Adil Omar’s activism against the Youtube ban in Pakistan was showcased through his latest song – #KholoBC. This song went viral… reeeally viral. It was featured on every news outlet from the BBC to Al Jazeera to VICE to so many others that it’s way too many to count. Adil Omar was interviewed by numerous channels about his thoughts and feelings about the Youtube ban, and we think that’s awesome because someone’s gotta speak out about cyber censorship.
We admire what Adil is doing. He has some amazing skills on the mic, and he’s definitely using it to his advantage. This is what Hip Hop is all about, Hip Hop gives a voice to the people. It helps people talk about justice, it helps artists talk about the good, the bad, the crazy. In this case, politicians went crazy and banned Youtube for their own personal reasons, and somebody had to come out and speak about it. We’re extremely glad it’s a Hip Hop artist this time, and we’re even more glad that it’s Adil Omar. Keep on pushin’ Mr. Paki Rambo, it’s time to open everyone’s eyes!
Here’s a quick review of Adil Omar’s latest video/song going viral, with excerpts from his recent VICE interview.
Adil Omar’s BBC Interview
NOISEY: As an artist with a global following, did you feel a responsibility to make “#KholoBC”?
Eventually, yes. Foolishly, a lot of us including me kept hanging on to the hope that they’d bring YouTube back. But as artists, we felt the effects of the ban firsthand before anyone else. We felt it was about time we did something, so we made the song and video in protest.
NOISEY: What’s the reception been like?
In our home country, obviously there are legit NGO’s and organizations such as Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All who have taken petitions to court to get the ban lifted and put internet freedom under control, but it’s been under the radar. The song created a bit more of a dialogue and drew a lot more attention to the issue publicly. When I say “publicly,” I don’t mean the majority of Pakistan—most of them don’t have access to the internet or basic necessities, unfortunately—I mean the people who use the internet, the young people who are aware of the role of YouTube in today’s day and age. The #KholoBC hashtag in the title has become a running thing; you see people posting it anywhere. It has become a bit more of an issue now.
NOISEY: In your verse in the song, what are you trying to articulate? Is the YouTube issue a generational thing?
To the older people in Pakistan, they see YouTube as a form of entertainment and a way for young people to express themselves. What it actually is is that we’re living in 2014. It’s where people build careers; where people put themselves and their businesses out there; it’s where people learn. Students need YouTube to learn shit. They see it as a trivial issue, but YouTube’s a pretty serious thing in the context of the internet. That’s what they don’t realize. The people in charge of this thing; our IT minister Anusha Rahman is pretty incompetent. The lawyer who’s heading the case to keep the ban imposed has zero knowledge about use of YouTube. I even had a little Twitter banter with him a few days ago. It’s a bunch of people who are completely unaware.
NOISEY: When you say “IT Minister,” is that “IT” in the conventional understanding of the term?