On November 13th, 2014, On Air Personality (OAP) Fade Ogunro shocked the entertainment industry when she went on social media to make it known a CEO in the industry physically abused his “girlfriend” who was an artist on his label. Fade was angry with the CEO and felt he had crossed her personal boundaries by intruding into her relationship with her “man”. So, she “outed” him and dropped enough clues that had everyone pointing to Ubi Franklin. See AML archived article, Is OAP Fade Ogunro Accusing Label CEO Ubi Franklin of Violence Against Emma Nyra, his Alleged Punching Bag?
Ubi Franklin is a young dynamic CEO at MMMG, a label he co-founded with pop artist Iyanya. In addition, the only female artist signed to his label, at the time, was Emma Nyra. Emma Nyra, at the time of Fade’s statements, was also rumored to be Ubi Franklin’s girlfriend.
When Fade made the accusation and the public began pointing fingers at Ubi, neither Iyanya nor any member of the MMMG camp addressed the rumors. There was no statement from the label making it clear their stance against domestic violence; or a denial of the alleged wrong doing. See AML archived article, When will we Hear from Label Owner IYANYA on his Position in the Ubi Franklin v. Emma Nyra Alleged Domestic Violence Case?
During that time, I told you Fade’s allegations were not surprising. Within the industry many had claimed Ubi Franklin in fact physically abused Emma Nyra. A few swore they witnessed it. However, the person that needed to do something about the abuse; in terms of exposing the perpetrator of the crime, was the alleged victim Emma Nyra. The police had never been called to a scene of a physical abuse by Ubi against Emma, there were no reports filed and those who claimed they witnessed it felt their hands were tied and there was not much they could do.
In May of 2015, Emma Nyra allegedly granted an interview to The Vanguard Newspaper in which it is claimed she said Ubi Franklin “terrorized and physically abused her for years” which is why she left the label. See AML archived article, Emma Nyra: “Ubi Franklin Terrorized & Physically Abused me for Years.”
Nevertheless, absent actually hearing it from her, even the alleged interview in The Vanguard seemed speculative. Now, the Nigerian-American singer, who is based in Nigeria, has directly confirmed the physical abuse in an interview she granted to Zinnia of HFTv.
In the interview, she confirms there was abuse in response to a specific question on physical abuse but says she is not ready to discuss the details just yet. In relevant part, here is what she said:
Zinnia: There was so much news on the blogs that you were getting beat up all the time.
Emma Nyra: Uuh hmmm… (nervous laughter)
Zinnia: Shed some light on that for us, please?
Emma Nyra: I don’t want to bring any bad light towards him (Ubi Franklin).
Zinnia: It’s everywhere!
Emma Nyra: Yeah. I just wanna say that as a woman, I took a lot.
Zinnia: You did.
Emma Nyra: I don’t want to cry or get emotional but I can’t really speak on it but it was a tough time for me. The reason I never spoke on it is because…I cared about his character… I cared… I don’t think he realized how people will perceive that. So there was no repercussion because I never spoke on it. I choose not to speak on it.
Zinnia: So you think he was taking advantage of that?
Emma Nyra: I mean definitely. Men in this industry and in this country in general don’t really receive that much of a repercussion when it comes to female abuse. And I’ve never spoken on it because I don’t want to be the face of female abuse; but one day when I feel like I am stronger inside to speak about it, I will definitely speak about it.
Folks, it is no news that physical abuse and sexual violence against women is a major issue in Nigeria’s entertainment industry, one that reflects the general society. Unfortunately almost all victims choose to remain silent because of how desperately they want to succeed, and the fact that they already have so many challenges stacked against them by virtue of being women trying to break into a male dominated industry. Indeed, when 85-90% of songs that enjoy air play are that of male artists, it is no surprise most of these women believe it is better to stay focused on the music and silently endure sexual violence, violence and harassment by their label CEOs and other industry professionals against their persons.
However, this culture of violence and abuse must stop. It starts with each one of us. On my part, it is indeed one of many reasons I have zero tolerance where there is any advocacy towards violence, whether against men or women. We ought to collectively speak strongly and forcefully against actions/conducts of persons who advocate violence, and put away our sentiments and love for the creativity those who advocate the violence churn out. You can love the music but boldly speak against an artist or any other industry professional that sanctions violence against any person where there is no moral and/or legal justification for such violence.
I believe and predict that the issues of violence, sexual violence and harassment will become even more prominent as the industry continues to grow, much the same way we are seeing increased cases of substance abuse and mental health issues. As an industry, we must be prepared to meet and take these challenges head on, and also create and have the right resources to rid the industry of these kinds of abuses that stifle creativity, impede growth and cause deeply economical and psychological damage in the lives of its victims.
For those reading this article who witness female artists or even males in the industry dealing with abuse, please encourage them to leave the situation; and provide them with resources to do so. Finally, for the perpetrators of violence, sexual harassment and violence, especially against women, you really should stop because the public is becoming more aware of these issues; and the criminal justice system in Nigeria is beginning to have bite, slowly but surely. Even if the system is one you believe you can get away with, the economic and social impact you most likely will suffer if you are in fact exposed should be enough deterrence. Get help to sort out your self hate that makes you want to inflict the same pain, if not worse on another human being.
Watch Emma Nyra discuss the abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of Ubi Franklin from the 9:50 mark.
Resources for victims of domestic abuse:
“Helplines: For information or help in domestic abuse situations, call the lines below:
Federal Government of Nigeria Toll Free Number for Violation of Girls and Women
CHELD Domestic Violence Helplines
0810 757 2829; 0813 164 3208
Project Alert – 234-1-8209387; 08052004698; 08180091072″