The senior class of 2018 wanted to begin selecting a class song, and in the greatest failure of democracy of our times, caused the Africa Situation.
Like the Black Hand assembling in Serbia, the first overt foreshadowing of the Situation came with a group of students casually agreeing, "Africa is such a good song," and proceeding to play it on repeat in AP Biology. One day later, when the class song discussion arose again, one of theses students suggested Africa by Toto. Like other songs such as "Pumped Up Kicks" and the theme song from "Drake and Josh", the idea received wild theoretical approval.
Trouble arose when another student commented that the song choice seemed rather offensive, since none of the class was even from Africa, let alone raised on the continent - in fact, the junior class beat them in (only) that regard. The conversation deviated from whether or not it was a decent graduation song, to what actually made the song offensive in the first place (though the student in question stated that she had no problem with anyone liking it).
Views on the song choice came in a range:
- The song depicts an interracial couple and relates to longing and reaching out to opportunity, with Africa merely being a motif, and could work for graduation.
- The lyrics don't matter since the song has a moving beat (the original reason for the suggestion).
- The tone of the song is more voyeuristic and fetishistic in nature than pure love, and insults the African continent by depicting it all as a wild and exotic locale.
- Because Africa is full of black people (never mind the huge diversity of the continent for millenia) and the majority-white class has no familial connection to the continent, it would be offensive and insensitive.
- One's personal views on the song did not matter, as everyone should be able to enjoy the class song.
As with many things, within 24 hours those on the fringe of the Situation grew tired of it as comments became more vicious and direct and asked that people give it a rest. They respectfully agreed, instead suggesting such songs as Waka Waka by Shakira and We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Official Intervention Edit
Mr. Henderson, the class sponsor, insisted that if some people morally objected to it, it should not be on the ballot. When it came time to vote on a class song, many students wrote in the song. Those that were apathetic about the song anyway were asked to give their ballots to students who would write in "Africa - Toto", but this made it look like Ben Lack had just rigged the votes, and all write-ins were discounted. The song "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire was chosen instead. Though it did focus on happy memories and was still a unique choice, it did not rouse spirits the same way as the beloved Africa.
Since this decision in the middle of the fall semester, the seniors have managed to find ways to play the song in ways that did not technically affiliate them with it, including:
- Requesting it at homecoming and having it played towards the end of the event.
- Continuing to play it in classes.
- Drowning out the juniors at Wildcat Challenge by playing it over the speakers.
- Requesting the song at prom.