At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The Gospel of St John 8:1-10 (the NIV Bible)
This post should have come way earlier, precisely as an instant reply to Nigerian former popular music act and now techpreneur Lanre “ELDee the Don” Dabiri’s rant about popular American entertainer Amber Rose’s Slutwalk, a show which she claims to be using to raise awareness about body shaming, rape and other issues about women and gender relations. However, I decided to calm down a bit so that I could get some perspective on the whole story. Thus the furious rant I intended to unleash against El Dee myself has ebbed away a bit, so I have decided to make the post a little bit more general. I will still throw some fire the Don’s way though, because he was the one who made me write it the first place.
My problem with Eldee is not exactly the fact that he is angry with Amber Rose or Slutwalk, to be fair I understand his need to rant as a man brought up in the strict, narrow, way of the lord and “father to two daughters.” To be honest myself, I know who Amber Rose is, but I didn’t even know she had something going called Slutwalk. Even if I had come across it before, I didn’t find it worth following until Eldee brought it up. This is where my problem with Eldee starts. The kind of tweets coming from him about the show, betrays the fact that he was either watching it live or following it live in some other manner, which begs the question of why for all his sanctimoniousness and his concern for his daughters, he should be watching that kind of TV show in the first place. What Eldee did reminds me of the story of Brother John who went to the pastor of his church and said “Sir, I saw your daughter in the club last night.” whereupon the pastor asked him “Brother John what were you doing in the club yourself if you saw my daughter there?”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem I have with former entertainers who claim to have left their past in the limelight of the entertainment industry behind and now live a reformed life. They all think because they have seen both worlds, they can come and spout opinions about how everything is black and white, in an area which is a grey area at best, to the rest of us, and they think we will not challenge them. Stay with me and I will explain what I mean
If I ever met the Don, I would like to ask him one question and the question goes thus: Is the late Afrobeat Legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti fit to be a role model? You might wish to think very well before you answer this, because Fela was a man who took non-conformity and made it an art form, He was a man who once reportedly married eight women in a single ceremony, who reportedly could not any decent amount of time without being high on some drug and who died of AIDS. I could go on but I think you get what I mean. Yet he was also a man who put Nigerian music on the world map and was a thorn in the flesh of Nigeria’s military leaders. Fela fought tyranny with his music, making him one of Nigeria’s greatest human rights activists. I mentioned Fela because every mainstream Nigerian music act including Eldee himself idolizes Fela. My own answer is this, I don’t like Fela’s personal life but I think he is a hero/ role model because of his good music and the non-conformity which formed the basis of his human rights activism.
That is why I am really angry about Mr. Dabiri’s mealy-mouthed condemnation of Amber Rose as a role model. Amber Rose might not have achieved fame in the way the rest of us would approve, but she is using that fame to raise some awareness about a critical issue in her own way. So again what makes Fela whom you approve, different from Amber Rose whom you don’t? So does good music excuse a “morally decadent” lifestyle or are you just sexist?
I was really happy when people called him out for his hypocrisy by recalling some of the things he also when he was “in the Nigerian music industry.” However what made me really enjoy the whole exchange was the fact that his supporters kept saying people should talk about the message and not the messenger. The question is: wasn’t he doing the same shooting the messenger and not the message thing about Amber Rose and Slutwalk without understanding what the thing is about? I took the time to look up the Slutwalk that was getting Mr. Dabiri’s knickers in a twist so much and I found this:
The Amber Rose SlutWalk Festival is a completely inclusive space. This event will have a zero tolerance policy on all hateful language, racism, sexism, ableism, fat-shaming, transphobia or any other kind of bigotry. Further, we recognize that shaming, oppression, assault and violence have disproportionately impacted marginalized groups, including women of color, transgender people and sex workers, and thus we are actively working to center these groups in this event.”
Frankly speaking, I can’t see anything wrong with this kind of initiative. Couldn’t Eldee simply have looked it up before he started mouthing off on twitter or is he just as willfully ignorant as he is sexist? I argued in this piece that entertainers are society’s side shows, what Eldee did and the resulting fire he came under, is what happens when they start thinking they should be society’s voices of reason.
I wouldn’t even have bothered myself about this issue or even taken Eldee’s side if Eldee himself didn’t then go ahead to mention Lupita Nyongo? Like seriously, Amber Rose is a “hoe” and Lupita Nyongo is a role model? E-sir is your logic related to Julius Agahowa? Because that is some serious somersaults it did right there. It is okay if you don’t like Amber Rose. Many of us don’t either. Just admit like the rest of us that you don’t like her and stop thinking you are a voice of reason because you suck at it.
Back to the quote I started this piece with, I like to think , that Jesus Christ, unlike Eldee, understood the fact that things are not always as they seem, and that we are humans and far from perfect. Mahatma Gandhi is a hero of India’s freedom but he also a sexual predator who destroyed the life of countless young women. Nelson Mandela was a hero of South Africa’s freedom, but during his active years he was the leader of a violent guerilla faction of the ANC and Martin Luther King Jr of the I have a dream fame cheated on his wife. Thus even if Amber Rose is a “hoe,” she is using her fame as a hoe to do something positive and raise awareness on a social problem the way she knows how to do so. So why won’t mere grumpy bots who think they are voices of reason just shut up and mind their own business. I guess it is really true what they say that “it is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” And to think such inanity can come from someone like Eldee, who hitherto had been doing a marvelous job of keeping his trap shut, is, frankly speaking, disappointing
Well before you ask me what right I have to write this, I know I am just a cynical, underpaid writer who at nearly thirty is yet to figure out what to do with his life. However, I also know what I know, I know what I don’t know, and I certainly know when a grumpy bot thinks he can use the fact that he is a celeb to use Eba to eat all of my soup right in my presence.