Congolese-Belgian artist Lous and the Yakuza released her anti-racist and anti-colonialist track “Solo” in March, weeks before the world experienced a global expansion of the Black Lives Matter Movement and a reawakening of anti-colonialist movements in Africa and the African diaspora. In Belgium, where the artist is based, protests led to the removal of the statue of King Leopold II in Antwerp. Up to now, over 80.000 individuals have signed an online petition to remove all statutes of the Belgium colonialist, whose brutal regime has killed an estimated 10 million Congolese.
Lous and the Yakuza’s track can only be understood in the historical background of this dark, historical past, which shows its continuity into todays racial injustice. She criticizes the hypocritical promises of equality and those that silence any form of protest and discontent: “From birth, they promised us the moon and the stars/ As long as we stay quiet, and forget about what really matters“. Confronted with racial injustice, the artists expresses feelings of vengeance “God, steer me clear of the path of vengeance/ To give them what they deserve is so tempting” and voices out her frustration about the societal unwillingness to see the (historical) injustices “Must I scream just to be heard?/ Six zero (1960), year of independence“.
The rapper’s emotional and political track encourages listeners to educate themselves about (neo)colonialism, its historical and continuous brutality. It creates space for an authentic expression of emotions and challenges white societies to be confronted with their racial structures: “Speak up, come on, tell me what is wrong with us? I feel your stare and your heart freezing over“
“From birth, they promised us the moon and the stars
As long as we stay quiet, and forget about what really matters
Who do we ask for help if not the Eternal Father?
Why isn’t “black” a color of the rainbow?”
Talking about these political and social subjects is very important to her, as she outlined in an interview wit the online magazine Dazed: “I am a black person and I am a female black person. When women fight for women’s rights, they often forget about black women, and when people start caring about black people, they care about (those with) fair skin, not dark skin. I care about slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and things related to Africa – the Congo and Rwanda, because I was born and raised there – especially now that I live in Belgium, because the history is really bad. They colonised us. We were in the private garden of King Leopold.”