Law & Policy, Music Business

When will we Hear from Label Owner IYANYA on his Position in the Ubi Franklin v. Emma Nyra Alleged Domestic Violence Case?

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The recent social media explosion by On Air Personality Fade Ogunro, where she revealed that a music CEO who had his girlfriend signed to his record label, was busy beating the girlfriend up, has sent the internet buzzing.

Fade revealed the information for her own personal advantage as she felt this executive was jeopardizing her two-year “love” relationship with her current boyfriend. In her revelation, Fade dropped so many clues that the public inferred it had to be the case of Ubi Franklin, manager and co-owner of MMMG Records and Emma Nyra, a Nigerian-American artist who relocated to Nigeria some years ago.

Nigeria’s music industry, when viewed from a big picture standpoint, is still quite small; and so are the number of large record labels. Further, there are barely any women signed to the larger record labels in the country; by large I mean indie record label size by American standards. Also, the known woman signed to any record label right now in Nigeria who has also been presented as the girlfriend of an executive label owner is Emma Nyra.

MMGFadeOgunroUbiFranklinSo, it is not hard to see why the public deduced Fade was talking about Emma Nyra and Ubi Franklin. Also, as I have stated in a prior write up, for a while now, industry insiders have been whispering among circles about the alleged ongoing physical abuse by Ubi Franklin against Emma Nyra. The abuse has allegedly been ongoing for years and Iyanya, co-founder of the label and a so called ladies man who flaunts larger than life muscles on social media, has allegedly stood by and let it all happen under his watch.

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, we are yet to see Iyanya send a press statement to tell us that this is NOT true; AND to clearly distance his record label from any form of domestic violence against women.

This fact is highly significant. Why? The vast majority of Iyanya’s fan base who make sure he is fed and can afford the lifestyle he currently enjoys are women. To be more specific, they are Nigerian/African women. These women have made him the rock star that he is today and successful music business owner. They keep him and his entire MMMG team employed.

How then can Iyanya claim to be for women and yet allegedly stand by, for years, and watch a woman get pummeled by his own business partner? If the allegations are untrue, where is the press release/statement to clearly distance himself from such acts and make it clear his label DOES NOT tolerate any form of violence against women? Where is the press statement that says his label has been and continues to be a safe place for women artists to practice their crafts, grow and thrive? Where are the concrete examples of such reality for the woman signed with his label?

From a strictly monetary/investment standpoint, as a record label owner, your artist is your investment, your money. You want to at all times protect your investment. So, why would you even create an environment that jeopardizes your money? What sound minded business owner does that?

Let’s move from the importance of protecting your capital investments to your legal obligation to create a safe working environment for all persons who walk in and out of your office. Why is that not being done? When you attach an artist to a manager, A&R, producer or a fellow label executive, you need to make sure that artist is safe, especially where you move that artist to the record label house for recordings or to live in and focus on music as most larger labels in Nigeria do. You need to own responsibility for the safety of that artist and where you fail to do that, and that artist is injured physically and psychologically under your watch, there should be legal repercussions. In fact, there are legal repercussions under Nigeria’s tort and labour laws.

When Iyanya had Emma Nyra sign a contract, it was not to have her reside in the MMMG home and then create a very unsafe environment, for years as it is alleged, for his business partner to allegedly beat the living day lights out of her, on the regular, and also sexually harass her.

Iyanya has a duty ethically and legally to protect his artists, and so does any record label owner who signs an artist to their label and takes them under their watch.

How can Iyanya, an artist and man who makes most of his money off women (women who as he says drive “4 or 5” hours for his show), his main fan base, even tolerate any form of violence or insinuation of such under his watch?

At a minimum, with a very serious issue like this, he should let his fans, the public and media know MMMG DOES NOT condone violence.

When will we hear from Iyanya , as co-founder of MMMG, his stance and position against domestic violence; and what steps he is taking, if any, in the alleged Ubi Franklin v. Emma Nyra domestic violence case?

I want to know. Don’t you?

(Note: Ubi is from a law background and also was a law student. How ironic.)

-Uduak

First picture Iyanya
Second picture Ubi and Emma Nyra

Iyanya

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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1 Comment

  1. allen says:

    It is a known fact in the nigerian music scene that Emma Nyra is dating Ubi Franklin. She is his girlfriend. He is not forcing her to do anything at all. He spends millions of naira buying her shows, awards and flying her first class around the world. She even has a stylist that travels with her. Why? She knows no other label would do that. Even with all that his doing she still cant get a hit song. That's why she stays. Her family ARE well aware Ubi is beating her up which makes one question their morals also

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