Of Dan Lu’s music video ‘Imfa’ :Art and Morality

By Davie Dan Mchenga

Yesterday, social media was awash with rave reviews of Dan Lu’s music video ‘Imfa’.

Therein, Dan Lu is filmed lying in a casket.

Artistically, the concept is top notch. Morally speaking, however, the casket visuals are what seem to divide opinion.

Let’s be forthright. Malawi is a closed and conservative society, where anything perceived as “alien” is condemned in its totality.

Just an example, we have grown up in a society where we were told not to point at the graveyard, or else, risk your finger to get crippled. We weren’t allowed to call a snake by its name at night for doing would invite it to bite you. Also, back in the days, we were told to hide whenever a funeral procession was passing by. Such was the environment we all grew up in and we have embraced it to this day and age. It’s become part of our values, norms and belief system. Therefore, it’s not odd to see some sections of society describing some scenes in the video as demonic, immoral and un-Malawian allegedly.

This is the dilemma that our contemporary artists like Dan Lu, have to go through: whether to stick to what our society deems “socially right” or be a Biblical prodigal son.
It has also to be said that Dan Lu is an international artist. Just to be inside Dan Lu’s mind, he wants to storm the international scene with something extraordinary – though at the expense of his conservative domestic audience. The creative world at the moment needs not linear thinkers – those who go for the obvious. But how far you go with your creative mind with respect to the world’s belief systems?

In Tanzania, Diamond Platinum, also recently opened a can of worms when he appeared on stage with a casket. He defended his act as “art”.

Similarly, Dan Lu, told MIJ Online that those labeling the music video as “demonic” were wrong in fact and reasoning. He said the video is the work of art in its purest form.

As the debate rages, we must recognize that people can imagine whatever, or however they see it fit. Let self conscience approve or disapprove their actions.

Also, we need to know that culture is what defines us. Art is an element of culture. When these two are on the collision course, it doesn’t end well.

In this Dan Lu’s music video fiasco, let those who are for or against determine their actions by justifying its consequence.