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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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Entertainment

Classical Fuji After K1: The Likely Successors

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It is no gainsaying that the Nigerian Entertainment industry reign supreme and most of these celebrities are always identified as semi-god by their numerous fans and admirers. Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Adewale Omogbolahan Anifowose popularly known as K1 De Ultimate is a Nigerian Fuji musician who has paid his dues. K1 had earlier popularized a brand of the Fuji genre based on the work of his master and the Fuji creator, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister known as Talazo Fuji that appeals to all age groups, irrespective of tribe and background.

In 1984, the Ijebu-Ode Prince had his greatest musical success, with the album, titled, ‘Talazo 84’. He later step up his game, and by dint of hard work, K1 has successfully created and popularized his brand of Fuji music christened ‘Classical Fuji’. And, he has since recorded rhythmic success stories.

Wasiu Ayinde, who is believed to be the wealthiest and most influential Fuji artiste alive, has continued to show that he is indeed the ‘Fuji lord’. With his brand of Classical Fuji that appeals to the old and young generations, K1 blends easily with time and this has assisted him to build a huge fanatic Fan base and high leveled networks. While others are still struggling to secure a show, K1 is already occupied both home and abroad entertaining his fans. His rare commitment, dedication and consistency has earned him, among his contemporaries, the only artiste that is still visible on the big screen.

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No doubt, the Fuji lord, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall has made his way into the hearts of the people, especially artistes who dream to be like him. Very recently, he harvested the produce of his hard work as the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III installed him as the Mayegun of Yorubaland.

Meanwhile, the Fuji maestro, K1, 63 is aging and has more responsibility to shoulder following his installation as the Mayegun of Yorubaland which he specifically acknowledged during the installation ceremony. He promised to stand for the interest of the Yoruba nation and its unity.

Though, K1 is not tired, just like an old wine, he keeps getting better everyday, but the utmost joy and biggest hurdle is for the Fuji lord to see successors that would preserve his hard earned rebranded Fuji -Classical Fuji and, perhaps improve on it.

Interestingly, the number of Fuji artistes willing to succeed King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall is increasing by the day, however, three (3) major musicians are likely to take over the baton when the time is ripe. These K1 sing alike Fuji artistes are influenced by his music and have a strong affection for his style. They believed that their role model has created a good path for them to tread. These guys are the disciples spreading the gospel of Classical Fuji.

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The introduction of David Ojei, popularly known as David Ayinde and Ogidi Omo Arabambi into Fuji music over two decades had been interesting. He hails from Agbor in Delta state, while his mother is from Ibadan. He’s from a Christian background and grew up in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

David Ayinde who shared the same tune and voice with the Fuji lord, is also blessed with the delivery that can easily be taken for King Wasiu Ayinde himself. Though, the Ibadan based Fuji star never worked under K1 but he maintains a father to son relationship with the classical Fuji creator, whom he prides as a role model and mentor.

His adopted brand of Fuji music conceptualized by K1 is really opening doors for him as he enjoys patronage from his godfather’s fans and classical Fuji enthusiasts, especially in abroad. David Ayinde is loyal to the famous ‘Arabambi clan’.

Also, an Ijebu Ode born Kolade Onanuga is one of the wave making Fuji artistes who sings like King Wasiu Ayinde. Being a native of Ijebu Ode in Ogun state, the birthplace of the Fuji lord and his direct adoption as K2; Kolade has enjoyed influence and support from his mentor’s fans which has earned him different shows both in Nigeria and abroad.

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He’s enjoying a worthwhile relationship with the Fuji idol; K1.

Another fantastic and experienced Classical Fuji artiste is Alhaji Ramoni Akanni. Akani is from Oke Elerin, Ogbomoso in Oyo state. His fans addressed him as RK1.

Adopting King Wasiu Ayinde’s brand of Fuji music has been paying off for RK1. He has recorded many successes through his entertainment career. Singing like the Fuji lord has also assisted him to travel around the world for musical shows, events and gained solid connections. He pays regular homage to K1.

Alhaji Ramoni Akanni’s music delivery is highly matured and well organized.

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Reggae classic ‘One Love’ re-issued to help children upended by COVID crisis

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The iconic Bob Marley song One Love is to be re-released with the blessing of the musician’s family to support children whose lives have been upended by COVID-19, the UN said on Thursday.

The fundraising initiative comes as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that an additional 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes in the next six months.

Almost all of them live in developing countries, where the coronavirus pandemic has placed additional strain on already fragile health systems and basic services.

Call for unity, then and now

Issued in 1977 by Bob Marley and the Wailers, with a call for unity and to tackle the suffering of children, a new version of the much-loved reggae anthem will go on sale on Friday 17 July.

It features members of the Marley family, world-renowned musicians, artists from conflict zones and children from vulnerable communities.

“Over 40 years ago, my father wrote One Love about unity, peace and universal love during a time when there was much trouble in the world”, said Cedella Marley. “Even in a time when we aren’t able to ‘get together’, his message remains true today: we can get through this global crisis if we come together through one love and one heart.”

