New Video: Tikur Sew

The music video for Tewodros Kassahun’s (Teddy Afro) single ‘Tikur Sew’ (Black Man) is out now. I like it. The sepia/faded hue does its job of setting the antique, warlike theme of the 1896 Battle of Adwa in which Ethiopia defeated Italy, and thus colonization. Obviously Teddy isn’t in the video much, just very briefly in the beginning. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if he played the role of Menelik? By not doing so, I think he successfully asserts his humbleness and pays homage to the victorious emperor. It’s a good way to take himself out of the story, turn the attention away from Teddy the star and depict the intended message.

My favorite part of the song and the video is Empress Taitu’s role:

Kefit hona merachiw nigistu…
She led the way for him…

You know what they say, behind every successful man… :) And as is typical with amateur cinematography, I’m glad they didn’t overdo the gruesome nature of war with excessive and clearly fake blood. The Adwa battle scenes are heroic and poignant.


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6 thoughts on “New Video: Tikur Sew

  1. wowwww! i am so amazed by the video. This is by far the most original and authentic Ethiopian music video i have seen. And the producer is also an Ethiopian!! I am so happy that its an Ethiopian production. The only thing is that it was a bit violent especially at the end when that one warrior kills like 5 white guys in a row… just saying. but i really love it :D

    • I agree, seriously impressive work! They did such a great job and the producer is very creative and original. I think it’s a video that a wider audience in the Black diaspora or just people interested in learning African/Ethiopian history can watch and appreciate. And lol I know, the part where he sticks the sword right through the Italian guy looks especially painful. But freedom ain’t free ;) lol

  2. Yesssssssss Indeed dear. Respect to our grannies who were real and live grannies- and your blogs seduce me lol.

  3. I like your take on it. :) But regarding Teddy not taking the role, it has a lot to do with his resemblance or demeanor. It would not look authentic if he played it. But the character who played Menelik really came close in either facial complexion or physical stature. Teddy is both light skinned, short and light weight in comparison to the King. :) So yes, he could have played him had the director decided so, and that would have taken the attention away from the message, but technically speaking, were I the director, I certainly wouldn’t pick him to play the Menelik character for reasons I just mentioned. :) Just my two cents.

    And I agree with one of the comments above that the violence part could make the warriors look a bit savage-like, but that is war, and war turns everyone involved into savage, that includes the Italians who came to invade—they came to kill and their intended victims were not going to feel sorry for them when they fought back. In fact, I think the directors did a good job in minimizing the violence on display.

    • I agree, it would have been awkward for Teddy to play the role of Menelik. He’s much too young and the fact that he’s a well-known, recognizable figure would have made it difficult for viewers to truly visualize Menelik’s role. Yes, I think the violence/blood was done very tastefully, it barely made me cringe, except for that one scene where the sword goes right through the middle of the Italian dude. But that’s bearable and like you said, comes with the territory. I hope Teddy releases a video for another song, although I can’t guess which one. “O Africa” would be great and more universal. We shall see :)

  4. “….except for that one scene where the sword goes right through the middle of the Italian dude.” :) … I know what you mean. But again that was a very realistic scene, they had to show at least something that balanced the reality of ancient wars. The worst would have been seeing a head being chopped off as that was a possible outcome during those kinds of fights—I have seen such extreme scenes in Hollywood movies, so had they done it, would not have made them the first filmmakers to do so; however, since they are African filmmakers it would potentially be interpreted unfairly by let’s say European audience who would most likely consider it as a “testament to the barbarity” of Africans. So it was a good decision to show a little violence.

    Yes, it would be nice to come up with a more universal video next time, but they have to be careful in avoiding cliche. :) What I don’t like is often whenever you see videos from Ethiopia that have “Africa” themes in them, they feel like they have to show half naked people, face painted, playing drums next to bonfires. That I think is a cliche and lacks originality.

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