Ivorian DJ Arafat Dies In Fatal Car Crash
The Francophone world mourns the death of a truly enigmatic pop culture icon. DJ Arafat, a singer from Ivory Coast with a huge following in francophone Africa, recently died after a road accident in Abidjan.
A broadcaster tweeted that he died at 8 AM as a result of a road accident which occurred overnight. According to messages and pictures circulating on social media, he was driving a motorbike when he smashed into a car. Critically injured, an ambulance took the singer, 33, to an Abidjan hospital. Unfortunately, his injuries proved fatal and he later died.
“We are all in shock,” Ickx Fontaine, an Ivorian producer, and specialist in hip-hop told the AFP news agency. “He was a real singer and a drummer … he gave a new breath of life to coupe-decale.”
Later on Monday, around 1,000 fans gathered in front of the hospital in Abidjan’s Cocody suburb where the singer died. They wept, chanting, “Arafat cannot die”.
DJ Arafat was born in Abidjan in 1986. The artist, whose real name is Ange Didier Huon, had a massive audience in French-speaking western and central African countries.
He issued 11 albums, mainly of “coupe-decale”. It is a dance music form combining rapid percussion, choppy rhythms with hip hop-style vocals.
DJ Arafat’s fame expanded to Europe and the United States, thanks in part to sports stars who made some of the genre’s dance steps popular. Arafat won the “Best Artist of the Year” award at the Ivorian “Coupe-decale” Awards in 2016 and 2017.
Arafat was born in the music world. His mother was a well-known singer and his father a prominent sound engineer, according to a music manager. The superstar started as a DJ in Yopougon, one of Abidjan’s night-life districts.
“He [Arafat] had a natural charisma,” said Ozone, a hip hop producer and television host. “He will remain a force for Ivorian and African music.”
Ivorian Culture Minister Maurice Kouakou Bandaman also expressed his condolences and said a tribute would be held to honour the musician.
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