Monday, June 22, 2009

Two generations? no! The old critic versus the young saviour.

This is to all Nigerians, especially those abroad because you may not have heard/read this.
Reuben Abati is the chairman of the editorial board of Guardian Newspapers and Banky W is a singer. I really like the latter's video.

Back to my agenda of this post, which is going to be long but worth read. Let me even tell you that I omitted some enlongated explanations but I didn't cut out the details. Take your time to read these articles, which are controversial yet contain a sense of humor, intelligence and respect.

A Nation's Identity Crisis(click for full version)
By Reuben Abati

You may not have noticed it: Nigeria is suffering from an identity crisis imposed on it in part by an emergent generation of irreverent and creative young Nigerians who are revising old norms and patterns. And for me nothing demonstrates this more frontally than the gradual change of the name of the country. When Flora Shaw, Lord Lugard's consort came up with the name, Nigeria in 1914, she meant to define the new country by the strategic importance of the Niger River. And indeed, River Niger used to be as important to this country as the Nile was/is to Egypt. We grew up as school children imagining stories about how Lugard in one special romantic moment, asked his mistress to have the honour of naming a new country in Africa. Something like: "Hello, sweetheart, what name would you rather give the new country that I am creating?"

"Let me give it a thought? ....Awright, how about Ni-ge-ria darling?"

"That would do. That would do. How thoughtful, my fair lady? You are forever so dependable"

And the name stuck and it has become our history and identity. But these days, the name Nigeria is gradually being replaced by so many variants, that I am afraid a new set of Nigerians may in the immediate future not even know the correct spelling of the name of their country. For these Nigerians whose lives revolve mostly around the internet and the blogosphere, the name Nigeria has been thrown out of the window. Our dear country is now "naija" or "nija". What happened to the "-eria" that Ms Shaw must have thoughtfully included? The new referents for Nigeria are now creeping into writings, conversations, and internet discourse. I am beaten flat by the increasing re-writing of the country's name not only as naija or nija, but consider this: "9ja". Or this other name for Nigeria: "gidi". There is even a television programme that is titled "Nigerzie". In addiiton, Etisalat, a telecom company has since adopted a marketing platform that is titled: "0809ja." Such mainstreaming of these new labels is alarming.

This obviously is the age of abbreviations. The emerging young generation lacks the discipline or the patience to write complete sentences or think through a subject to its logical end. It is a generation in a hurry, it feels the constraints of space so much, it has to reduce everything to manageable, cryptic forms. This is what the e-mail and text message culture has done to the popular consciousness. Older generations of Nigerians brought up on a culture of correctness and compeleteness may never get used to the re-writing of Nigeria as "9ja". Language is mutatory, but referring to the motherland or the fatherland in slang terms may point to a certain meaninglessness or alienation. What's in a name? In Africa, names are utilitarian constructs not merely labels. Even among the Ijaw where people bear such unique names as University, Conference, Bicycle, Internet - there is a much deeper sense to the names. But the name Nigeria means nothing to many young Nigerians. They have no reason to respect the sanctity of the name. They don't know Flora Shaw or Lord Lugard, and even if they do, they are likely to say as Ogaga Ifowodo does in an unforgettable poem: "God Punish you, Lord Lugard." Eedris Abdulakarim summarises the concern of young Nigerians in one of his songs when he declared: "Nigeria jagajaga, everything scata, scata"

The post-modernist, deconstructive temper of emergent youth culture is even more manifest in the cynical stripping to the bones character of today's Nigerian hip-hop. It is marked by a Grunge character that shouts: non-meaning and alienation. On my way to Rutam House the other day, I listened at mid-day to a continuous stream of old musical numbers from 93.7 Radio FM. Soulful, meaningful tunes of Felix Lebarty, Chris Okotie (as he then was), Mandy Ojugbana, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, Bongos Ikwue, Veno Marioghae, Uche Ibeto, Dora Ifudu, Mike Okri, Dizzy K. Falola, and Tina Onwudiwe. Onyeka Onwenu sang; "One love, keep us together". Veno Marioghae sang: "Nigeria Go Survive". Even in the romantic offerings like Chris Okotie's "I need someone, give me your love", or Felix Lebarty's "Ifeoma, Ifeoma, I want to marry you, give me your love" and Stella Monye's "Oko mi ye, duro ti mi o", or Tina Onwudiwe's award-winning "Asiko lo laye". there was so much meaning and polish.

