From Brymo To Naira Marley: Here’s Why Artistes Should Never Be Separated From Their Art

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Nigerians reward bad behaviour. Whether it is as a result of a majority resonating with the story of the accused or just mere non-challance to the extent of the damage these people have caused to their victims, Nigerians would eventually look the other way and in our usual manner, use humour and bants to cover up an issue that should be dealt with.

Naira Marley ropped into Mohbad case


At least, this has been the case for many years until Mohbad. Mohbad was a 27-year-old fast-rising music star allegedly bullied by members of his record label, Marlian Records. While he was alive, he had filed a lawsuit that detailed how his record label boss had orchestrated violent attacks on him that led to a threat to his life and also gave a detailed analysis of how he is yet to be paid any advances as mutually agreed while he signed his contract. Naira Marley had also failed to pay royalties from all his intellectual property works that have been monetised since 2019.

All he demanded was the logs and record of the digital sales of his songs from 2019 till his contract was terminated and payment of its monetary value. He also demanded that his entire catalogue be released.

Before his death, none of his demands were met. Instead, after his demise on September 12, 2023, videos started popping out from anonymous sources of the artiste being harassed and battered for terminating his contract. However, before this tragic incident occurred Naira Marley and his gang should have not been given the space to thrive in the music scene.

When the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Naira Marley, Zlatan among other acts in 2019, for weeks, rather than address the issue of fraud, Nigerians took to social media to make memes after memes out of their mugshots and even tuned in when he released ‘Soapy,’ a song that trivialised his crime, ‘since everyone was deemed a thief.’

In that same period, news broke out that at 19, the street hop artiste had been declared wanted by Lewisham Police for crimes ranging from robbery to sexual assault on a night bus, alongside four other men. Although people started questioning his character, most never saw the need to cancel him, people still vibed to his songs in clubs.

The same situation has happened in various forms with artistes like Brymo, ShalliPopi, and Oxlade, where these acts have been rightly prosecuted and called out for their jarring behaviours, but after a few days of outrage and online discussion, one new music Friday clears all their sins.

In Brymo’s case, he had not only been accused of raping women on different occasions he had made a statement where he disclosed that he had been directly offensive to women in other to get a reaction. “Crazy random parties. Drugs and women. I remember I used to be very direct so I could just offend the women, you know. I’d just say things like you look so beautiful and I want to give you multiple orgasms. And the girl just goes, ‘Brymo you can say that just because you’re a star? You can’t say that to me, that’s rude’. And I’d just go ‘Oh I’m so sorry, it’s the alcohol. and it would never happen.’ It was wild. A fucking wild time,” he had told Joey Akan on Afrobeats Intelligence.

Everyone seems to be outraged by the fact that Mohbad was bullied, but nobody makes a conscious effort to cut out the bad eggs. Some even say it’s okay to be narcissistic as it’s what makes an artiste great. Some people go to lengths by saying ‘His art is too spiritual, we can never separate the artiste from the art.’ But, how can you listen to these artistes lyrics and not attribute them to the number of lives they have destroyed with their actions?

We are just a few days into getting justice for Mohbad, and there are still people building another Naira Marley in ShalliPopi. The street hop artiste had just gotten bail after he was convicted and sentenced to jail alongside five others on individual one-count accusations that had elements of criminal impersonation.

Like Naira Marley, ‘Ex Convict’ is ShalliPopi’s ‘Am I A Yahoo Boy’ as he braggadociously talks about fraud while Nigerians stream his track to the top of the charts, defend him from people who have seen this ‘fraudster to music star’ pattern happen over and over again. Soon, his influence in the street hop space would grow giving him access to vulnerable upcoming artists, who like Mohbad, just want to make music. And we repeat the cycle because for some reason Nigerians have a soft spot for fraudsters.

Artistes should never be separated from their art. To remove an artiste from their work is like removing the essence of their art. Their lyrics bear a part of their view of the world, most times, they are excerpts from their lives, which is why we relate to them so much because they are humane, and we relate to their experience. So, when conversations are had about why artistes should never be separated from their art, it should be taken seriously.

Every year, thousands of unproblematic artistes making good music debut in the music space. Tune in. The principle is simple. Equipping a bully with the resources and influence to continue harming people is not the best way to deal with bullies. In the future, I hope Mohbad’s situation will be a reference point to one of the many occasions an artiste was rightfully cancelled.

The post From Brymo To Naira Marley: Here’s Why Artistes Should Never Be Separated From Their Art appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.