The viral Tamil indie hit, 'Enjoy Enjaami' has run into controversy time and again since its release, for the erasure of a Dalit artist Arivu’s work in the song. Ironically, the song is about the history of Dalits who were exploited for their labor.
Anti-caste rapper Arivu revealed that the lyrics of 'Enjoy Enjaami' are an ode to the life of his grandmother Valiammal, who also features in the music video towards the end.
With elements like rap and Oppari (Tamil’s folk music style of lamenting) infused, the song explains how his ancestors were enslaved to work in Sri Lankan tea estates. And eventually forced to become landless in their own home countries when they had returned.
'Enjoy Enjaami' documents and celebrates our roots, highlighting the importance of nature and the need to co-exist with it. It is themed around bringing people together through music.
So, let’s go back in time to see where it all started, and understand the chain of events:
5 March 2021 The audio of 'Enjoy Enjaami' was released on all music streaming platforms including Spotify and Amazon Play Music.
7 March 2021 The music video of 'Enjoy Enjaami' was out on Maajja’s YouTube channel.
21 June 2021 On World Music Day, as a part of 'Spotify Singles' program, DJ Snake collaborated with Dhee to release the track of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ remix. This also became the first Tamil independent song to be featured in the Times Square Billboard. However, Arivu's image was not used alongside Dhee and DJ Snake on the billboard. There were objections on social media over Arivu’s exclusion (though his name was mentioned).
20 August 2021 Rolling Stone India tweeted about its August 2021 cover featuring Dhee and Shan Vincent De Paul highlighting their works 'Enjoy Enjaami' and 'Neeye Oli' respectively.
22 August 2021 Director Pa Ranjith voiced out against Rolling Stone India and Maajja for excluding Arivu from the cover, citing that Arivu is the lyricist of 'Neeye Oli' and singer and lyricist of 'Enjoy Enjaami'.
27 August 2021 After facing backlash for featuring Canadian Tamil rapper Shan Vincent de Paul and singer Dhee, and excluding rapper Arivu in the cover of the Rolling Stone India, the magazine released a new digital cover featuring Arivu.
28 July 2022 Dhee performed 'Enjoy Enjaami' at the 44th Chess Olympiad with Kidakuzhi Mariyammal. Arivu did not perform in the event and the song’s composition was credited to composer Santhosh Narayanan.
31 July 2022 Arivu took to his Instagram handle and wrote a post claiming that he composed, wrote, sang and performed the song 'Enjoy Enjaami'.
1 August 2022 Santhosh Narayanan cleared the air saying that 'Enjoy Enjaami's' rights and revenue are equally shared among him, Arivu and Dhee. Post his statement, Dhee shared her clarifications on her social media platforms.
Backed by the music label/management Maajja, an independent platform launched by Indian producer A R Rahman, the song is titled 'Dhee ft. Arivu - Enjoy Enjaami (Prod. Santhosh Narayanan)' on YouTube and currently has over 430 million views and 4.8 million likes.