This was in the 80s. That generation which sang music under its real names, not abbreviations or slangs, was continuing, after the fashion of T.S. Eliot's description of "Tradition and the Individual Talent", a pattern of meaning that dates back to traditional African musicians and all the musicians that succeeded them: S. B. Bakare, Victor Olaiya, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Dan Maraya of Jos, Osita Osadebey, Ayinla Omowura, Victor Uwaifo, Tunji Oyelana, Bobby Benson, Tunde Nightingale, and even the later ones: Shina Peters, KWAM I (Arabambi 1 and please include his disciples- Wasiu Alabi Pasuma et al), Oliver de Coque (Importer and Exporter...), Ayefele, Atorise .... But there has been a terrible crisis in the construction of music. The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of these ancestors have changed the face and identity of Nigerian music. As a rule, gospel musicians, given the nature of their form, sing meaningful lyrics, but the airwaves these days have been taken over by the children of "gidi","naija", "nija", "nigerzie" and "9ja". I listen to them too, but everyday, I struggle to make meaning out of their lyrics.

Music is about sense, sound, shape and skills. But there is an on-going deficit in all other aspects except sound. So much sound is being produced in Nigeria, but there is very little sense, shape and skills. They call it hip-hop. They try to imitate Western hip pop stars. They even dress like them. The boys don't wear trousers on their waists: the new thing is called "sagging", somewhere below the waist it looks as if the trouser is about to fall off. The women are struggling to expose strategic flesh as Janet Jackson once did. The boys and the girls are cloaked in outlandish jewellery and their prime heroes are Ja-Rule, Lil'Wayne, Fat Joe, P. Diddy, 50 Cents, Birdman, Busta Rhymes, Cassidy, Chamillionaire, Soulja Boy, Young Joc, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Kevin Rudolph, T.I.P-king of the South, Ludacris, Plies-The real goon, Well, God Almighty, we are in your hands.

And so the most impactful musicians in Nigeria today, the ones who rule the party include the following: D'Banj, MI, Mode Nine, Sauce kid, Naeto C, Sasha, Ikechukwu, 9ice, Bouqui, Mo'cheddah, Teeto, P-square, Don-jazzy, Wande Coal, 2-face, Faze, Black Face, Dr. Sid, D'prince, K-Switch, Timaya, Dj-Zeez, Dj Neptune, Banky w., Big bamo, Art quake, Bigiano, Durella, Eldee, Kelly Hansome, Well, the Lord is God. These are Nigerian children who were given proper names by their parents. Ikechukwu bears his real name. But who are these other ones who have since abandoned their proper names? For example, 9ice's real name is Abolore Akande, (what a fine name!), Tu face (Innocent Idibia), Sauce Kid (Babalola Falemi), D'Banj (Dapo Oyebanjo), Banky w. (Bankole Willington), P-Square (Peter and Paul), MI (Jude Abaga), Timaya (Enetimi Alfred Odom), Sasha (Yetunde Alabi), Weird MC (Adesola Idowu). But why such strange names? They don't sing. They rap. Most of them don't play instruments, they use synthetic piano.

At public functions, they mime. They are not artists, they perform. They are not necessarily composers, they dance. The more terrible ones can't even sing a correct musical note. They talk. And they are all businessmen and women. They are more interested in commerce and self-advertisement, name recognition, brand extension and memory recall! They want a name that sells, not some culturally conditioned name that is tied down to culture and geography. But the strange thing is that they are so successful. Nollywood has projected Nigeria, the next big revelations are in hip hop.

Despite the identity crisis and the moral turpitude that we find in Nigeria's contemporary hip-hop, the truth is that it is a brand of music that sells. Nigeria's hip hop is bringing the country so much international recognition. All those strange names are household names across the African continent, so real is this that the phrase "collabo" is now part of the vocabulary of the new art. It speaks to an extension of frontiers. In Nigeria, it is now possible to hold a party without playing a single foreign musical track, the great grand children of Nigerian music are belting out purely danceable sounds which excites the young at heart. But the output belongs majorly to the age of meaningless and prurience. The lyrics says it all.

