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TALENT is a Miserable Orphan | By Sayo Aluko

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This morning, I was in the bathroom with my friend, Mr. iTunes Music player, and as usual, he was on shuffle.

Funny guy. He has mastered the art of sifting through my over 2000 songs like a McCoy, going from a zero to a hundred in a blink.

I mean, nigaa goes 🎵Ijoooba orun, lere oniiigbagbo o🎵in one minute, putting you in celestial mood, and the next thing you’ll hear is, 🎵talo ka pata iya Teacher lo n’Ibadan, kapaichumarimarichupako, zanku, leg work, zanku, gbe bodi e 🎵.

Most times I’ll just smile and be like, “guy, guy…guy!!! how far na! Nawa for you o!”, and then just vibe on.

Back to this morning, I think I was in the middle of that eternally attendant tedium of scrubbing the back when he blazed in with the ranking single – Say You Believe Me – from the 2008 #PlanB reunion album by the Platanshun Boiz trio.

🎵 Baby believe me when I say, na you dey matter for my mind….Girl anytime I look into your eyes it’s like sapphire and diamond inside….The reason why I trip for you is that you truly truly under-under-understand me so so…And there’s many other reasons that makes me dòbálè for yoooou more and more…🎵

You should have seen how my soap-rigged self burst out moves, turned the sponge to a mic and sang along, after I had initially hailed my guy [I’m sure I’m not the only one who hails the Music Player in those moments when it comes through with one correct song].

“Washeere my niggaaa!”, I twale-d.

But as I vibed to this gem of a jam, I got re-struck with the legend of Augustine “Blackface” Ahmedu.

Re-struck because I mean, any and every knower of true sound must have been once or many times stricken by this guy’s apparent talent.

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Blackface was [is] easily the most talented of that trio. His voice was [is] the scarce type. He gave different. He wrote 80% of their songs. He sang, rapped, hooked. He had the swagger we loved to see. Oh! That his creamy voice.

Below is an excerpt from a 2016 article by Obinna Fred:

“all three members of the Plantashun Boiz, their managers, record label executives and even music industry insiders are still very much alive and can explain to you the numerous roles which Blackface played in not only naming the group, creating the “Face” personas and also writing a bulk of the music, [not just] anybody can do that…”

He was [is] the most talented, and this is neither an unpopular opinion nor is it an alternative fact [thank you Trump!]

But we all know the other story. At a point, Blackface was rumored to be somewhere on unhappy street, blowing last ashes off cigars of miserable, while staring at bottles of fermented anger. We all know this story.

He didn’t really make it. Especially when compared to Innocent ‘TuFace’ Idibia, the most successful act from that group.

[No, pause. This isn’t one of those look-at-your-mate, inspire-to-aspire-to-expire articles o!]

I put ‘Say You Believe Me’ on repeat, and as largely usual in most Plantashun Boiz’ songs, Blackface sang most part of it. Right there, I couldn’t just stop thinking about whatever it was that stymied the “blow” of Blackface’s talent.

After a while of thought, the only way my mind could explain this was via a sentence – TALENT IS AN ORPHAN – without the right people, talent is nothing.

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One could argue this stance for ages, but is quite clear that something wasn’t right about the kind of people who surrounded Blackface. How the hell did someone this talented didn’t get to that zenith where we’d have seen even more of him?

I had to accept that among many other reasons blinded to me, this fact of a lack of right people was top for me.

I wanted to blame the beast of piracy for Blackface’s mishap, but I realized it was a common denominator to most, if not all Nigerian recording artistes. Boom! I was back to the arithmetic of people.

What if he had his own Efe Omoregbe like TuFace does till date? What if he had his own Mama Burna as Burna Boy does, lifesavingly at that? I kept asking myself.

From Blackface’s striking legacy, I couldn’t but help acknowledge that Talent needs its parents – the right people – around it to survive the long haul.

The right people who will:
• curate the right influence around the talent
• bear the weight of the dream bore by the talent
• help find paths to survival for the talent
• become team, a beam, and not burden for the talent
• become family and like-minded advisers for the talent
• become comrades who can say NO to the talent’s vices and make it live.

Talent is not TALENT without [the right] People.
Talent is an ORPHAN without [the right] People.
Talent will end up LONELY without [the right] People.

One is forced to ask – What kind of people are teaming and teeming around one’s purpose, vision, and/or talent?

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I heard Blackface is back on his grind now though, and I had to go to his Twitter page to see those efforts – I wish him the best and can’t wait from whatever cooks from that kitchen.

To me, and as I said earlier, to a lot of people who legit sabi, Blackface will always be remembered as a pluripotent multi-genre artiste – who can rap, sing, create roots reggae music as well as dancehall, some sprinkle of Idoma tunes and sometimes gospel. I’ll remember him as a social activist who has always used conscious music as a weapon to speak for the vast majority of masses [we can’t forget the single with Alobai ‘Hard Life’ in a jiffy], and most importantly, a songwriter who penned arguably the greatest and biggest R&B song in Nigerian and African contemporary music history – African Queen.

