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Responsibility And The Nigerian Artiste; Our Perspective

Nigerian Artiste

As discussed in a former article, it has never been better for the Nigerian artiste. Things are rosier than ever. From being considered failures and rejects of society they have gone on to show music as a hugely profitable business. Multi-million naira endorsement deals, sold out shows, telco contracts and several other things are clear proofs of this.

But then, isn’t some sort of “behaviour” expected from the artiste?

Oh, do not get me wrong. It’s not as though we suddenly hold these artistes to some moral standard or behaviour just because they’re artistes. After all, they are artistes and not religious figures. But the expectation of a certain measure of responsible behaviour is not outrageous.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

For example, some years ago, rapper Rick Ross was featured on a song where his lines seemed to extol date rape. He mentioned something about lacing the lady’s drink with molly, a popular date rape drug, and sleeping with her without her knowledge. Considerable backlash followed and Reebok, a footwear company, dropped Rick from their roster.

Consequences.

Something similar – in that a Nigerian artiste suffered backlash for what he said on record –happened some years ago. Olamide released a song titled Story for the Gods in which he basically talked about being high on some local concoctions, wanting to have sex and not being ready to accept any excuses from the girl of interest.

Now, while I am neutral on the subject (I don’t listen to the song anyways), there was a heated debate that the song was suggesting rape. It was an issue that went back and forth for a bit on social media, then, as with most cases of this nature, it basically died down. What was most instructional for me, however, is that the concerned artiste, Olamide refused to say anything on the subject. (Or maybe he did; I just didn’t hear it.)

I thought that was tasteless.

A few years later, the first night of 2016 to be exact, the same Olamide behaved in a somewhat questionable manner at the 2015 Headies. He cursed on stage, threw a tantrum and his drink, then stormed off stage because he felt an artiste in his label deserved the much-coveted Next-Rated Award. Hours later, because of a perceived slight aimed at him by a colleague, Don Jazzy to be exact, he took to Twitter, ranting and throwing curses for hours. The tweets have since been deleted, but a smart Google search might reveal them.

Should we expect more of our artistes or are we unrealistic to expect more of them?

When you consider that it takes the National Broadcasting Commission six months to ban an inappropriate song from the airwaves, you have to wonder if there really are checks and balances to these artistes’ excesses. And believe me, they have excesses. Well, just like everyone of us do. The difference is that goldfish have no hiding place.

I realise that this may sound judgmental and I assure you nothing could be farther from the truth. I have to ask, however, if asking for responsibility from a public figure is asking for too much? Are we/am I out of line for demanding some sort of control from the celebrity we take seriously?

I am proud of these guys. I am proud of their achievements. In the best way possible they remind me that my dreams are valid; that if only I work hard I can have anything I’ve ever dreamed of. But as Uncle Ben in Spider-Man told the protagonist, with great power comes great responsibility. Unfair as it may be, there are consequences for fame. Some of them are that you can hardly have privates moments anymore, your every word and action is scrutinised underneath the most focused of microscopes held by people “with nothing better to do”. It’s enormous pressure and not everyone can handle that.

You want to be famous? You’d better realise that the price is steep. There are things that will be sacrificed, and people who put you on a pedestal will expect things of and from you – reasonable or otherwise.

Is it right or wrong to expect responsible behaviour from our artistes? Why/Why not?

Let us know in the comments!

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