Rooftop MC sings for example: "Ori mi wu o, e lagi mo". This is a very popular song. But all it says is: "my head is swollen, please hit it with a log of wood." But let's go to Naeto C: "kini big deal, kini big deal, sebi sebi we're on fire", or D'Banj: " my sweet potato, I wanna make you wife, I wanna make you my wife o, see I no understand o, cause I dey see well well, but dey say love is blind, see I never thought I will find someone like you that will capture my heart and there will be nothing I can do....". Yes, we are in the age of sweet potato. And so Art quake sings: "E be like fire dey burn my body, e je ki n fera, oru lo n mu mi. Open your hand like say you wan fly away. Ju pa, ju se, ka jo ma sere, alanta, alanta."

Most of the music being produced now will not be listenable in another five years and this perhaps is the certain fate of commercial art that is driven by branding, show and cash. But we should be grateful all the same for the music, coming out of Nigeria also at this time in the soul, gospel, hip, hop genre: the music that is of Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, Lagbaja, Asa (there is fire on the mountain/and no one seems to be on the run/ there is fire on the mountain now..."), Ara, Sam Okposo, Dare, Sunny Neji, Infinity (now a broken up team), African China, Alariwo of Afrika.... We suffer nonetheless in music as in the national nomenclature, an identity crisis. A country's character is indexed into its arts and culture, eternal purveyors of tones and modes. Nigerian youths now sing of broken heads, raw sex, uselessness and raw, aspirational emotionalism. A sign of the times? Yes, I guess.

I find further justification in the national anthem, many versions of which now exist. I grew up in this same country knowing only one way of singing the national anthem: from "Nigeria we hail thee" to "Arise o Compatriots". The singing of the national anthem is supposed to be a solemn moment. Arms clasped by the side, a straight posture, and the mind strictly focussed on the ideals of patriotism and nationalism. Stillness. Nobody moves. And the national song is rendered in an unchanging format. But not so any longer. There are so many versions of the Nigerian national anthem these days. Same lyrics but different musical rhythms. I have heard the national anthem sung in juju, in fuji, in hip hop, in Ishan's igbagbolemini, in acapella mode, even reggae. I attended an ocassion once, the rendition of the national music was so enthralling, people started dancing. Even the photographers and cameramen danced with their cameras. For me that was the ultimate expression of the people's cynicism. The prevalent mood is as expressed by Dj-Zeez: "ori e 4 ka sibe, 4 ka sibe": an epigrammatic, onomatopoeic, market-driven diminution of language as vehicle and sign. What kind of people are we? A dancing nation? Dancing and writing away our frustrations and caring little about sense, in this country that is now known as "naija", "nija", "9ja", "nigerzie," "gidi"?


Banky W responded to this article:

My response to the recent Guardian Newspaper Article by Mr Reuben Abati(click here full version)

This is my response to the article entitled "A Nation's Identity Crisis" that recently ran in The Guardian Newspapers. It was written by Mr Reuben Abati. As Mr Abati has stated his opinion, I felt it neccessary to state mine. If anything I'm sure both pieces are at least food for thought.


Dear Sir,

In the immortal words attributed to P.T. Barnum, "I don't care what the newspapers say about me, at least spell my name right." My name IS Banky W, full name being Olubankole Wellington. Not Willington, as you stated in your article entitled "A Nation's Identity Crisis". I read the piece repeatedly, and found that misspelling my name wasn’t the only error. At it's worst, the article seemed like an attempt to discredit and slander an entire generation of artistes and consumers, and at best it came across as having some valid points but being grossly misinformed, prejudiced, and hypocritical; definitely not what we would expect of a highly regarded publication as The Guardian, or from a person in Mr Abati's position.

In the very least, the article warrants a well-informed response. I have little doubt in my mind that it will generate a slew of responses, positive and negative, and as one of the many subjects that was mentioned in the write-up, I feel compelled to voice my opinion (with all due respect) on some of the issues that were raised in your piece. What I'm going to attempt to do is to directly address issues that stood out and resonated most with me.

The writer asked "What's in a name?" and went on to honor a "...generation which sang music under its real names, not abbreviations or slangs"; this would have been a valid point if he had not himself mentioned Greats like King Sunny Ade (real name: Sunday Adeniyi), I.K. Dairo (Isaiah Kehinde Dairo), and Ebenezer Obey (Real name: Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Fabiyi- Wow!!!). We could also point out other legends like Ras Kimono and Majek Fashek as others who, for creative or other reasons, saw it fit to have stage names that happen to differ from what's on their passports. Shortening of full names and/or the crafting of stage names is not something new from our generation of artistes that "lack the discipline or the patience to write complete sentences" as you said; rather, it's the creative right of an artiste to go by whatever moniker he sees fit. And if we want to talk about the names of today, we can highlight a few: Eldee - actually L.D. which stands for Lanre Dabiri, similar to Isaiah Kehinde Dairo's transition to I.K. Dairo. Naeto C and Banky W are simply short forms of their full names. In my case, my father's nickname among his friends is actually Banky as well.

