In my response as I told him, I told him I presumed he was talking about D’Banj as that was the article I had just published at the time of his tweet. I agreed with Ovie I was “very critical” of D’Banj although the cadence of AML articles, in general, I hope, is thought provoking and where necessary critical with the exception of music tabs and general industry news, although it depends.
It was also the perfect time to make time to get to the article I have been meaning to write on my takeaway from the whole #OccupyNigeria strike. I wanted to approach it from a different angle. Now is the perfect time, however, to at the very minimum, focus squarely on D’Banj who serves as a main catalyst for wanting to write that article in the first place.
Let’s get into the gist of it shall we?
What’s really good with D’Banj? Why is NJO, with all due respect Ovie, and other similar sites just happy to play along and have never really called D’Banj out on his mess? Need I discuss the obvious conflict of interests?
Keeping it as real as real gets, AML is my personal journey and love affair with the law both as a lawyer and trial lawyer. The cases I discuss here reflect some of the legal issues I have had to deal with in my 10years of practicing law here in the United States. It also reflects my idealism of the kind of Nigeria I want my children and other Nigerian children to have, given that my passion for law stemmed while living in Nigeria.
The bulk of what makes me tick here on AML is any discussion about lawsuits or potential lawsuits. In my capacity as an attorney and also as a Journalist and Blogger, I am privy to a lot of private information. 100% of the time, I play dumb and keep communications made to me in confidence confidential. However, where certain stories that are not attorney-client privilege make it into the limelight, my journalism, blogging and legal critic and commentary hat comes on; especially where such stories involve legal connotations, irrespective of persons involved.
Now let’s get to what really ticks me off, to no end, about D’Banj and why I am “very critical” of the First Ever United Nations Youth Ambassador for Nigeria.
If there is one thing I am also very passionate about, it has to be working with young people. Both on a personal and professional level, I have worked with youths and intend to continue to do so. I resonate with youths and particularly youths from less privileged communities because I once was that youth. I understand what it feels like to not have a voice and I made a decision at an early age to be fearless; and to have a voice as well as lend my advocacy skills to those who are unable to fight for themselves.
“Youth” is a topic I tune into keenly, especially where leaders in Nigeria’s music industry purport to represent the voice of young people.
Mo’Hits Executive and artist D’banj is the FIRST EVER UNITED NATION’S YOUTH AMBASSADOR FOR NIGERIA. To date, it continues to be a flag he flies high and spreads around the globe. In a recent feature by Def Jam Africa, once again he was touted as UN Youth Ambassador for Nigeria.
Ambassador means he is the spokesperson for Nigeria’s youths. As the spokesperson for Nigeria’s youths he has to be held accountable where his actions fail and fall short of the role he has been crowned to play. D’Banj has showed nothing but reckless disregard for the feelings, concerns and issues faced by Nigeria’s youths. He particularly displayed that during the weeklong #OccupyNigeria strike and while many in the industry have given him a pass, especially media, I refuse to.
I remain unmoved that he is signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music, will perform in New York this February with a concert anchored by Live Nation, and will perform at the BBC1Extra event. So what? What has that got to do with anything? I have shared his accomplishments on my neutral publishing platforms. But on this platform, I am saying, “D’Banj it is not business as usual. You are accountable to Nigeria’s youths in your capacity as the country’s first ever UN Ambassador for youths.”
I understand non-Nigerians read AML law and particularly industry heads within America’s music industry. For your benefit, let me lay the context so you all understand.
In 2011, Nigeria’s current President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the candidates running for office to be re-elected. Many within and outside of the music communities supported him. Of note was one of Nigeria’s leading record label artist, Storm 360’s, Sasha P who joined in support. In addition, Weird MC, an artist dubbed Nigeria’s first female rapper, also joined in supporting the President’s campaign. D’Banj along with Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji were also celebrities who campaigned for Goodluck.
D’Banj’s support was, however, of a very aggressive nature that intrigued me.
Elections were fast approaching April 2011 of that year. Months before the election, D’banj all of a sudden had been crowned Nigeria’s First Ever United Nation’s Youth Ambassador, if memory serves me well. Feel free for those in the know to tell me the exact date he was appointed. Hmm . . . It was awfully suspicious. Nevertheless, many, myself included, granted him deference and publicized this accomplishment. See an excerpt from his press release I received.
“Our time is a youth targeted initiative put together by United Nations Youth Ambassador D’banj.
D’banj is a leading artist and entrepreneur in Nigeria.
D’banj has formally announced in a press conference on the 2nd of February, that he will be leading a group of artists in Nigeria, with the support of icons and professionals to engage Nigerian Youths in the ongoing voters registration.
