MARILYN Mason, with his insightful messages, maintains a spot in the league of iconic singers. The American musical maestro, in one of his essays -”Is Adult Entertainment Killing Our Children? Or Is Killing Our Children Entertaining Adults?” posed a thought-provoking question to his fellow artistes across the globe. Societies that seem unbothered about the immorality children are exposed to via music – “music that fails in ethics and ethos”. If Marilyn’s sermon and those of well-meaning others flew around the world making impact, they most likely took a pause at the Nigerian borders in fear of the deafening ears and “anyhowness” of Nigerian entertainers. “Secure the bag by all means”, which could be likened to what Author James Cook regarded as “ignoring dangers while making money” is a syndrome Nigerian entertainers, ditto some of their audience, battle. “I don’t care if I’m doing it rightly or not, if a soul is getting healed or damaged, if my music poses grave dangers or not, if I promote immorality; I must make my money. After all, owo ni koko. (It’s money that counts).”
How kala, daju, wuwa ika (Stay aggressive, vicious, and perpetrate wickedness) comes out of the mouth of a musician who meant well for the society beats one’s imagination. Very few among these artistes pass awesome messages, address societal issues and make giant waves across the world: the vast majority sing to inculcate bad morals. No good message, no morals. Just vibes, beats and bushwah. Cyberfraud has become latent among Nigerian youths. Nigeria loses about $500m yearly to cybercrime, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. Sadly, this accounts for 0.08 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. A major contribution to this is bad music! Songs like Cashapp by Bella Shmurda, Living Things by 9ice, Am I Yahoo Boy? by Naira Marley and all sorts have all preached nothing but cyber fraud to (un)suspecting youths. The ban summoned on these songs by the National Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC) could only curtail their play over the air, the songs have done great numbers over streaming platforms. The more the listeners, the more potential cyber criminals. There are hundreds of these immoral songs released weekly and monthly by Nigerian artistes. It is no wonder then that the pride of most youths is now in cyberfraud. An example is the Gombe State 16-year-old Gabriel Michael who was apprehended for cybercrime on September 4, 2019, and revealed that he was inspired by the music and lifestyle of Naira Marley. Hear him: “The lifestyle of Naira Marley, the way he spends money, influenced me. Marley talks about being a Yahoo boy (cyber fraudster). My addiction to computer started at the age of seven.” Millions of Michaels have slipped off track, thanks to indecent Nigerian songs. The ripple effects of Nigerian Musicians over youths, indeed, pose a grave concern.
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August 18, 2017, was only one day among the many days of ineffective bans by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). Wo by Olamide was banned after a tweet from the Federal Ministry of Health that the song was in violation of the Tobacco Control Act, 2015. Olamide’s Wo is not the only song that has encouraged youth to take hard substances; Science Student by same Olamide, Kush by Phyno, Drug Test by Naira Marley and lots more have made hard substances so appealing to the youths. Another reason abuse of drugs and hard substances have been on the rise. Many ladies on the streets have been body shamed and assaulted, thanks to music like A s’opọtoyi aṣọ l’ẹfi bo by Naira Marley. In the spring of November, 2019, Mr. Kehinde Aremu, the Anambra State NYSC camp director, made a stealth warning to male corp members at the state’s Ummuawulu Mbauku Orientation Camp. The bitter complaints from female corp members who were being body shamed and assaulted by their male counterparts – with the then trend of A ṣ’opọ toyi propelled Mr. Kehinde’s warning. This is what music is badly doing to Nigerian youths: gripping them by the scruffs and seizing them by senses – all in the name of entertainment and staying “wokè”.
Madira o Iku pa ẹ (stay fortified, lest you get killed) – an unhealthy sarcasm – is currently making waves across the social media tribune. It was a word of one Oba Solomoni, an elder in the entertainment industry. It seems the Yoruba did not have Solomoni and his ilks in mind when they said: Agba kii wa lọja, ki ori ọmọ tuntun wọ (An elder does not exist somewhere and watch things go awry). With Madira oo, Solomoni had glamorized voodoo to (young) Nigerians. It baffles the mind if Efunsetan Aniwura, Kurunmi IJaye, and other highly-fetish men and women were not hunted, in spite of their voodoos. Igboho Oosa, Sunday Adeyemo – in spite his boasting about voodoos – is currently on the run at the fear of being sent to the gulag by Ijọba amuni m’ogun; the government that apprehends powerful men and their voodoos. Nigerian entertainers – especially musicians – should reconnect the dots of their moral sense and stem the immoral and damaging contents they dish out to the society. Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Nico Mbarga and other legendary singers are revered till date because of how they weaponised their musical content against immorality, oppression, bad governance, apartheid, national disintegration, youthful exuberance, among other noteworthy causes. Current Nigerian Entertainers can take a cut off these legendary (wo)men’s styles.
Bringing this to a close, dear Nigerian youth, “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting”, posited the foremost writer, Mary Wortley. The act of seeking entertainment to pass time or to seek a sharp ray in gloomy days should not becloud one’s sense of uprightness. Many productive actions like reading books are entertaining and comforting too. They will make you rather than break you, like wack entertainment does. Seek enjoyment in productive actions that might open your eyes to the immorality you embrace from Nigerian entertainers.
- Amao writes in via firstname.lastname@example.org