Furthermore, on the topic of Names and abbreviations let's set a few things straight. Nigerzie is actually spelt Nigezie and is not an abbreviation for Nigeria. It's a TV Show, much like Soundcity or Hip TV, except they choose to incorporate "representing Nigeria" in their name. It's like the "United Colors of Bennetton", or DKNY, both companies that choose to represent their locations or origins in their name. Also, for the record, Gidi doesn't mean Nigeria either. It's a term for Lagos... coined from "Las Gidi". And as far as the popular term "Naija" goes, who remembers Shina Peters singing "♫ Naija lo wa yi o o o, wa jo, afro juju lo gb'ode ♫" I hate to point out that our generation did not come up with that term... the "golden age" that you long for did.

As an editorial head of a National Newspaper, you owe it to your public to at least do proper and accurate research before printing an article. The risk in not doing so, is you might unknowingly mislead your readers, and you might actually come across as being ignorant or out of touch. A quick look at all the reference names of artistes and songs mentioned in the article goes to show that the author was sadly way off base in his accusations and examples. For instance, to make a point on how today’s Nigerian artistes lyrics are meaningless and prurient, he referenced the Rooftop MC's song "La Gi Mo". What he failed to realize or crosscheck, is that the said song is probably one of the most meaningful and important songs that have been released in the last few years on the Nigerian Music Scene.

I have to disagree with the author's views. We are not all one and the same, but we ARE artistes. We may sing, rap, dance, mime, perform, play instruments or whatever else; but we are artistes. And Composers. And musicians. We may not all play the piano or the guitar, but neither does Michael Jackson, arguably the world's greatest artiste/entertainer. That's why he teamed up with producer Quincy Jones to create some of the best music anyone had ever heard. We have our own producers that have shaped Nigerian sound...people like Cobhams Asuquo, Don Jazzy, I.D. Cabasa, Dr Frabz, Tee-Y mix, Eldee, Terry G etc. That list goes on. These music minds are no less credible than those of Mr Abati's time, like the great Laolu Akins.


Far be it from us to claim that we are perfect and flawless in our art... we know that we are still growing and have lots of areas to improve, but the truth of the matter is we have worked very hard to create the industry we have now, and some people choose to criticize and lambaste most of us, instead of helping and teaching us. That is unfair. Yes, some artistes sag their jeans... however, a glance at the pages of THISDAY style or the recently concluded awards shows will show you very clearly that others wear three-piece suits and traditional attires just as proudly, myself included. This music industry that you have very clearly disapproved of has partnered with and given rise to the fashion industry in Nigeria as well. Just ask Designers like Mai, Babs Familusi (Exclamations Couture), the Okunorens, Muyiwa Osindero and countless others. Everything from the t-shirts and jeans rappers wear, to the shoes and suits are made by young Nigerians, where in previous years people preferred to shop in London.

Our country has not yet given us steady electricity, adequate education, safety from armed robbers or standard healthcare, yet artistes have risen like the Roses that grow from Concrete... and these very artistes love and represent their country proudly on a global stage. This music industry has given hope, jobs and income to countless youth of today. We are Rappers, Singers, Producers, Sound Engineers, Managers, Promoters, Marketing Consultants, Record Label Owners and we will not apologize for making the best of our circumstances; and all this in spite of the fact that we have Marketers that exploit but refuse to pay for our Musical pieces, Royalties and Publishing income that hitherto has been non-existent, a Government that is just now very slowly starting to enforce anti-piracy laws, and Event Organizers that would rather pay 50 Cent One Million US Dollars than give D'banj or P-Square 5 Million Naira.

You were right on some counts. We ARE businessmen and women, and we ARE interested in extending name recognition and brand extension. You were also right in that we look up to people like Jay-Z, who took their music and created multimillion-dollar empires. Since when did ambition and desire to succeed against all odds count against a person’s moral character? Shouldn’t we be encouraged to pay more attention to the business side of “Show Business”? Shouldn’t we want this music industry to provide for our future and the futures of our children?

