A few days after releasing a song critical of the government, prominent Ethiopian rapper Teddy Yo was detained on Saturday by security authorities, according to the news source Ethio360. Teddy Yo was detained by security personnel dressed as federal police officers at his residence in Addis Abeba’s Gerji area, according to Ethio360.
Tewodros Assefa, better known as Teddy Yo, entered the Ethiopian music industry in the 2000s with his signature song, Guragetone. His most recent song, “Wenbersh,” which many believe led to his imprisonment, criticizes the harshness, nepotism, and corruption of the Prosperity Party, which is in power, particularly in Addis Abeba. Teddy Yo is a well known Ethiopian singer and song writer whose music is contemporary and able to attract the youth. Last week he released his new music claiming the the current political situation of the country. However the government officials arrested him four days after the release of his controversial song.
The Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed administration has been steadfastly attempting to co-opt famous artists since since taking office nearly five years ago. This has included appointments to state agencies, housing gifts, and monetary prizes. Artists, on the other hand, have been victimized when they are accused of being critical of the Abiy regime. In an ironic turn of events, Teddy Yo’s imprisonment has increased interest in his most recent rap song as curious and disgruntled Ethiopians living under a tyrannical, paranoid, and ever-more ruthless dictatorship find a dissent valve in the song.