Every listener of Fuse ODG’s music will notice that he is all about spreading positivity. His recently released album T.I.N.A. – This Is New Africa is a testament to that fact and he goes on to put his money where his mouth is with this recent move. Bob Geldof, an Irish singer-songwriter put together a group of celebrity musicians for a charity song for Ebola in West Africa. This is the fourth time he’s bringing musicians to sing for charity since he started in 1984. One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora. Bands Bastille and Mercury prize-winning Elbow have also confirmed they are on board, along with Chris Martin and Bono.
In a piece in the Guardian, Fuse ODG explains why he turned down the offer to appear on the successful single. He begins by saying “Saying no to Bob Geldof is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make this year. However, seeing what looked like the corpse of an African woman being carried out of her home on primetime TV when the video was premiered on X Factor crystallised my concerns about this strategy to combat the Ebola crisis. For me it is ultimately flawed.” (Read full piece here)
Fuse goes on to narrate how the portrayal of Africa by the song was totally in disagreement with his beliefs and what his T.I.N.A. movement is all about. He explains that there is much as wealth in resource-rich Africa as there is poverty and focusing on the just the bad sides goes against everything he stands for.
The single has also faces criticism from lots of quarters for its ridiculous message.
In previous versions of the song, the song presented a very bleak view of Africa, which the lyrics appear to refer to as a whole. Some of these, such as the suggestions (if read literally) that the continent has no rainfall or successful crops, have been seen as absurd by critics. It also insinuates that there are no rivers in Africa. At the time of the 2004 release, the World Development Movement spoke out on this issue, describing the lyrics as “patronising, false and out of date”, although there was no attempt to discourage purchase of the song.