We know we have a moral responsibility when it comes to our Creative works. Some of us pay more attention to it than others, and there is lots of ground to cover up. But how about a little appreciation and help, instead of trying to tear us down and discredit us? Time will tell whose music will last and become evergreen, but it is not in anyone's place to judge; and for the record, can we just accept that fact that hip hop music is an artform that is probably here to stay... I mean for goodness sake the Grammy's has!! Instead of fighting the change, we should learn to embrace it. I thank God for people like the great Adewale Ayuba that have reached across to our generation to collaborate with, bridge the gap, and help us improve.

We want to learn but your generation has to teach. We want to read but the Government must provide libraries. We want to go to school but the lecturers keep going on strike. We want to travel but previous generations messed up so they won’t give out visas. Most of prefer having our own live bands but the income needed to support that is not forthcoming.

You speak of meaninglessness and prurience, identity crisis and moral turpitude. You praise Legends like Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti and you ridicule us. 9ice does not drink or smoke. eLDee is married to one wife. Olu Maintain does not drink. Naeto C is currently obtaining his Masters’ degree in England. The ironic thing is, we look up to and praise your generation too. You seem to forget that Baba Fela had 27 wives, smoked marijuana in public, was himself half naked at shows (as well as the women around him) and allegedly died of HIV. However we look past what some may consider shortcomings and respect and emulate the immense contributions he made to our history. We are in awe of him despite personal choices that some may or may not agree with. All we are asking for is to be appreciated and afforded similar tolerances.

You danced to Shina Peters. Let us dance to our music. And for the record: for every "Anoti" by MI, he has a "Crowd Mentality" or a "Talk about it". For a Naeto C's "Ki Ni Big Deal", he has a "The Devil is a Liar". Just because an artiste uses a particular song to promote his album for commercial reasons, doesn't mean they should be judged on that alone. Anyone that is familiar with the cost of promoting an album (videos, press, etc) would know that it you end up making hard decisions in terms of what you have to push and promote, for your best chance at success. I suggest that you buy whole albums and look at the body of work. Listen to the entire CD’s. I think you'll find that more often than not, Nigerian artistes are doing a pretty good job of representing this great Country of Nigeria. Naija Till We Die. Yes Boss.

Sincerely,
~ Banky W.

If you actually read this, congrats! If you didn't, you missed.
That's the story people, don't float.

37 comments:

miss.fab said...

You caught me, lol... Ok I confess, I haven't finished reading it yet. But I just came to say:

Even among the Ijaw where people bear such unique names as University, Conference, FEDECO, Manager, Heineken, Education, Polo, Boyloaf, Bread, College, Summit, Aeroplane, Bicycle, Internet...

Lmao! Lmao! Lmao!!!!

Alright now, back to finish the post!

Imoteda said...

You know what.. I have never been a fan of Banky W but.....

BRAAAAAAPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


As I was reading the first article I was composing a response in my mind but Banky Just ownedddd that guy.

Thank you for posting this.

I cannot believe the arrogance and ignorance of Mr. Abati.
This makes me feel good about "Naija" artists of today
God job

Plus- FIRST
BOO YEA!!!

Imoteda said...

nooooooo... who sent me to read the whole thing. mis.fab this one na war o.. delete your comment now now. I must to be first o.
:'( I read every worddddd

Rene said...

So I was about to skim through when i read you last line. I', officially in love with Banky W.
As I was reading Mr. Abati's own I already had my comments ready for him only for Banky W to steal it right from my mind.
For reals, I love the way he ended "Naija Till We Die. Yes Boss"
Abati clearly need to go an improve on his research methods before making an hypothesis or drawing a conclusion.
I berra stop now because if i continue I bet it would be longer that any of them's article...lol
I'm motivated to listen to 9ja music now....maybe it would calm me down. gidilounge.com here i come....lol

I'm totally stealing someone words now "Wherever is home is your Gidi"

*Dith* said...

to be honest i didnt read everything but Banky seems pissed. I read his response on his blog and it seems spot on to whatever it was.

I will have to really read everything to actually make a sensible comment, so i'll do just that later.

BSNC said...

I actually took my time to read the whole thing, even though sleep dey catch me.