PS: I have relieved my guy, ITunes Music Player, off its shuffle job today. It’s gonna be an all Blackface Naija weekend….

🎵…it’s a hard life wey dey live for Naija, ja ja ja…🎵

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Met Police to investigate Khafi for appearing on BBNaija ‘without permission’

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The Metropolitan Police says it is investigating Khafi Kareem, a Big Brother Nigeria housemate, for appearing on the reality show without permission.

The 29-year-old police officer is said to be on unpaid leave from the Lambert Station where she has been working since 2015 as a PC.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Met said Khafi’s request to take part in the reality show had been declined and that the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) in London would investigate the situation.

“A PC attached to the Met transformation command requested permission to take part in a reality entertainment show in Nigeria. Permission was not given,” the Met statement read.

“The Met Police is aware that the officer has since appeared on the show without authority. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and would be carrying out an investigation into the circumstances.

“The Met does not support the officer’s appearance nor does she represent Met while appearing on the show.”

The Sun UK had reported that Khafi might lose her job for having sex on the show, which is aired live.

Khafi had told BBNaija she joined the police after her friend was murdered in 2007 adding that she was on Met’s female genital mutilation team.

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In a statement released on Monday, her team had threatened to sue The Sun UK for publishing an article that is “damaging to the image and livelihood” to her.

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Davido, others mourn as DJ Arafat dies

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Popular Ivorian musician, Houon Ange Didier, popularly known as DJ Arafat is dead.

The 33-year-old died on Monday at about 8am following a bike accident Sunday night in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire.

According to reports, his motorcycle was hit by a car driven by a journalist from Radio Côte d’Ivoire.

DJ Arafat was reportedly unconscious while being rushed to the hospital before he died on Monday.

According to BBC Afrique, he was a highly celebrated and accomplished Coupe Decale Artist.

He won the Best Francophone Award at the 2015 MAMAs and was nominated for Best African Act at the 2015 MTV EMA.
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In May 2019, DJ Arafat’s Moto Moto hit 1 million YouTube views in less than 24 hours.

Music superstar Davido took to his twitter and Instagram pages to pay tributes to the late artiste.

He simply wrote: “RIP Yorobo. I love you”.

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Nollywood needs government’s support to prevent it going into extinction – Iya Rainbow raises alarm

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Veteran Nigerian actress, Mrs. Idowu Phillips popularly  known as Iya Rainbow, has  declared that the only way to prevent the Nigerian film industry from going into extinction is for the government to support actors and actresses with financial aids. 

Phillips,  who  posited that the advent of social media, internet and modern technology has negatively affected the practitioners in the industry, also lamented  that it is worrisome that most producers and film makers run at loss after producing home videos, because most of the films have been on the internet even before they are out for sale.

The octogenarian made these assertions recently while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital shortly after the kickoff of her 77 birthday ceremonies organised by Gulf Platform, titled “Unveiling Mama Rainbow at 77 in Dubai”, which is expected to take place in October and November this year.
The event had in attendance, the Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Oyo state chapter, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye who chaired the occasion, Nollywood actors and actresses among whom are Saheed Balogun, Peju Omobolanle-Ogunmola, Toyin Adegbola, Razak Olayiwola, Yemi Sonde and Mr. Olusegun Davies and Mrs. Juliana Afonrinwo.

Iya Rainbow, while thanking the organisers for recognising her, appealed to the federal government to “save film industry from going into extinction because of the adverse effects of internet and the social media.”

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She stressed that the introduction of internet has reduced the patronage for home videos which has made many actors, actresses and producers to be in “debts after producing home videos.”

According to her, “I want the government to support us, to give us money that we can be making use as loans. It is the marketers that are borrowing us money and we don’t get our money back again. You will see a situation when someone spent two million for a film and he get six hundred thousand naira in return because the film has been on the internet before it is even out for sale.

“I appeal to government to support us to avoid this profession going into extinction. I don’t want it to go into extinction. We are begging the government, we are urging them to look at our side. The marketers are the ones giving us money in the past, but we don’t get what we spend on the films now, that is why we don’t get support again. Before a film is out, it is already on the internet.

Speaking on the attitude of young actors and actresses, she maintained that it is only those who are not wise that are showing up their wealth on the internet.

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“It is those who are not wise that are showing their wealth on the internet. How can you be showing that you have fifteen million when you don’t have five million. Those who are still exposing their bodies, we are still talking to them at the locations because I don’t like it. I don’t want them to go astray. God said that we should cover our body, why do you have to expose yourself.

“Lack of role models and masters is another issue. In the past, we have masters who train people and many upcoming actors and actresses will be under that person, but now, someone with money will just come without enough training, that is one of those things killing the industry, Iya Rainbow added.

Directors of Gulf Platform, Mr. Olusegun Davids and Mrs. Juliana Afonrinwo while speaking, informed that the organisers decided to celebrate the octogenarian because of her contributions to the theater industry in Nigeria.

“Today, we are kicking off the 77th birthday of Iya Rainbow. We are gather here to appreciate her contributions and that is why we are honoring her as she turns 77 on October 16th.”

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