This talk aims to offer perspectives on the role of African Popular Music in creating awareness to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Music remains a vital tool for translating the universal human condition, unlike any other art form. It has served as a coping mechanism for human suffering and a tool for dealing with a broad range of concerns, from trauma to pleasure to the celebration of life. There is always that soundtrack that captures life in troubled times, and this global health crisis is not an exception. Oyeleye's train of thought in the presentation rests on studying culture producers as public intellectuals, particularly musicians. He will examine the celebrity culture that elevates musicians’ inputs on sensitizing the public about the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Oyeleye's claim that their contribution is more effective than public service announcements from government-run media because the artistes already command a considerable following, and their celebrity status is significant leverage. Relying on medical ethnomusicologists’ studies on epidemics and drawing from selected music texts, Oyeleye argue that the musicians’ unique, often apolitical space and broader appeal to the public sensibility are crucial in how their sounds travel in the creative dissemination of vital medical information.
Co-sponsored by Brown's African Students Association