I grew up tomboyish and I can’t say that has ever left me. It is part of of my identity. I am used to being around the fellas and easily and seamlessly shifting from being as girly as I can possibly get; to kicking it with the fellas and talking all of the “bidness” under the sun. Having been around boys/men for so long, I remain intrigued at how even grown men that appear to have their own independent spine, seem to cave in to enormous pressure when they get around their peers. Face it fellas, whether peer pressure or nature, there is a need to want to outshine and outdo the next guy. Women have this too but I think men can be quite intense with this. You can call it a lack of true identity and self confidence or relegate it to just “boys being boys.”
Whatever the case, I think we need to begin a real discussion on what appears to be the Nigerian Male Artist’s dangerous obsession with flashy cars and houses. To a large extent, it is arguably an extension of a mentality and culture that is hard to kick to the curb. In the last year or two, alone, we have seen fellas such as Davido, May D, D’Banj, eLDee, Iyanya, J-Martins and many more purchase vehicles/homes with astronomical price tags. In Davido’s case, his recent home allegedly cost 140million Naira, the listed price of the home in public records. What does a twenty year old emerging artist need a 140Million Naira home for? Just to say he can afford one? Who is he trying to prove the point to?
This trend, to me, is highly dangerous to both the individuals involved and the industry they purport to represent. Below are my thoughts and I certainly would love to hear your thoughts:
1. As a pragmatic matter, it makes no sense to buy vehicles that are so expensive and then proceed to drive them on Nigeria’s terrible pot hole infested roads. The maintenance alone and the depreciation value accelerated by such roads makes a compelling case against such flashy purchases. Likewise, as a practical matter, it makes no sense to buy a very expensive home, even if you are Davido. From a maintenance perspective, why incur such astronomical expense at this point in your young emerging career?
2. Purchasing flashy cars and homes makes artists easy attraction for armed/robberies and kidnappings. It used to be kidnappers targeted foreign workers who came to dig our oil. Now, they target local wealthy Nigerians and have begun focusing on the entertainment industry. Flashy cars and houses make our artists easy targets both for the ones that may be coasting on the coat tails of their famous peers and the famous ones.
3. It is a stupid purchase. I hate to be so harsh but it just is. What is the justification for May D who just got “fired” from Square records and has just set up a new business to buy the recent flashy car he just did? Can someone explain? You put a hole in your pocket just when your music career is taking off? Ownership of the songs you sang with P-Square seems to be in exclusive control of P-Square. There are no talks of royalty payments. You lack traction even on common small thing like social media or You Tube sef. Why, why, why, would you do this??? How about Iyanya? A few videos and media appearances where you wind your waist and belch out covers of R&B songs of UK and American singers; and all of a sudden you are purchasing a vehicle worth millions? Why???? The fact of the matter is like models, athletes, actors and actresses, the career life span of an artist is VERY short. When you add “Nigerian” next to “artist,” it is even shorter. The focus should be long term investments. Yes, look good but who are you trying to impress? For those signed to labels that advance them these astronomical amounts of money to look good which the label will recoup later, o je kin lagi lori yin! As in someone needs to slap you all up the side of your heads.
4. It creates a false image and aspiration to young artists who have no sense or reality of what the industry is all about. This is self explanatory.
This trend is dangerous, stupid, shortsighted and a great exhibit to show Africans can and should do better.
I want to hear your thoughts. Do you disagree with me? Why? What is a different way of looking at what I think is a disturbing trend? Should I join those who say, “if artists have worked hard and can afford million dollar homes and cars, kini (what is the) big deal?”
Photocredit and description: Davido’s 140Million Naira Home/Linda Ikeji