by Michael Ace
As much as it remains evident that this musical act is a beautiful product of Africa’s uniqueness and creativity, an unprejudiced mind will agree with me that Wizkid’s “Sounds From The Other Side” is another precise feat aimed at buying the whole world into his own pocket.
Someone would tell me that the Starboy Entertainment Worldwide boss is few steps away from a Grammy award. That’s obvious to one with a brilliant insight but what good would this do to the recognition of other African artists? To be realistic, breaking a record as the first pop African act to win the award isn’t a guarantee or an open door for others.
The discrimination isn’t about the pop songs produced from here; it’s not about our brand; it’s not about the production quality; it’s not about the melody, the voice, instrumentals or beats or even the inferiority in sounds- if that’s the case, then artists like 2face, Modenine, Sarkodie, Akon to mention but a few would have bagged the award countless times. It’s about the identity; the ‘black’ tag that lessens the possibility. It’s about the mentality that Africans are inferior and so is anything that comes from them. It’s about racism. Only a few Africans have won the award since its inception; and they are the likes of Wouter Kellerman, Tinariwen, Youssou N’Dour, Soweto Gospel Choir, Ali Farka Toure, Angelique Kidjo and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sade Adu and few others. Obviously, none from the pop circle have won.
With “Sounds From The Other Side,”, it’s quite certain that Wizkid is ready to give up anything just to attain that which he dreams, even forsaking his background and countrymen. Every ambitious musical act definitely knows how to lobby or pay for international collaborations but what about the personal integrity and African dignity at large?
How about Wizkid takes a more critical look at the phrase “you don’t need an international collaboration to be successful”. Davido is doing quite impressively and exceptionally; Olamide is a very creative, versatile, consistent and wonderful maker of indigenous rap music and street pop; Teknomiles is making waves and tapping very awesomely into the magic and so are other good and promising artistes too. We can’t but applaud the wonderful contribution of talented acts like Timi Dakolo, Waje, Simi and so many others in their different musical cliques.
I think it’s the best time artists stop selling themselves to the foreign media market. Their recognition doesn’t make you in any way better than you already are. Having the likes of Wale feature Olamide and Davido on a track is one proof that the fight for African music recognition and acceptance worldwide is a collective force and not a one man’s job.
They say if only the snakes will walk in convoy, the forest will be void of hunters.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Micheal Ace is a freelance writer, poet, and a music lover. He tweets @lordace32,