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, and 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 fly around making impacts, 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 decency or place immorality on the shredder; I must make my money,” seems to be the rule. I must concede that few among these artistes pass awesome messages, address societal issues and make waves across the world, but the vast majority are not.
Cyber fraud 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 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. A major contribution to this: bad music! Songs like ‘Am I Yahoo Boy’ have all preached nothing but cyber fraud to (un)suspecting youths. The ban on these songs by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) could only curtail their play over the air, the songs are doing well on streaming platforms. There are hundreds of these songs released regularly by artistes. Little wonder most youths now ride on cyber fraud. Like the Gombe State 16-year-old who was apprehended for cybercrime on September 4, 2019, and revealed he was inspired by the music and lifestyle of a musician. The ripple effects of Nigerian Musicians over youths, indeed, pose a grave concern.
August 18, 2017, was only one day among the many days of “ineffective banning” by the National Broadcasting Commission. “Wo” was banned after a tweet from the Federal Ministry of Health that the song was in violation of the Tobacco Control Act, 2015. Others like ‘Science Student’, ‘Kush’ ‘Drug Test’ 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.
In November, 2019, Mr Kehinde Aremu, the Anambra State camp director, made a stealth warning to male corps members at the state’s Ummuawulu Mbauku Orientation Camp. The bitter complaints from female corps members who were being body shamed and assaulted by their male counterparts – with the then trend of “Aṣo pọ toyi” – propelled Mr Kehinde’s warning.
Nigerian entertainers – especially musicians – should stem the damaging contents they dish 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 weaponized their musical content against immorality, oppression, bad governance, apartheid, national disintegration, youthful exuberance, among other noteworthy causes.
Hashim Yussuf Amao, Ibadan