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Youth, Rap Music and the Senegalese Elections of 2012

Long held as a beacon of stability and multi-party democracy in Africa, Senegal’s presidential elections in February and March of this year engulfed the country in unprecedented controversy, violence, and protest. Mobilized in part by political rappers, the urban youth were key players in the dynamic opposition movement that strove to bring an end to the incumbent regime. This event included a film screening and a panel discussion about the role of rap and youth mobilizations in these highly contested elections. Clips were screened from the documentary “Democracy in Dakar” alongside recent footage from the 2012 elections. Scholars, observers, and participants of the movement held a dialogue with the filmmaker in the panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University) and included the following panelists: Rosalind Fredericks (The Gallatin School, NYU), Etienne Smith (Columbia University), Ben Herson (director, “Democracy in Dakar”), Christian Thiam (reporter), Baay Bia (composer and rapper).