Where did all the socially conscious celebrities go?


During the election campaigns earlier this year, I was vehemently opposed to every celebrity that ran for office from Tony Tetulla to Desmond Elliot. I wanted all of them to crash and burn and I was elated when they started losing and gutted when Desmond Elliot won. Some of my friends called me a bad belle and maybe in some ways that was what I was but it was for a good reason. I still cannot be convinced that most of the celebrities that ran for office didn’t have money in their top two reasons for running, I’m aware that I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m not.

More importantly, my reason was because of the bare existence and sometimes absence of social consciousness in entertainment circles. I saw it as very insulting how people in public spaces had kept quiet and still continue to keep quiet through all the nonsense this country has gone through and is still going through. They have never written a good song about the various national ills, neither have they made or acted in movies with those kind of messages.

A lot of our entertainers and celebrities seem to keep quiet when the problem isn’t at their door step. There are just a few like Omotola, who take time regularly to share their views on what’s going on however right or wrong it may be. Very few of them start or contribute to national conversations when someone isn’t sending them a paycheck for it.

I remember the days when Idris Abudkarim went head to head with then President Obasanjo over his Jaga Jaga song, I remember growing up to Daddy Shoki’s unique voice shouting “fire! fire! In our Country! Country!“. I remember closing my eyes to soak in the thoughtful lyrics of TY Bello’s We Are The Future. I cannot forget Fela Anikulapo Kuti bashing bad government after bad government with his lyrics in gleeful manner till he died. I wasn’t alive then but listening to those songs in a day when musicians feel they need to do musical eye service by singing the praises of corrupt and controversial politicians in songs that are already lyrically bankrupt, in a way, I wish I was alive then. I cannot forget nor forgive the movie industry too. Even when they try to produce socially conscious movies they get a lot of headaches from the people in possession of the national cake. But isn’t that part of being social conscious?

Maybe I’m asking too much of this new generation of celebrities to do a good socially conscious song or movie. Let me just beg them or rather remind them that Twitter and Instagram are capable of doing a lot more than dissing fans and other celebrities. You can ask former President Jonathan if you don’t believe me.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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