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 A few days ago, I interacted with the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., on Facebook. The Commissioner shared on his timeline the recent song from Entertainment Ambassador, Kao Denero. What took me aback was his commentary on the song. I was surprised at his grasp of the pop culture genre. In addition, I was stunned at the way he unpacked the art form in the comment section of my response to his post. after deeper reflection, I concluded that hip-hop is written all over the personality of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner. 

He has used the musical genre to influence pop culture. He is a master of blending contemporary professionalism with tools that resonate with the urban youth lifestyle, creating a unique touch that resonates with audiences nationally. 

Hip-hop has been a powerful tool for expressing the struggles and experiences of marginalized communities, advocating for social change, and challenging systemic injustices. Many hip-hop artists use their music as a platform to address issues such as racism, poverty, police brutality, and inequality. From the early days of the genre, artists like Public Enemy, NWA, and Tupac Shakur used their lyrics to shed light on social issues and inspire activism. 

Mr. Kaifala is a personification of these traits. Before becoming the head of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Kaifala was an active political pundit on social media. The barrister used social media to write commentaries and articles on issues around social justice, politics and good governance. Hip-hop and social justice are closely intertwined.

Hip-hop culture also encompasses elements like graffiti, breakdancing and DJing, which have been utilized as forms of protest and community organizing. Mr. Kaifala has done some organizing in the past. His work with the Renaissance Movement, and his defense of the poor student – Theresa Mbomaya - who was trapped behind bars for simply sharing a WhatsApp message, speak volumes. 

Hip-hop music and Afro-hairstyles have a deep connection rooted in cultural identity & self-expression. In the 1970s, during the emergence of hip-hop culture, the Afro became a symbol of black pride and resistance to societal norms. Many hip-hop artists embraced the Afro as a way to celebrate their African heritage and challenge Eurocentric beauty standards.  

DJ Kool Herc, Grand Master Flash & African Bambaataa were known for rocking the Afro. These are the three founding fathers of the genre. The Afro is Mr. Kaifala’s signature hairstyle. He has rocked this cut since his college days. You can attribute that the hairstyle reflects his reality. That reality has a hip-hop connection. 

The Anti-Corruption Commission has served as a home for other cultural icons. Cultural icons are influential figures that represent a particular era, especially artists, actors, comedians, and social media influencers. Before his resignation, Vocal Drift CEO, Pete Dalton, served on staff at the Commission. Currently, popular comedian, Shiaka Kamara (Yemata) and renowned gospel singer, Melford Vincent-Marah, are serving with the Commission. By extension, the anti-graft agency has programs that are pop-culture-centric. From having a creative art competition for secondary schools to creating jingles for edutainment. The influence of the Commissioner in this space cannot be overemphasized. 

Francis Ben Kaifala is a trailblazer in the realm of pop culture, integrating hip-hop culture into his work and public appearances, showing his appreciation for the genre and how the genre has had an impact on him. 

Paul A. Conteh  

Hip-Hop Educator

©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC