Burna Boy Sheds Light on Environmental Crises of Port Harcourt, Nigeria in Mini Documentary, ‘Whiskey

Photo still from YouTube documentary

With the release of his mini documentary, Whiskey, last December, Burna Boy has brought attention to the devastating natural tragedies and neglect that his hometown, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, has been facing. For the past six to seven years, Port Harcourt has faced horrible tragedies, from food crises and malnutrition to air pollution and intense flooding, affecting millions. 

“Newborns, children under five, adults–men, women, elderly–everybody is made a smoker because of the exposure of the black soot.”

Dr. Bieye Briggs, Public Health Physician & Environmental Advocate

The crisis of air pollution, more specifically the effect of black soot in Port Harcourt, has affected many in various ways. The effects of black soot include lung cancer, birth defects, upper respiratory infections in young children, and more. In the sixteen minute video, it is hard to miss the effect of black soot, whether it is the sheets of black soot on cars or its shots of sick women and children, the mini documentary expresses the harmful impact of the air pollution that Port Harcourt faces. 

“Everything was a lot worse than the way I left it…It’s really what you see in the documentary…I feel like we’ll make songs about everything else, so why not make songs about what’s really going on and what’s really affecting people in real time. That’s what the song ‘Whiskey’ is.”

– Burna Boy

The song does exactly what it is intended to do: tell real life, in real time. Burna Boy depicts both the physical reality with lyrics, “Because of oil and gas, my city so dark/pollution make the air turn black”and the emotional reality with the lyrics, “Some they pray for the traffic make dey hail you make you show love.”  

This song, paired with this documentary, pushes listeners and readers to question why are the people of Port Harcourt there to fend for themselves? Despite federal neglect, citizens of Port Harcourt with the help of the charitable organization, Reaching Every Available Communal Household (R.E.A.C.H.)continues to persevere. 

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…we had to create an alternative means for people to go about their activities…”

– Tuebi Joshua Sapere, local club owner

R.E.A.C.H. works to raise donations for those who are deeply impacted by “extreme crises and sudden natural disasters”. In their efforts to provide for the vulnerable people of Nigeria, they have been able to raise $57 million and reach 9,602 households. To learn more, please visit: R.E.A.C.H.

Alexis Badger is a recent college graduate from Georgia Southern University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Linguistics and Multimedia Journalism. For more about Alexis, visit here LinkedIn linked below.
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Alexis Badger is a recent college graduate from Georgia Southern University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Linguistics and Multimedia Journalism. For more about Alexis, visit here LinkedIn linked below.

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