We all contributed, one way or the other, to creating this all-powerful monster that is now feeding on our children with reckless abandon and threatening to rip apart the very fabric of our society.
We danced to “Soapy” without any inhibitions, despite the fact that it made our young boys masturbate their lives away.
We gleefully danced to “Ko s’ewe, ko s’egbo..” even when we knew that the “chemicals” being mixed were crack, phentenol, skushi, colorado, etc.
We joyfully chanted “If you no get money, hide your face” even when we know it is insensitive, oppressive, and likely to cause depression and anxiety amongst the financially vulnerable and the impressionable youth population.
We were quick to defend incredibly bad behaviour, such as a celebrity’s security team shooting a club patron just because his woman refused to be “toasted” by a “god” of music, and people reinforcing someone boldy claiming he “has no manners.”
We bully, threaten, insult, attack, maim and even kill those who have the decency and courage to say anything “negative” about our faves, even when they glaringly mess up in the worst ways.
We are quick to disrespect and cancel even our own legends who put in the work, and helped to create the platforms and pathways that all these “new cats” are using to shine on a global scale.
We still have relative disdain for the entertainment industry as a whole, and the music business in particular, often seeing them as necessary nuisances, without us having a proper understanding of the power music has to indoctrinate even our own children, right under our noses.
We preach, in churches and mosques, against these young people who just want to express themselves, and keep them at arms length, thereby reducing the potential influences and guidance that could have been provided.
We refuse to mentor these kids, often deriding them as “unserious and lazy youths” because they choose to be entertainers instead of lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other “respectable” professions.
We seek elective offices without understanding the subliminal messaging potentials of music and the power of entertainment as a whole and the need to create buffer zones in our airspaces and media platforms against the influx of local and foreign threats and destructive influences.
We tax these celebrities EVERYWHERE, on radio and TV via payola, at locations via area boys, at events, family, friends etc, making their lives miserable and making it harder for people with incredible talent, but without a pile of money to be heard or be seen!
We created a lawless society where bad behaviour is now the new norm and often vigorously defended, while good behaviour is frowned upon, treated with disdain, and sometimes even punished.
Afrobeats is not the problem here.
It is a solution to unemployment, youth empowerment, wealth creation, increasing Foreign Direct Investment, and Diaspora remittances, and much more.
It is a platform that a lot of invested our youth and talent to help build and develop to where it is right now, but like whatever good thing you don’t protect, a large chunk of it has been hijacked by some the worst amongst us.
Almost all of us a culpable, one way or another and the sooner we own up to our part in this whole mess, the sooner we can start exploring ways to tame this monster we have fed, groomed and cuddled for the longest time.
It’s not too late to start correcting the mistakes of the past, at least for now.
Rest in peace, Imole.
May your light shine on all the darkness and right so many wrongs in our beloved music industry.