SIERRA LEONE: But it’s just music…right?

The following article talks about the responsibility of artists specifically in Sierra Leone. A few months back hip hop artist Kao Denero organized what he described as a peaceful rally that turned extremely violent. Although he apologized for the acts of his fans (which he asserts were not true fans by the way), he still seemed in denial of the impact that his music and personality has on the youth. We have the same issues in the US especially in regards to hip-hop. Where does free expression end and harmful instigation begin? On the flip side since when has censoring or abolishing music ever served a useful purpose? What is the solution? Where is the middle ground? Below are some highlights from the article (See

Sierra Leone’s Hip-Hop Star, Kao Denero Takes Responsibility for the Actions of his Fans

  • On the evening of Friday, April 5th, Kao was on what he called a “peaceful rally” when youth dressed in the colors of black and white presented themselves as fans of the Hip Hop Star and disturbed the peace of the city. 
  • Kao’s group Black Leo use the colors black and white as their symbolic colors some say are gang related colors. 
  • The youth terrorized peaceful inhabitants of the city of Freetown by  snatching  phones, purses, necklaces, vandalized cars and even beat up and stab some of their innocent victims. Innocent women were the majority of their victims.
  • Kao believes that some of the perpetrators of such acts are not his fans.  Nevertheless,  he took total responsibility for the misguided actions which caused the SLP to ban the launching of the album,  that was to take place a dayafter the reckless behavior of some youths.    
  • At first,  Kao suggested that the banning of his show was a political witch-hunt by the ruling APC government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.  Kao also believes that some of the culprits were  criminals and perhaps supporters of some of his rivals in the entertainment business.
  • Kao denied instigating or encouraging any form of violence against the people of Sierra Leone.   He also promised to reimburse the victims for properties lost and perhaps for other damages caused.   Kao has now apologized without blaming the government — perhaps he has realized the wrongs perpetuated by some of his fans. 
  • In his book, “Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential” John Mattone identifies 9 specific types of leaders.  Types three and four are, The Entertainer and The Artist respectively.  Sierra Leone’s Koa Denero falls in both types of leadership.   Kao and other entertainers must now serve not only as entertainers and artists,  but must also provide responsible leadership to their fans.  Taking responsibility for the actions of one’s followers or fans is one good trait of good leadership.

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