I love Banky's response, he gave it to him clean and clear. the guardian guy should go and do a proper research before he writes anything. Thanks for sharing, i completley enjoyed reading it.

Tay-mee said...

OMG..as I was reading Reuben Abati's article, all the points I wanted to make, Banky W just laid them out nicely. I was already thinking about how your comment box would be spammed by me..lol

Mr Abati, in my opinion should really go and find better things to do(I say this with as much respect as possible if thats even possible). His Country is battling lack of electricity, corruption ati be be lo, and he's here criticizing one of the many things that is keeping a lot of these young men and women off the streets. So what if these terms like "Naija" have been coined, that is not evidence of a nation with an identity crisis, its called abbreviations. I mean the United States have "US", just as United Kingdom have "UK", should we then come to the conclusion that these Countries are going through an "identity crisis". Every generation has different ways of expressing themselves, some of which were nicely pointed out by Banky W( WELLINGTON, I mean "Willington"..really..wow). So yea, cutting a long rant short he should probably research his topic better next time, and not completely lash out, but rather put together constructive criticism which would be received a lot better.

leggy said...

'i dont care what the newpapers write about me but they should atleast spell my name right!!!'...lmao.i love banky till i die...naija for life.
i mean seriously...upon all the rubbish fela did...stupid man..hu is this abati sef...if'identity crisis' is the only thing wrong wt naija then we'd have been the best country on earth!!
i mean seriously....the man is just useless....how can psquare say peter and paul for hwich land biko?stupid man...with all the respect i can muster!!
the music industry that is the best in africa and the songs my white friends here wnt let me rest about.mscheeww..
banky w is an engineer oh
psquare and faze are graduates oh..d'banj went to school oh...i mean do i need to continue.
im jst so angry now.mscheww.
i love hw he ended with yes boss..a line from kini big deal.lol.

UnderCover07 said...

...Read this earlier on. Its just sad that in a country where there are more pressing issues to be tackled, Mr. Abanti decided to focus on the one sector that is making progress.

People really need to reconsider their priorities and do due diligence before making accusations and claims like he did.

Am glad that Banky took the time to respond and actually make things clear.

9ja for life...all day everyday!

PS: Does anyone have the link to Banky's blog...biko if u do post it on my blog. Thanks in advance!

Oluwabukola said...

Great stuff.

Thanks for putting this out there. I did not even read this in the papers.

I think Mr. Abati should be careful. Maybe he needs a holiday. He's slipping....might be due to his romance with the "establishment".

mike said...

I read Abati's article, got the message and threw away the unwanted. He raised some important points no doubt and flawed in some research. The truth be told Abati is asking for artistes that will live lasting legacies, songs that will leave a message in our history, and songs you can listen to in generations to come. Realistically speaking, do we have these classic songs and even if they exist are they much? Has Banky composed any classical song? We can make sense in ameaningless world!

Anyways, both articles were not 100% wrong or right. I believe, however, that artiste should bear in mind that money making alone should not be the focus of making music but inspiring a generation! Ask Tupac?

Ronke Daramola said...

I have always looked forward to reading Mr Abati's article. I agree with the earlier writer who said he was slipping because his piece are usually well researched.

Sir Scribbles II said...

Officially this is the longest post i've ever read on blogsville
This is like a rap battle wivout the beats and rhymes, I totally disagree wiv that guardian dude and in my opinion th eguy is just scraed and annoyed that he's not keeping up wiv the times and his 14yr old son is singing Alanta instead of Zombie.
Banky W laid it on real nice...maybe Banky shud consider taking over that guardian dudes position

Anonymous said...

Banky W, from now on, am gonna buy all your 'silly' naija songs...yes brosss!!
oga abati....na wetin na?...i just disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Oh Banky...wish U could read this...I really respect you.....I doff my hat for you this day....what a response and one from a Nigerian youth whom my dear Mr. Abati has written of as "meaninglessness and prurience, identity crisis and moral turpitude"...whateva that means (I guess my abbreviations would also get a bashing from Mr. Abati cos I am very impatient to coin long sentences).
You've said it all Banky...all I can add is.....What an intelligent and well deserved response!

Lady X said...

Thank you!
It's good that someone replied to that man. I'm tired of all these old people saying our new songs are bad and all that. Don't get me wrong I really like old songs and listen to them too but ahn ahn! You guys had your own kinda songs and we have our own too so let us be!

BBB said...

