Who is Arivu: The rapper and lyricist, known for work in the Tamil film industry, finds himself at the centre of a controversy that raises the alarm about his exclusion from the cover of a popular magazine that recently featured music in whose making he was directly involved.
Arivarasu Kalainesan, popular as Arivu, penned the lyrics for songs Enjoy Enjaami and Neeye oli, sung by Sri Lankan-Australian singer Dhee and Canadian singer Shan Vincent de Paul respectively. Both songs, massively viral, were music magazine Rolling Stone (India)’s cover story but did not feature Arivu. More on the controversy here.
Fans and prominent personalities from the South film industry have called out the magazine for ‘invisibilising’ the rapper, whose anti-caste lyrics around equality are recognised for ushering in wide awareness through strong social messages.
Director Pa Ranjith condemned the magazine for going against the very theme of the songs that challenge “this erasure of public acknowledgement.”
@TherukuralArivu, the lyricist of #Neeyaoli and singer as well as lyricist of #enjoyenjami has once again been invisiblised. @RollingStoneIN and @joinmaajja is it so difficult to understand that the lyrics of both songs challenges this erasure of public acknowledgement? https://t.co/jqLjfS9nwY
— pa.ranjith (@beemji) August 22, 2021
Who Is Arivu And Why You Should Know Him
The conversation around Arivu’s exclusion on the cover comes across as part of a larger debate around ethical accreditations in music and recognition of all artists involved in the making of a piece.
What adds heat is that Enjoy Enjaami was backed by Maajja, an independent platform by composer AR Rahman, when it released. That a product of the independent music scene, that generally believes in uplifting artists, was given such unethical treatment as is being claimed by fans and others, comes as a shock.
Arivu belongs to a Dalit family and grew up in Chennai, where he developed a social consciousness early on. In the absence of televised or digital entertainment, he turned to folk music, literature and poetry, as per an interview with Economic Times.
The young artist has been active in the music industry since 2018, making his debut with lyrics for a song in Kaala. From there, he has gone on to receive significant following and acclaim through work across successful films like Naadodigal 2, Gypsy and Mandela.