While various organizations have been formed to support this cause, this is the first time in Nigerian Entertainment History, that artists have formed a coalition, to encourage the Youth of Nigeria to register to vote, vote, and have a voice in the future of Nigeria. . . ”
Next, D’Banj stunned the nation when President Goodluck refused to grant an interview to Youth journalists but granted it to D’Banj. Folks, think of Rihanna here in the USA interviewing President Barack Obama and you get the picture of what it felt like for most Nigerians. There was outrage across the country. I defended D’banj’s right to interview the President. While his music and overall persona has been nothing short of one full of sexual innuendos that make it hard to take him seriously, I didn’t think it precluded an actual interview if he connected with the youths, as he did. I was one of the lone voices to do so.
Finally, D’Banj used his influence and power to remix one of his hit singles and pushed youths to vote for the President. It remains unchallenged by D’Banj that he received money from President Goodluck Jonathan in exchange for supporting his campaign. Ethically, from where I sit, this is wrong. But, it appears Nigerians have a different standard as to how the political climate works. Can you imagine Beyonce, Rihanna etc. receiving money from President Barack Obama to campaign for him?
Nevertheless, I told artist Eedris Abdulkareem to take a chill pill when he provocatively said “God go punish you D’Banj” for taking money from Goodluck. I felt D’Banj was yet to emerge to talk to the youths he represents as an ambassador on his role in cajoling their votes; and needed to be given the opportunity to do so.
As you all know or should know, Goodluck stunned the nation when he gave Nigerians a New Year gift they did not ask for, the removal of fuel subsidy. I supported this move but maintained the timing was off and it was cruel to do so the way it was executed. Overnight, Nigerians saw fuel prices go from 65Naira to 141Naira.
By January 9th, 2012, a nationwide protest commenced. Where was Nigeria’s First Ever United Nation’s Youth Ambassador? He was busy shooting his ‘Oliver Twist’ video, the content of which has everything to do with “yansh” and nothing to do with being accountable to Nigeria’s Youths as Nigeria’s first ever Youth Ambassador for encouraging, pushing and asking them to vote for Goodluck Jonathan in his capacity as Youth Ambassador.
During the strike, D’Banj’s team, through Sesan Ogunro, tweeted that he was shooting his music video, at the time. This sent anger all over the webspace and offline as youths demanded he show up and have something to say about his role or his stance. D’Banj remained hidden.
Sasha P, Weird MC took a stance, despite pushing for the election of Goodluck. Even Nnaji remained resolute in her support of the President but said she categorically disagreed with the timing of his fuel removal subsidy and its execution. Where was D’Banj, the actual United Nation’s First Ever Nigerian Youth Ambassador? He was hiding!
A day after Goodluck Jonathan sends the military to deter Nigerians from continued protests and the Labor Union officially called off the nationwide strike, D’Banj emerged fully loaded on NJO with his promotional campaign. As I indicated to Ovie, I was disappointed NJO did not wait on the publishing an announcement of D’banj’s concert and also his numerous video clips from an exclusive interview he conducted in the UK. D’Banj and Mo’Hits have had a very close relationship with NJO. But, from a publisher perspective and given the gravity of the political climate and the fact that D’Banj had hid through the strikes, the marketing and promotions could have waited.
With high disregard for those he owes an obligation to, Nigerian youths, he gave UK his attention and continued with business as usual. This is NOT okay and I am absolutely okay with being the lone voice that calls out “the nonsense”.
We are approaching one month and yet D’Banj and the Mo’Hits camp are yet to issue an official press release addressing his role as First Ever United Nation’s Youth Ambassador, his lack of accountability, irrespective of his position on the matter, during the #OccupyNigeria strike. His own fans and Nigerian youths have been clear that they want this from him.
Yet, the same D’Banj and Mo’Hits team were quick, within twenty four hours, to inform the press that Kelly Hansome had been arrested and in police custody for an alleged stealing of their music, a remix of 2Face’s ‘Feeling Good’ featuring D’Banj.
D’Banj owes Nigeria’s youths an explanation regardless of what stance he takes. To ignore them and continue with business as usual is not only painful for the many that have spoken but is also painful for me to watch. I don’t care how other people run their business but as one who first promoted D’Banj in the USA, from my media platform, with his first exclusive interview in the USA and have continued to do so for 4years on my multiple platforms, I want to see him, for once, not be so reckless with the feelings of the people who helped him get to the top, Nigeria’s youths.
It is highly embarrassing that a youth ambassador is that out of touch and does not care about the youths, yet he continues to claim the title.
Live Nation cannot replace Nigerian youths, American/European fans cannot replace Nigerian youths. At the end of day, D’Banj is a child of Africa and an ambassador for youths. He will not tour the world forever, he can’t. He cannot guarantee he will always be a musician. There will most likely be a need to evolve and renegotiate new relationships within and outside the music industry. When that time comes, people will remember.
I, for one, will if he continues to ignore the voice of Nigerian youths, those he purports to represent. As the First Ever United Nations Youth Ambassador for Nigeria, it is non negotiable for him to ignore that glaringly the voice of Nigeria’s youths.
Don Jazzy I know you read AML and I have received your email complimenting me in the past. Get your team together, get your business partner D’Banj and send out an official release where he tackles this issue, once and for all.
Ovie, thanks for the tweet. It allowed me to finally make the time to get this out.