I read an article today that I feel you should read, it was sent to me by a friend -Bolaji Osinuga, as an article from Dr. Tony Rapu. It touched my heart, and I think it will touch yours to. To imagine that at the same time ThisDay music festival was happening and clinging all the publicity, Bill Gates was also in Nigeria for a different agenda with next to no publicity. Apart from what was obvious in this jamboree, I understand that some other things went under that shouldn’t be publicized for shame. Some perspectives have been shared by many including, Grandiose Parlor, All Africa ( I understand that student unions were able to negotiate NGN10,000 fee for the first 1000 students. These are the same students that riot when school fees move from NGN500 to N2500. Do we need to complain about any government?), and many others. I shudder at our misplaced priorities. Why?…I think the article speaks for itself, and your comments also are welcome.
“ThisDay newspaper has been hailing its recent music festival as the biggest entertainment event ever to hit our shores. Internationally renowned artistes Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and others were paraded with local artistes also featuring somewhere in the shadows. For fun-lovers, it was to be a rare opportunity to see the superstars of MTV and Channel O in the flesh.
Teenagers anywhere in the world can recount the exploits of these international stars. Beyonce, formerly of the group, Destiny’s Child, is the prime exponent of the new trend in music videos. The emphasis is on heightened sensuality, bared flesh and orgiastic gyrations. Like others of her generation, Beyonce’s videos are as much a visual experience as they are musical works.
Snoop Dogg’s lyrics and videos are sexually explicit and are demeaning to women. Ciara, 21, caters to an audience between 11 and 17 years. What these artistes have in common is the thematic substance of their music. Their videos like most on MTV and Channel O portray soft pornography, hyper-sensuality and sexual permissiveness.
After a dose of the delinquent artistry of these performers, it becomes clear that serious counseling is needed to help our teenagers, who constitute the larger part of their audience, preserve their morals. Any regular visitor to MTV ought to know that what our youngsters swallow as entertainment is a troubling experience. Why then would our State governors and politicians be the visible faces of the audience at this show?
In a sense, ThisDay’s unspoken motivations are understandable. The music festival was an opportunity for the paper to brand itself as the undisputed leader in the entertainment media industry. Some also saw it as a branding opportunity for Lagos , one that would shoot up the city’s rating as a leading entertainment hub on the international circuit with the profitable fallout in tourism and foreign investment. But this belief in foreign dollars is misplaced. Lagos , itself, is a picture of urban chaos-flooded roads, garbage strewn streets, open sewers and erratic power supply.
It says something very uncomplimentary of us as a people and of our leadership to suggest that it requires a visitation by Beyonce and Co. to spur the development of Lagos . The presence of government officials and society’s leaders at the event implied that they endorse the perverse values represented by those artistes to the detriment of our nation’s moral health.
Furthermore what image of the nation has been promoted by having artistes who promote lewdness and lurid lyrics? Judging from the entertainment industry in recent times and especially with the material pouring in from South Africa, it seems that there are efforts to re-brand Nigeria as a country without moral borders and a society where anything goes, all in the name of opening up the nation to foreign investors.
The now rampant music video format that emphasizes skimpy costumes, seductive dancing and hyper-sensuality that was inaugurated by the MTV age has now infiltrated the local entertainment scene. The new generation of indigenous artistes with their access to visual tools that their forebears never had, have bought the creed that whatever is loud, lewd and lurid sells. Accordingly, even our local acts are now striving to outdo their foreign counterparts in the abolition of decency in music.
ThisDay should have considered the collateral impact on moral values before staging the event. Debauchery is not the way to steer the consciousness of youths towards the challenges of nation-building in the information age. Where would students get the (so called discounted) N10,000 to pay for a ticket? Where in the world would anyone pay the equivalent of N100,000, the cost of a ticket, to watch such a show?
Is this not a misplacement of priorities on the part of ThisDay? Even the Orange Bank known for its discretion in banking seemed to have thrown caution to the wind in supporting and promoting this crass extravaganza. Surely there are other creative ways of promoting Nigeria ‘s image and re-branding the nation if that was the point of the whole endeavour.
As the intellectual vanguard of the Nigerian press, the paper could have for instance, staged a gathering of the top fifty international business leaders and thereby brand Nigeria as the foremost emerging market in the northern hemisphere. Such a summit would promote investment, industrialization and vitally, for Nigerian youths, employment.
By a remarkable coincidence, Bill Gates, the world’s richest entrepreneur and chairman of Microsoft was in Nigeria to discuss the economy, fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS. That an unnecessary music festival overshadowed his presence in the country says something about our society’s priorities.”