by Simon Utsu
Yesterday I did a write-up on facebook as a rejoinder to comments recently attributed to Tiwa Savage, where she claimed to be the biggest and most popular female musician in Africa at the moment on a radio show in the US.
My post drew quite a handful of reactions, most notably that of those who argued in favour of Tiwa Savage.
Ordinarily, I would have ignored Tiwa Savage but because she made those comments on the legendary HOT 97FM in New York, I decided to set the record straight. If she had said on UNILAG FM or Star FM Lagos or Wazobia FM, I could have passed but HOT FM? No!
Those of us who grew up listening to hiphop in the 1990’s and 2,000’s know how influential and relevant Hot 97 FM was and still is to black Music. Back when Angi Martinez was still an OAP even before she got married to one of the members of Dru Hill(Nochio I think), we’ve been following Hot 97.
This same hot 97 was responsible for giving JayZ his big break in the music industry via their annual summer jam. JayZ was big but became much bigger after he convinced Michael Jackson to appear on stage with him circa 2000 during one of such summer jams.
The same Hot 97 which played host to the greatest ‘beefs’ in hiphop history viz JayZ vs Nas, Game vs 50 cents etc. In fact, I’m not sure if there’s any radio station in the world that has a bigger black audience than Hot 97, reason why I had to counter the gross misrepresentation of facts and(OR) joke taken too far by Tiwa Savage.
And like I said yesterday, she’s not even the biggest or most popular female musician in Lagos. If I should ask, can Tiwa Savage travel outside of Lagos to another state in Nigeria without her Mavin crew and keep a crowd spellbound like Yemi Alade for more than an hour? The answer like most of us know, is NO.
Can she travel to an African country like DR-Congo and evoke the same kind of crowd reaction that legendary soukous singer, M’bilia Bel evokes? NO of course! Ok, can she go to France and make a crowd scream for more like the great Angelique Kidjo or even our own Asa are capable of doing? Another big NO!
Hence, Tiwa should stop mistaking “most promoted” or “most packaged” for “most popular”. That she was the only female musician from Africa invited to perform at the recently concluded “one African music fest” in the United States doesn’t in any way make her bigger or even more popular than any of the aforementioned.
In fact, truth is, by saying she’s the biggest or most popular female musician out of Africa, she’s simply trying to swindle her American and world audience-who most likely don’t know her, just the same way the Esama of Benin(who is one of the several high chiefs that attend to the Oba), Chief Gabriel Igbinedion deceived the press in London several years ago, when he lied to them that he was the Oba of Benin. What a sacrilege!
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