Banky owned the guy and got my respect..
naija,nija 9ja, nigeria(yes we can spell) for life

seun said...

I've read Mr Abati for more than 20years and this is a first. i'm really sad for him more than anything. Could he be slipping as some have suggested? His article struggled to make some relevant points but all of it was lost in his judgmental nitpicking. How could Flora Shaw have thoughtfully named Nigeria anyway?Thoughtfully?Was the colonial master's imperialist, exploitative interest in their colonies ever thoughtful for anyone but the themselves?I do not subscribe to anyone rubbishing Nigeria because it is the only nation we have but one can put up a successful argument without glorifying a case of colonial convenience.
Banky W, i'm sure you know the song "bata re a dun ko ko ka" your response is an inspiration to youngsters to pursue their talents but also get an education! How you for take respond now? kudos!i'm buying your cds jo! Naija for life!Yes boss!

Anonymous said...

For the records sir(Mr.Abati),i respect you so much but on this issue, you got it all twisted,like D'banj will say "don't get it twisted" you've said it all Banky ....kini big deal,you guys are on fire....e fi won sile e je ko ma so looooooo.....

seun said...

I've read Mr Abati for over twenty years and this is a first. Really i'm sad for him more than anything else.Could he be slipping as some have suggested? His article struggled to raise some relevant issues but it was all lost in his hypercritical, judgmental, nitpicking. How could Flora Shaw have "thoughtfully" named Nigeria for instance?"Thoughtfully"? thought in whose favour? Was the colonial master's imperialist exploitative interest ever thoughtful for anyone but his interests? i do not subscribe to anyone rubbishing Nigeria because it is the only nation we have but one can put up a successful argument without glorifying a case of colonial convenience.As for the artistes making meaning;constructive criticism is the way to go.

i'm sure Banky W knows the song "bata re a dun ko ko ka...". His response is an inspiration to youngsters to pursue their talents and get an education while at it.How im for take respond na? kudos Banky! i'm buying your cds jo! Naija for life!Yes boss!

Miss Natural said...

I read both, well I have to say Banky W wrote very calmly nd his ideas flowed more as opposed to reuben abati. I actually admire reuben abati a whole lot. and yes his critics at this point are right in that he treated the nigerian music industry unfairly.

chayoma said...

Was i in for a treat!
Finally someone put up this controversy i have hearing about! thanks dear!

1. Damn, Banky's writing just flows effortlessly.
2. Abati should come out of his shell and see the light. In this day and age, were Nigerians are frowned upon due to the 419 scammers, the rise of the Music industry is paving a new approach for the world to see past the scams!
i believe the Music industry is gaining new heights and i am in support of their achievements. Since it kicked into high gear, we have had international acclaimed musicians grace our great country, even collaborated with us.
CNN now has more to offer the world, other than the usual sufferings it paints for the world to see.
As human we do have the freedom of expression, speech, the whole works, but as a person in an influential position, i do believe that Abati should have viewed both parties. there is a thing called RESEARCH! and the best in their buzness incorporate that. we all have different points of view in this matter and he should have found a way to incorporate as much of the views as he could.
And we have no identity crisis. we are reviving our identity as Nigerians. Both Nigerians home and abroad are proud of our great nation and the progress it is making in its music and fashion industry (as that seems to be the major signs of growth + fashola's works of course! that man is a genius. topic for another day)
We are incorporating the old with the new.... and i believe we have done a great job so far!
i am proud to say that i am Nigerian...
we are putting ourselves on the map for the right reasons this time around. Not for our natural resources or dubious ways, but our CREATIVITY!
and i think we should celebrate this fact!
i rest my case.
*phew*

Yan Tan said...

hey hunn just stopping by showing your blog some love...very interesting we love it... : )


**yantan**


come stop by sometime.. ;-p

RocNaija said...

OK.. This is long.. I'll d/l on the phone and be back to comment fully..

CultureCynic said...

Banky W won this....nothing like a better and articulate comback!!!! well played Banky well played....thnx for posting both, read the article before, glad there is an 'other' side to this...and am glad the official response was sooooo well executed and written....

2phat said...

it is sad that people like mr abati will like the yorubas say concentrate on treating rashes rather than leprosy. i think that what ever failure our generation has made is a reflection of the one before us, if mr abati will cast is mind back to the sixties he would realise that is generation were busy dancing to rock and roll and listening to all kind of forien music they are not more afroeccentric that my generation. so mr abati dont hate the player hate the game.

afrocouture said...

