Omar’s “Chinko Love” is a racist, appropriated mess

What we're not going to do is racism, in 2017.

One of the biggest arguments that has plagued Canadian rapper Drake, is that he has a long history of appropriating the cultures of people from other races and countries, presenting them completely devoid of context and seeking to profit off them. This is why Nigerians were especially wary of him when it was announced he was collaborating with Nigerian afro-pop superstar Wizkid, and every step of their continued has been repeatedly scrutinized for signs of foul play, especially by the proponents and supporters of the ‘New Age’ musicians. But it turns out that the ‘New Age’ itself requires an education on what appropriation is, and how an idea, no matter how novel it is, can be ignorant, stereotypical and downright racist.

Omar, a Nigerian-Canadian rapper and producer, came to the attention of the The NATIVE for his excellent, multi-genre instrumental EP and since then has featured on a number of interesting projects. This is why when he started promoting his new single as a recording artist, “Chinko Love”, it was somewhat confusing. It’s well known that the word ‘Chinko’ is a derogatory Nigerian slur for people of Asian descent, and the singer’s album art which featured graphic work of him and a love interest in traditional Asian wear suggested he was actually going to fully immerse himself in this ‘Asian’ persona.

The song itself, while excellently produced is a horrible stereotypical, racist mess. Omar samples traditional Chinese Guqin melodies, an instrument so revered, there are actual schools dedicated to the instrument. This kind of sampling is par the course for modern producers and a forgivable attempt at appropriation. What isn’t however is Omar’s lyrics, the entire song is one running stream of Asian slurs, most prominently “Ching-chong”, “Konnichiwa” a Japanese word used in a song with album art that references Chinese clothing and instruments, and a whole episode where Omar just mumbles gibberish, supposedly mimicking a traditional Madarin speaker. Let’s not forget the ‘Chinko’ spread liberally through the song.

Reducing 2 billion Asians with many different languages and distinct cultures to stereotypical slurs is racist as hell, as is appropriating their music with no respect for its history. And as an African who is often the butt of racist stereotypes and slurs from people of other races, Omar should know better.

This kind of fuck shit shouldn’t be happening in 2017, it simply is not acceptable.

“> Listen: Dj Daniel goes full metal on “ijo daniel”, features Omar and brym