The ‘trial of Cynthia Morgan’ and the lesson worth learning

by Onakoya Toluwanimi

Ever been going about your day and you hear someone randomly ask, “What about Cynthia Morgan?” Be it your colleague at the office, your sibling at home, or some random dude on Beyonce’s internet? You’ve probably stopped to ask yourself that as well….“Where is Cynthia Morgan?”

On Saturday, as most sudden revelations do, the story surrounding Cynthia’s disappearance, situation and plight was trending on Twitter. The eye-opening accounts had us shuddering and cautioning ourselves when it comes to the world of business and contracts.

Cynthia Morgan, a Nigerian musician popularly known for her pop, hip-hop, dancehall and reggae-infused music shot into the limelight in 2013. Upon being signed by Northside Entertainment Inc. owned by Jude ‘Engees’ Okoye, she quickly gained popularity after releasing her two singles –  titled “Don’t Break My Heart” and “Lead Me On” but just when she was reaching the peak of her career – she disappeared and Nigerians have always wondered why. The questions were partly-answered on Saturday.

Cynthia Morgan made a re-appearance in a surprise Instagram live chat where she revealed that she had issues with her record label, owned by Jude Okoye– an elder brother to the legendary duo, Psquare. She stated that she lost all royalties, her stage name and access to her social media pages and Vevo account. She claimed she was planning to make a comeback and has adopted a new name – Madrina.

She said she made the mistake of not reading her contract before signing it and as a result of this, she’s become broke and destitute. A Go-Fund-Me account was set up to support her comeback and her growth. This revelation triggered a series of reactions from Nigerians. Many of them pledged support for the reggae singer, while pop star, Davido reached out on Twitter asking Cynthia to call him so they can create a song together. Some Nigerians went as far as castigating Jude Okoye for his “wickedness.”

Jude responded to this allegation in an Instalive chat with TundeEdnut and said he in no way hindered Cynthia Morgan. He claims he didn’t take her name and she had been completely freed from her contract.

Cynthia’s former manager, Joy Tongo, corroborated the story, adding that Cynthia and herself both sat down to draft the contract and her claim that she didn’t read it was false. She goes further to say Cynthia left her contract before it even ended, without any resistance from the label.

The internet is buzzing with polarising opinions on who is right, who is being honest and what actually happened. But whatever the truth is, one glaring thing is the fact that Nigerians don’t take contracts seriously. Whether it’s honouring it or taking time to look at it before signing it. Nigerians tend to have a complacent attitude when it comes to contracts in business.

Tech lawyer, Moe Odele popularly known as Mochievous on Twitter, shared this sentiment and emphasized the need to get lawyers to review contracts before venturing to sign it.

The entertainment industry is a shark-eat-shark world and it is not for the faint-hearted. With binding contracts, chokehold deals and dubious managers, it is important that entertainers proceed into the industry with open eyes; armed with legal help. International artists are not exempt from this kind of situations.

Due to a contract, she signed when she was 16, international superstar, Taylor Swift, has been in a constant struggle with her former label on the topic of owning the masters to her songs. American Artists such as Lil’ Kim, Megan thee Stallion and Jojo have also had similar predicaments in which they’ve unfortunately signed unfair contracts in their careers.

The most important take away from this situation is that legal matters are not to be toyed with. A lot of times, people in the industry are looking to exploit others, expand their profits and to line their pockets. Individuals should not take signing contracts lightly and should involve legal advice at all times. This, like it is commonly said is “to avoid stories that touch.”

A lot of Cynthia Morgan’s stans would be so glad to see her return regardless.

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