S. who created Rhythm and Blues, the basis for what white people call "rock 'n' roll."
 
Johnny Hallyday is an icon of highest order in France and in parts of French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland.
 
In the UK, where British musical artists see themselves as the center of European music with their Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc, are not creators of anything. They are simply imitators.
 
If you listen to the British press, British musicians enjoy world music status amongst all oppressor countries from Europe to Japan, and in Russia, China, etc.
 
The question of art and African revolution is a political and an ideological question.
 
It is one of the unanswered and unsettled questions of the great Black Revolution of the Sixties because of the military defeat of the Black Revolution, particularly in the Congo and the United States.
 
Our future comes with the defeat of imperialism. Our future must be in our own hands.
 
Our culture must be used to inform our young people of their responsibility to defend our people and community every day against imperialism.
 
It is our young people’s responsibility to snatch our future from imperialism, from Barcelona and Chelsea Football Clubs, the IMF, the UN, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and others.
 
What is the function of Hip-hop, dancehall, soca, rumba, ndombolo and other styles created by African people? Is it to be in peace with imperialism or to be the peoples' cultural weapons against imperialism?
 
For the African Socialist International (ASI), we want our people’s cultures to be weapons to defeat imperialism.
 
The defeat of neocolonialism and the unification of the African nation as a single state for African people are the foundation and the guarantee of the new African national culture.
 
Our culture will be born out of freedom and it will contain all the other characteristics of African people, such as optimism, genuine and spontaneous friendships, matriarchy with full rights for women, etc.
 
Street dance? You must be out of your mind! It is our people’s dance!
 
African music is not separated from dancing. We sing, dance, choreograph and dress in a particular way and we wear our hair with a certain style.
 
Reggae is not street music; the dance that goes with reggae is not street dance, but our people’s music, dance and style.
 
The same thing can be said about jazz, rap, blues, samba etc. They come from African people, there is no such thing as street music.
 
Nobody refers to any white popular music as street music.
 
This is done to undermine our consciousness, particularly young people's consciousness; to remove us from our role as the central makers and shapers of modern popular music, dance and fashion in the world.
 
It allows any usurper to own at no cost what we have produced with our talent, sweat and communal effort.
 
Our popular music has been a result of collective creativity, despite the individual geniuses who have defined the general direction of our arts and culture.
 
Our art is not the result of some individual who sat under a tree and saw some lyrics dropping from a branch of the tree.
 
Our art is people's interaction to reflect our reality, a dance to reflect our struggle for emancipation from slavery and colonialism.
 
It is our people’s culture, and we must make it to serve our own interests.
 

Fela Anikulapo Kuti's musical work was an example of the use of culture as a weapon to expose imperialism and neocolonialism.

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