On the day that Moschino and Ciroc partnered with Nigerian superstar, Wizkid, for the Milan Fashion Week, the singer had one of the highest levels of buzz in Nigeria. But it wasn’t for the big announcement. Wizkid was trending across his home country because, Shola, one of the mothers of his kids, aired him out as a deadbeat father.
From accusations of non-payment of child support to exposing Boluwatife, his 7-year-old kid to hard drugs and sexual immorality, combined with his absenteeism over seven birthdays, his blatant emotional torture of Shola, and his withdrawal of expensive gifts, Wizkid does appear to be a nightmare of a father to Boluwatife. In fairness, the story, backed by revealing screenshots of conversations, overshadowed his groundbreaking foreign deal. It is a win for African music, but it can’t be fully celebrated because the shock and magnitude of the accusations before him are stronger than whatever is happening in Europe.
But does it really matter? Whatever Wizkid has done will simply ride the next news cycle, until Buhari gives his next speech on Nigeria Air. We will jump on it, children of anger and bile. We will flog it up and down, and work up so much anger and stress. Guess who will drop a new hit song to ease our stress? Wizkid, of course. His talent is sufficient for him to win us all back. I hear he has a new EP named “Made In Lagos.” The music will make us happy, and all his sins will be chalked down to the expected excesses of being a celebrity in Nigeria.
We can’t cancel our musicians. They are too powerful for us, too loved and too charismatic to get the public ire that they deserve. Their music has been the soundtrack to our highest points (our birthdays, celebrations, turn ups, Jesus’s birthdays, and everything else.). Which of you haven’t shaken some part of your body to “Oya soco soco, soco soco baby oh,”? We will soon be dancing again. We will soon be worshipping these flawed idols in unison of spirit.
In fact, we rate Mr Eazi’s sin of questioning the source of art elements, over what Wizkid has done to his family. We are more likely to cancel Eazi, than Starboy. But we will do neither. And it is a reflection of who we are. We are not empathetic as a people. Our ability to connect with strangers, especially those in bad plights, is non-existent. We don’t care for anyone else, except for family and loved ones. And that’s to a very limited degree. It’s also why we aren’t moved to come together in times of distress and try to seek justice for people and companies who have committed offences against us as a people. It is why corrupt politicians can run free, and nothing will happen. It’s always “not that deep.”
It’s not that deep until it happens to our relative, or to us. Then we are interested. Our pain has hit home, so we have to fight it. Evil has finally chosen us, and we need help. Then we will scream our pain on social media, looking for warm comfort. We would discover ourselves to be isolated, as other people look at us and give us a taste of our medicine. It’s not that deep.
It’s not that deep until it is too deep. It’s not that deep until it is our own. It’s not that deep until blood runs out of our flesh. It’s not that deep until we die.
It’s not just Wizkid. Let’s look within and answer some hard questions. If your favourite artist gets their hand dirty, can you go out of your way to shut them out? Do you consume their content with a healthy moral centre? I can see people attacking Shola with the asinine question; “Why did you get pregnant?” Others make long threads on why Shola is a gold digger, and ‘money-hungry hoe’. For many, it isn’t their critical centre doing the talking. That part of themselves is inaccessible due to their followership. They refuse to put aside their love for an artist, to connect with the parts of themselves that are compassionate. That’s why no matter the wrong perpetrated by a musician, they are certain to bank on their core Nigerian followership for blind support. They are couched in that love. A safe crowd available to them by the power of their art.
Today, it’s an artist starving their child of attention. Yesterday, it was a musician allegedly beating his wife. Tomorrow, we might be so far bent and gone up the rectum of our musicians, that we can make excuses for worse. Paedophilia? Bestiality? Cannibalism? Kidnapping? How about robbery?
Keep them coming. The moral post has been shifted too far and too often, that we hardly even remember the reason why it was there in the first place. Or if it was ever really necessary.