The project also has the support of jewellery brand Pandora, which has pledged to match every dollar raised to purchase One Love, up to the value of $1 million.

A bid for greater equality

All proceeds will support Reimagine, UNICEF’s global campaign to prevent the COVID-19 emergency from becoming a lasting crisis for children.

“One Love speaks directly to one key truth about this pandemic: our best hope to defeat COVID-19 and to reimagine a more equal, less discriminatory world for children is through global solidarity and co-operation”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We are delighted that the Marley family along with Pandora have lent their generous support, creativity and love to help the most vulnerable children.”

In addition to the immediate health impact of COVID-19 on children and their families, UNICEF has warned that youngsters have been affected indirectly too, through school closures, food shortages, limited access to basic healthcare and disruptions to medical supply chains.

TikTok chiming in

The agency intends to use the money raised from One Love to respond to immediate needs, which include soap, facemasks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment and lifesaving information for children and families.

Support for youngsters’ education, protection and healthcare systems will also be possible, UNICEF said in a statement, which noted that internet platform TikTok, will promote the song launch with a special event and public challenge for fans who want to get involved.

“We have a unique opportunity to chart a brighter future for the children and young people mostly likely to suffer its long-term consequences”, said Ms. Fore. “From ending violence, injustice and discrimination, to building fairer and more just societies, young people have made their message loud and clear. It is time for the rest of the world to hear it.”

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Marlians: An emerging clan of millennials

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No doubt, what occupied the minds of the youths nowadays is far more than development in Science and Technology but to grow in anti-social activities and violence. These days, listening to music is almost on everybody’s favourite list because it is somewhat a sort of remedy, a lift for the soul up, and a soothe the mind.

However, studies have revealed that music may potentially have the most negative effect on teens as a result of explicit lyrics, messages of these genres, accompanied by videos or graphics containing destructive themes. Presently, there is an emerging clan of Millennials in Nigeria popularly known as Marlians. The question from a sane mind is who are the Marlians?

Marlians are the fanatic followers and fans of a Nigerian singer and songwriter, Afeez Fashola professionally known as ‘Naira Marley’. Naira Marley is presently enjoying a huge fan base more than any other artist in Nigeria. Almost on a regular basis, he releases musical hits which evoke memories, images, emotions and feelings into the conscious minds of the millenials.

The youths are now influenced by his music and music videos. It was concluded that the majority of the youths, including teenagers, have a strong affection for his style of dressing, characteristics, speaking of Naira Marley. They have cultivated more habit of watching and listening to his music than any sensible musician in order to improve and master all his ways.

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Either consciously or unconsciously, many young boys and men, even girls (ladies) now, publicly identify and associate with the Marlians. This tribe – ‘Marlians’ are spreading not like wildfire but like the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, many prominent Pastors and Imams children, top politicians children and children of top civil servants, among others, are the followers of Naira Marley!

Investigations also unearthed that the Marlians, just like any other group, exhibit some predominant characteristics. The female Marlians don’t wear a bra, while the Male among them wear trouser to half of their buttocks and adhered strictly to ‘Zero belt’, that’s why they are called ‘No-belt gang.’

Naira Marley gave this rule in the lyrics of his song titled PUTA. He specifically mentioned that folks should believe in and follow the practices of “Zero belts, thousand trousers”.

Marlians consume drugs and alcohol excessively. Almost all his videos encouraged alcohol and India hemp, among other drugs. Naira Marley called himself ‘Igbolabi’ meaning he was born to smoke weed. Unfortunately, these young boys and girls, who pride him as their role model, also consume alcohol and drugs to express their loyalty to the Marlians group.

Since Naira Marley wears long dreads, most of his followers also keep dreads.

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The group labelled itself Zero Manners which was established in the lyrics of PUTA, where Naira Marley reiterated that ‘Marlians don’t have manners’. The interpretation of this is that they are meant to defy all manners taught initially and disobey constituted authorities.

Continuing, they have little regard or fear for anything or anyone as reechoed by their Idol, Naira Marley when ‘he forty’ as ‘O fo ti’; meaning that folks should not be afraid of anything whatsoever.

In a related development, the singer promotes get rich quick philosophy by glorifying internet fraud known as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’. Most of his songs encouraged internet fraud. He believed money made from fraud should be spent on alcohol, drugs, and sex.

Another important rule of Marlians is, “Marlians don’t graduate, they drop-out”. This rule sounds controversial because Naira Marley who said “Big Booty Is Better Than Having A Masters Degree”, graduated with a distinction in business from Peckham Academy and also went ahead to study Business Law at Crossways College.

It is no gainsaying to submit that the influence of Naira Marley through his music and lifestyle in the world among Nigerian youths have become rooted in his behavioural pattern of its audience. The concern now is that his music has affected youths in the way of dressing, speaking and behaviour. He is now the major determinant of their ways of life. He has successfully contributed to a fall’ in the moral standard of our society.

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Parents are advised to watch over their wards and children, and also understand the characteristics so that they can proactively learn to engage them in meaningful ventures.

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