Saturday, 16 August 2014

He ask Are We Entertainers Socially Irresponsible? - Etcetera writes

Another 'bombshell' article from singer turned writer
Etcetera. Read below...
I got a call on Wednesday morning from one of our
popular female artistes asking if she could be a guest on
my radio show to promote her new album that is meant
for release this month. I said, "Why not? It will be my
privilege to have you on my show." As we talked on, I
tried chipping in a little advice that it might not be a
good idea releasing an album in the middle of an ebola
crisis; suggesting that right now people might be too
worried and preoccupied with the ebola scare to care
about a new album. I told her she would stand the risk of
being branded insensitive for dropping her album at a
time the country is having a crisis of some sort. I went on
thinking I could convince her to postpone the album
release to a time when she can easily get people's
attention. But she wouldn't hear of it.
She said "Bros forget dat tin abeg, Naija no dey send tins
like dat. After all, Dorobucci was released on the day of the
second Nyanya bomb blast and just after three weeks of the
first blast? Why didn't they call it insensitive or
irresponsible?" She got me chewing on that for a minute as I
couldn't think of anything further to say than, 'Ok dear, you
are on for 7pm this Thursday.' Isn't it wonderful how the
peculiarities of this country knows no limit? Even in
entertainment, we are of a different cloth. It's a party with no
checks. How possible is it that Dorobucci's release on the
same day of a major disaster could go unnoticed even by the
legion of entertainment journalists in Naija? Little details as
the timing of a song release has never been an issue here as
much as it is in other climes. In the US for instance, a simple
thing as that can make or kill a song. But how lucky it is for
the musicians and music stakeholders in Nigeria that nobody
bothers with such. The social irresponsibility of the artist has
never been an issue. As a celeb you can slap a police officer
on your way to an interview, brag about it live on air and
get endorsed by a multinational brand that same day. We
are indeed a unique people. Maybe that explains the bulk of
unnecessary issues we face as a nation.
Let's move further into today's topic before they say Etcetera
has started again, with his exaggerations. I am already
having akpatoyi (goose pimples) with the thought that some
have already called for my excommunication from
entertainment's holy of holies for daring to defecate on the
alter of Naija entertainment's ecclesiastical sanctimonium .
Please forgive me Father for I have sinned against the
Cherubims and Seraphins. Inomine patri et fili et spiritus
sancti amen.
When I mentioned artist responsibility, I am not talking about
the responsibility of a musician when he receives money for
his studio upgrade, or the responsibility he owes the arts
when creating his music note by note or chord by chord. The
responsibility I am referring to here is the personal
responsibility that he owes to the society, his obligation to his
fellow human beings. Some have attributed the nonchalant
nature of the Nigerian artist to a deeper societal moral
decay that has developed into our entertainment tradition.
But it can also be traced to the separation of the artist as an
individual from the message of his art. Very little connection
is seen between the evaluation of the artist as a person and
the evaluation of his works and its messages. You don't have
to look very far for evidence of this separationist attitude in
the industry. You only just have to look at the artist whose
songs about humanity, equal rights and justice touched
millions, while he goes to concerts in his Bentley protected by
vicious bouncers flogging his fans away; or the ones who
preach against corruption but always disobey traffic
regulations. In some other countries, the aesthetic judgement
of an artist is intrinsically linked to how the artist lives. The
concept of an artist's craftsmanship that is not connected
strongly to other aspects of the artist's life is unacceptable.
As a matter of fact, the ideals of the religious songs that
formed the basics of our beliefs in these parts should be
integrated into the devotional life of the artist. Why has this
hypocrisy flourished in our society? It has become a standard
operating procedure for the social interface used by creative
artists today. And by accepting this status quo, we ensure its
survival. Now more than ever, it is extremely important that
people realise that they are personally responsible for their
actions. When an artist is able to isolate himself or herself
from the messages in their songs, they come chillingly close
to the "I'm just doing my job" mentality of a suicide bomber.
If you preach nudity and alcoholism in our music, how do you
correct an indecently dressed child? In fact, it is through the
role models that we hold forth for the rest of society that we
can work to change the society. I am certain you can list
some artists who are active in trying to shift our culture
towards more humane approaches to living. But my
emphasis here is not the rhetorical espoused in an artist's
song, but the way in which the artist leads his or her life; the
practice-what-you-preach idea. But in my opinion, the
practising is far more important than the preaching. As
creative artists, we are in the business of manufacturing
culture. We are helping to define cultural attitudes. Through
our works, and more importantly the way we work, we can
demonstrate to the rest of the society more desirable and
appropriate ways of being human. Why not use your fame
and visibility for the betterment of humanity? Some of you
might read into what I am saying as a call for some sort of
police to crack down on social violators within the
entertainment industry. But I am only just insinuating that the
methods some of us use to achieve our goals say a lot about
the goal itself. Of course I am not advocating for music
designed to show off some imaginary golden world that
artists live in because I believe that the traditional picture of
the artist as the quintessential bohemian existing outside of
society, marching to the beat of a different drummer, is
tempting, but also false. The very act of we artists placing
ourselves outside of society is a profound statement about
the society we live in.
I don't want you to take this as an attempt of handing down
a list of "Thou Shal Nots" or see it as trying to establish a
moral yardstick by which arts should be measured. I just
want to appeal to our inner sense of right and wrong. We
shouldn't model our arts in conformity with some set of
political and social preconceptions (unless that's what you
want to do). And as you go ahead and create whatever you
are inspired
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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