I dey vex seriously for subjecting me to this long sermon on the mount. Like they say, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. the guardian writer needed to go repackage his words before publishing the story. he was all over the place. Peter and Paul with P square--aint nothing wrong with that, its easier for their fans to recognize that name. They were going with their full names but it was a mouthfull.

as for Banky W---is it not obvious he chose his first name and an abbreviation of his last name.


mschewwwww....naija

naijagirl said...

if not that I love Banky W, I would have wondered why he even deemed it fit to dignify the write up with a response. He is a public figure and things would be written about him.

The editor must not have had something interesting or worthwhile to write about which is why he decided to write about this, unfortunately, he did not do the write up any justice

miss.fab said...

I listen to them too, but everyday, I struggle to make meaning out of their lyrics... That is because you are a freaking old man, you retard. Are you kidding me??? Like, seriously. This is the problem with people of older generations. They refuse to embrace change and the evolution of music and art and culture and instead prefer to sit down and judge the choices and preferences and talents of the younger generations. You don't know SHIT about any of the music you listen to if you're going to write a freaking commentary about abbreviations. Like seriously??? Using endearing terms like 9ja and Gidi mean that our generation is losing touch with its roots??? If you seriously believe that, you are even sadder than I thought.

Let's not even talk about the fact that it is stupid, ignorant, and a downright disrespect to the art of literature that you apparently make a living out of to pick out INDIVIDUAL lines from entire songs in order to prove a point. Are you serious??? Did you ever take an English class? Because I was taught in my English class that you cannot take something out of context to prove a point. Banky was right in saying that for every "Anoti" by MI, he has a "Crowd Mentality" or a "Talk about it"... For a Naeto C's "Ki Ni Big Deal", he has a "The Devil is a Liar". You can't single out individual artistes and lines from entire songs to make a point. Those lines do not represent the entire industry, our generation, or even the songs they were taken from!!!

I'm going to stop here because Banky pretty much OWNED you in his response and completely threw your argument out. And even just thinking about this makes me angry as hell and I just had a nice day so let's not ruin that.

</end rant>
Sorry for the rant guys. Crap like this is a serious pet peeve of mine.

And Imoteda, I'm sorry!!! :| I give up my first position, lol

NaijaPrincess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NaijaPrincess said...

chei! dat was long sha but i finished it now where is Banky? i wan give dat boi one proper hug like dat....While reading the first article, i was actually feeling a lil guilty cuz i say Naija everyday and i enjoy all this artists he mentioned then i read Banky's response and dat is one correct Naija boi....Mr. Reuben did have some good points and i do agree with him to an extent. i dont like it wen i see one fine naija boi like dat loking all smooth n he turns around n his boxer is out for all to see.

Banky well done jare my brotha, you Rep'd us real good, even with all the embarrassment i ave endured cuz i'm from Naija not a day goes by that i don't Rep hard for my country.


And who put Naija on d the map? i respect Sunny Ade n all d other greats but se no be 2face, psquare, D'banj n others who went global n put us for map n let all this people know say we get mouth too.

Yan Tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

They both have valid points. Lets face it, some songs shouldn't be out there...
I will not take side in this matter but I'd also advise that some of y'all (either 'for' or 'against') make your words soft...cause you might have to eat it back someday.

W

RocNaija said...

So I did as promised and I read this.. Word for word..
Banky just smacked it out the park..
Only problem is Mr Abati had an unfair advantage because what he wrote would have been read by a wider populace. I can imagine my dad nodding in agreement.
In fairness, Guardian should post a rejoinder to the initial article.. Highlighting the points Banky made..
But it won't happen will it?

Dark Neo said...

Ahhh!!! See this old man oh!!
As if there were not useless old songs just for dancing. Didn't Shina Peters sing sweet banana! Abi they think we have 4gotten?, yes I spelled that with a 4. They are all just mad because they can't keep up.

Imoteda said...

Actually the Guardian printed Banky W's response.

Or so I'm told. HAven't actually seen the paper being in canada and all.

Bombchell said...

lol i read it all backwards.

first ur comment that we're missing if we dont read.

then the blog comments. then i read banky's comment which was very impressive, and I started reading the original and decided it 6.41am and it seems flawed this is a great day to get pissed, so i left it.