by Onyeka Nwelue
“Successful people are the ones who think up things for the rest of the world to keep busy at.” – Don Marquis
If Don Marquis is right, then Don Jazzy is a very successful person. He has gradually built this mystery around himself, slowly creating a cult following that is threatening. He is not just keeping people busy; he is also paying them and making them happy. For once, we can share his joy with him, unlike footballers, who kick the leathers in the field, we hail them and they don’t respond the right way.
But does that look like Don Jazzy is making an impact? His impact is infectious, because unlike other music icons in Nigeria, silence surrounds his personality. He says little and does more. He’s a good man, I must say that.
But that is where it all ends. Truth is that, the recent competition he instituted, asking people to YouTube their videos, making some dance-steps to the tune of D’banj’s Oliver Twist, was practically useless. Yes, it has kept a lot of people busy: fat housemaids dancing, skinny houseboys in shorts dancing and dangling their penises to us and people making imbecilic movements in the name of dance, monkeying around. Oh yes, he will pay them too, if he likes what they are doing, so everyone has gone out there to make a video. YouTube is not smiling again. All over the internet, Oliver Twist has been regenerated and it is stunning how money can change the way we think. But what happened to our mindscapes?
I have been reasoning like others. Just like a friend joked recently that any young Nigerian boy who is above 19 and is not a rapper right now, is dead. That was a joke, but there is some element of exaggerated truth in it. Now that thousands of people are finishing their exams from their universities and calling themselves graduates, it is difficult for them to compete in a market that is already saturated with serious minds. So, Don Jazzy, the Almighty Lord of Beats has started beating the drums of destruction for those who are lazy enough not to find their paths to self-satisfaction. However you may want to see it as a cultural revolution, what we see in the music industry today is actually a curse of the bone, total neglect of the industrial sector and egalitarian easy path to fame and absolute popularity.
Don Jazzy is not to blame. He has persevered to build an empire that can control the conscience of his people. He has been able to find credibility. He didn’t do this in a hurry. It was hardwork, patience and persistence that paid off at the long last, so playing on the mentality of any single Nigerian that is weak and in a hurry, is very easy. From every angle, one should know that a lot of people already feel they could walk in his shoes just in two days. For a man who wants to make people happy, he should stop building false beliefs, talk to the media and tell of his struggles and experiences, recast his mistakes to the young people who would want to know his roots and practically make some things out of his past, without building on perceptions of realities and total illusions.
Now that everyone has become a musician and dancer, can’t the Reality TV Shows be turned into training institutes, academies and colleges of music/dance to train these so-called graduates of Engineering/Medicine/Computer Science/Social Sciences who can’t confidently defend whatever thing they’ve spent 4-7 years studying in the universities? Because it is only true reality that they will find their true voices and dreams.
Onyeka Nwelue is the editor of FilmAfrique.com