Who’s Next, Cancer?

Jazlyn Contreras, Video Manager

Thirty-year old Belgian rapper, Paul Van Haver, also known as Stromae, sings about the causes of cancer in his new French song “Quand c’est?”, which was released back in 2013. On Sept. 14, Stromae’s music video was released. In the three minute long black and white video, it shows Stromae himself in an old, empty theater, trying to fight against deadly spider-like legs which represent cancer; their design was inspired by the art style indie-game called Limbo. The video also includes English subtitles for the viewers to understand what he is trying to prove about the vicious malevolence of cancer. From his lyrics, Stromae meant to have the words “quand c’est”—“when is it” in French—and “cancer” sound alike

When hearing this song, I get a strong feeling of sorrow and sympathy for those who went, or is currently going, through cancer. On the month of Sept., my family discovered that my grandmother got colon cancer, but recently she got surgery to remove it and will soon go through chemotherapy this Nov.; my grandmother is a strong woman and I know she will stay strong for this powerful therapy. Although Stromae does not have cancer, he is a smoker and still fighting to prevent nasty cigarettes from destroying his lungs. He knows the effects of cancer and how it can affect many people. Everyone should know that this disease can still prey on others without notice. The question is, who is next?

Stromae was born on Mar. 12, 1985 in Belgium with a Flemish mother and Rwandan father, who worked as an architect. During his childhood, he never spent very much time with his father. His father was killed during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, and Stromae was raised by his mother with his four siblings. In his 2013 first single “Papaoutai”, he raps about how much he misses him and how he wondered where his father could be; “Papaoutai” means “Father, where are you?” in French. At the age of sixteen, Stromae failed in public school, so his mother placed him in a Roman Catholic Jesuit school. During his years there, Stromae formed a small rap group and got his first rapper name, “Opsmaestro”, but then switched it to “Stromae”, which is “Maestro”, but with the syllables reversed. As the years went by, Stromae eventually became an international success in singing, rapping, and songwriting.