By now those of you in the African music ecosystem have probably heard of the viral story concerning Peruzzi (an artist signed to Davido’s Nigerian record label DMW) assaulting Pamilerin Adegoke, a social media influencer. If you haven’t, the facts are rather straightforward.
About six months ago, January 6, 2019, Pamilerin tweeted several tweets comparing Teni the Entertainer and Peruzzi, both emerging artists. The discussion centered around the Sound City Music Awards ‘Best New Artiste’ category of which Teni and Peruzzi were nominees. Teni won and Pamilerin favored her in the discussion.
Six months later, Pamilerin and Peruzzi happened to be at a concert in Bayelsa (Southern part of Nigeria). Peruzzi, still upset from the tweets of January 2019, had his “thugs,”in my view, summon and hold Pamilerin down against his will. He then proceeded to slap Pamilerin causing an injury to his eye.
Pamilerin shared this incident on social media. Given that Peruzzi is signed with Davido’s record label, it only made sense the story would go viral. As expected, it did earlier today. Pamilerin and Davido have now “apologized” for the assault but I believe the “apology” is disingenuous, at best. This is because they both say Peruzzi was wrong for assaulting Pamilerin but justify his action by saying he “is human.”
For this specific set of facts, I fail to see what being human has to do with the matter. When you say, yes I hit you but I am only human, all you are doing is justifying violence and it is not a true apology. This “I am human” argument perhaps (although a big stretch) would have made sense if Peruzzi was in Pamilerin’s presence on January 6, 2019, when Pamilerin tweeted his opinion preferring Teni to Peruzzi. However, Peruzzi waited six months to resuscitate a dead issue at a concert with an assault on Pamilerin.
Peruzzi’s behavior is the conduct of a bully unwilling to accept that people may have a difference of opinions about his craft, and that it is quite okay.
Davido, while his intentions may be well-meaning, is wrong for trying to justify the basis for the violent act. If you are going to be a leader, be a leader. Don’t lead with confusion. Davido should have been clear that Peruzzi’s act is unacceptable and leave it at that. The “he’s human” thing is unwarranted.
Again, it is different if this incident happened in January during or right after Pamilerin’s tweet. But, to wait a whole six months, and then try to sweep it under the umbrella of “I am human,” is cowardice at its finest.
Folks, Nigerians and many African groups often claim that criminal laws and enforcement do not work in their countries. Safety is often cited as a major concern that causes such an exodus of citizens to western shores. But, when the test is put in front those very citizens complaining about violence, they fail time and time again. Nigerians and Africans, collectively, must be the change they wish to see.
If you justify violence in this situation, then you will find a way to justify violence against even more vulnerable members of society. It is no wonder that we see violence against women, children, and many disadvantaged groups in a country like Nigeria, and like Davido and Peruzzi’s statements, someone, often men, justify those violent acts with with “I am only human” or “what you said made me hit you.”
We can and must do better. Let’s step up our game.
“I’m sorry for slapping you. I’m sorry for hitting you… You do not have to like my music, but please do not insult me, leave me alone.”
“I slapped him. It was wrong, but I’m a human being. I didn’t assault him o, I wanted to have a conversation with him and it didn’t turn out well…”
NOTE: Under Nigerian law, Peruzzi slapping Pamilerin without Pamilerin’s consent is an assault and a criminal offence under Nigeria’s Criminal Code Act. In the U.S., such an act, in a state like California is a battery. Assault would be simply putting him in fear of getting slapped. Battery is the actual unlawful contact i.e. the slap.
Pamilerin’s rendition of the facts
“What did I go to Bayelsa for, I had no idea I was going to come back to Lagos with a mini swollen eye, all thanks to your fav for blessing me with that. I would have stayed in my Lagos and enjoy the traffic in peace. After the event it was time to go back to Lagos and face traffic, I got into the bus that was taking us to PortHarcourt from Bayelsa, next thing I heard was, come down here, then I felt heavy hand pull me down. All I could hear was, are you AYE(cult), I could not respond because I was lost in thought. What is happening I said to myself. Then this guy dragged me where Peruzzi was standing. Ohh, it’s you, I said to myself.
Next thing, your superstar Peruzzi pulled me up with the help of his bouncer holding my hands, the next thing I heard was boom. Is that from THOR I said to myself. He started screaming, don’t you ever tweet about me again, you are mad, who do you think you are. This continued to about 20 minutes, everyone around was shocked and dumbfounded, he said how on earth will I compare him with Teni ???? He said he does not care, but this is you abusing me after 6 months. Bearing in mind that I tweeted on the 6th January 2019. When the whole comparison between himself and Teni surfaced online. I simply asked our gentleman not to compare himself that Teni has put in lot of work, so she deserved to be given her moment and credit.”
“I apologize to you @thepamilerin on behalf of my brother and artist @Peruzzi_VIBES. He was wrong for putting his hands on you but people need to realize that we artists are human beings and we see everything! You said some harsh words to my brother and sometimes this thing dey pain!”
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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia. Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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