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Monday, March 27, 2017

Good Nigerian musicians are not exactly good people

Chibueze Ogbonna     5:35 PM     No comments


The society is a funny lace, where we expect too much from people. From hoping that people will treat you in the same courteous way in which you deal with them, to trusting strangers, we expect
to always find good in people.
This expectations are mostly unfounded. Nigeria is a hard place. And every time we reach out and expect to find the goodness in people, we are disappointed again and again, because people are fallible, and they lack honour.
People aren’t inherently good people. Remember that guy that broke your heart? Or the dude who you gave the world, and he still stole from you? How about that friend whose hobbies include backstabbing, and spreading false tales about you and all that is yours?
You see? That’s on a personal level.
Where Nigerians fail to find someone to match our daily expectations of people in their private lives, they skip that, and channel the weight of that on to the musicians. Artists primarily make and sell music to people. But the celebrity culture of Nigeria and the world at large requires that they commoditize more than that. They package and sell their entire lives; body, soul, the human spirit, hopes and dreams.
It is a hard process selling the intangible and essential parts of yourself to millions of people. People project all of their hopes and dreams to you. They place the weight of their expectations on your shoulders, and you are forced to lose the freedoms that allows you to make errors and mistakes.
Nigerians expect musicians to be good people. They desire you to be worthy of emulation, with a glowing exemplary character to match the great music that you provide. Your good music has to be matched with good behavior. And tit is this expectation that makes them engage you on social media and pile on this pressure.
These expectations force you to employ businesses to make you look good. It doesn’t matter whether you are a closet masturbator, or you love nudity. Your image has to be spotless. That’s why PR experts exists. That’s why there are billion dollar firms to handle this.

But a great artist isn’t necessarily a good person. We make the mistake of conflating the artist and their works, and it shouldn’t be. Artists are fallible humans, with the same behavioural patterns and tendencies that exist in the same society as the fans.
They were normal people like just like the fans, who do a good job that affects millions of people. They are not blessed with extra-behioural talent. It’s just the song. With this knowledge, you will understand that these artists will inevitably come short of your expectations.
That’s the basis for most of the controversies and scandals. The celebrities are simply living out their fallibilities when they flounder and are embroiled in controversy. If a regular Joe fathers a child outside marriage, you would wave it off. But if that person is Wizkid, all hell would let loose.
Only few acts are forgiven for being shitty people. And artists can get there after building a strog emotional connection to their fans via impeccable music. Take Burna Boy, who is rude, Davido, who has had his fair share of fights, and Wizkid, who brought Linda Ikeji to tears. They are normal, but they are readily forgiven for their normalcy by their fans.
We need to learn to separate an artist from their art. We need to split the man from his work. Only then can we accept that normal vessels produce great art, and good music, can come from bad people.

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