You had a black and white TV in 1960, you felt it was the best thing since late night stories under the Iroko tree, would you call us senseless if we are now fazed by large flat screen TVs? I frown when I see grown men (the youth of today) wearing tight jean pants which they call skinny jeans but I let it slide because our parents and even some of us wore those things (bala bala trousers ) in the 70’s and 80’s until they came back into fashion in the early 2000’s and surprisingly some parents thought their children had lost their marbles. Before you close this page, I’ll let you know what this is all about. This is not a comparison, this is about a girl I love, one I share with millions of people around the world, she is way older than I am, and we call her MUSIC. Just like so many things in life, some parents and the immediate older generation may not be pleased with the girls of today, the same way they disapprove of the songs made in “our time”. This is about music, a writer’s generalisation and the one-sided opinion we are expected to accept just because it is not what it used to be.
A week ago I saw a post on www.234next.com by Ikhide R Ikheloa in his “EMAIL FROM AMERICA: Stop the music. Please”. He had this and a lot to say about Nigerian music and musicians:
“Most of today’s Nigerian musicians remind me of Cacofonix. From D’banj on down, they should all be tied to mango trees and their mouths plugged with fake Naira notes, never ever to play music again ever. ..”(Link: http://t.co/6RHY4Dp )
Apart from the fact that I find that post very condemning and condescending, I have also tried to see some sense in what the writer had to say. Yes he gave credit to Asa before saying it seems like anyone who has access to the internet can go to a “studio” in Ajegunle and “release” something. Seriously there have always been the good musicians and the bad ones, you had Madonna and people like Marylyn Monroe and we have the Lady Gaga and Dbanj of our time. The older generation in your time frowned at the music you listened to and the films you watched, it is okay to point out the fact that there are some totally senseless songs out there right now, but the truth is that you had more or even worse in your time. Why don’t we all say ATM cards and Computers are straight from hell and should be burnt to ashes because they are signs of the end time? The writer literally had nothing good to say about modern music and he even went as far as trashing Fela’s music before adding that Fela had “common sense to strike out in an original direction”. I have one question: What do you want Sir?
There are a million and one reasons for the youth of today to be depressed and confused, the music you call rubbish has given a handful of Nigerians some form of employment, that studio which you think they are all in “Ajegunle”, has got a producer, an artiste and maybe a sound Engineer and simple maths should equate that to three people off the streets with guns. For some of us, the music you call horrible is the single thing that makes us smile when we have everything to frown about. The truth is that music doesn’t have to even make sense to be good. You don’t need to understand it. I’m sure you listen to songs like Kumbaya which the slaves sang and you will call that original music. The beauty of music is the fact that you hear a song in Spanish or a song like Windeck in French or Portuguese and you find yourself bopping your head to it even though you don’t have an idea about what they mean.
All I ask is that you and your generation should give us a chance; a chance to smile, a chance to create opportunities and jobs for ourselves rather than condemn literally everything out there. It is because the older generation has hijacked the jobs to recycle and share amongst themselves that is why some young people are out there trying to sing because that is one of the few sectors your generation hasn’t kidnapped from us “YET”. This is why you hear people trying and some of them making music that hurts the heart and ears. With all due respect Dear Writer, you talk about studying our music in earnest and then the artiste you choose to do your research on is “Vocal Slender”? Seriously you base your research on artiste bankrolled by BBC for a documentary which had nothing good to say about your country Nigeria? Let’s take about 40 steps back to your time, how many African Artistes from your days made it to the Billboards or International awards? These guys you literally condemn like Dbanj, 2Face and M.I have brought international attention to the African Entertainment Industry. They have won international awards so maybe, just maybe they are doing something right. Give our generation some credit rather than general condemnation. I’m sure you love bob Marley and Marvin Gaye but it is okay to call music by 2face and modern artistes horrible?
The column is called “Email from America”, I will not accuse the writer of sitting down in America and condemning modern Nigerian music, because i know this would be doing what he has done which is generalising. I know young Nigerians in America, Canada and Britain who have played a major role in making our music get to the fans who love and appreciate the music you call horrible. Check www.notjustok.com www.jaguda.com www.gidilounge.com www.iblend.net www.bellanaija.com and a lot more ... give our generation some credit, it may take a while but gradually we are getting there and we have results to show. The glass you sit behind is very transparent, even if you don’t throw stones, you should understand that people are watching and listening... It is just like music, LET IT PLAY.
Check out Ikhide R Ikheloa’s “STOP THE MUSIC POST” ON 234NEXT Link: http://t.co/6RHY4Dp