This night a good friend asked if I was going to watch Femi Kuti play in downtown Los Angeles. I told him I had no interest, more like F*CK Femi. You would think I just reached out and slapped my own mother, cause my friend took issue with I guess my choice of expression.
He was disappointed in me and many other Nigerians, Africans and African Americans like me who don’t “support” black artist. More so with me considering my history with Fela. He had experienced the same phenomenon @ Nneka, Asa, Hugh Masekela …shows with white people been the ones filling the shows and buying the albums even in the hip hop genre.
I asked him if these artist are upset about this development. He told me from asking these artist they are aware of this on the one hand but it did not affect their bottom line. There are 500 white people at the Femi Kuti concert who paid $30 a pop saying my not representing has no effect on Femi’s cash flow. For those counting that is $15,000 (2.4 million naira for those of you in Nigeria) this night for Femi Kuti.
Seems to me these artists are in a win win situation. In Nigeria the federal government allocates millions of dollars in endowment for Nollywood meanwhile doctors and nurses in Lagos state had to go on a strike, all got fired patients left dying all in a quest for better working conditions. Babies born in maternity wards in Nigeria you won’t breed livestock.
Who is holding your feet to the fire to make you watch the doctors in the emergency room in Lagos perform with limited tools in the aftermath of a crash on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway. Who is applauding that young brilliant doctor researching new medicine in UCH, Ibadan? No one seems to challenge your patriotism when it comes to that.
So I asked him maybe the problem is with the artists, maybe their audience is not feeling them, just because you are Asa, Nneka or Femi Kuti and playing Afro beats is it compulsory I represent? He said the problem is not with the artist but the audience. How can the artist be the problem? after all the music industry is not an industry driven by over inflated egos.
Just because you are Little Wayne or Rick Ross every black kid in the hood should dash them their bottom dollar so they can drive their Maybachs and Bentleys and make it rain while disrespecting themselves and black people?
I wonder on these questions, are black people not supposed to be the biggest consumers? an implied position that we are not smart consumers. Then the idea that white people are the ones supporting black music an implication that they are the smarter consumers.
They are able to understand this sophisticated music that we don’t cause they are white. Then it was not like my friend offered me a ticket to the show or asked if I had a meal today but he expected me to go pay Femi Kuti $30 just to show how African I am.
Am almost certain that Femi Kuti has no plans of rolling down skid row in downtown Los Angeles and buy a homeless person white or black a hot meal on a cold night like this neither would my friend who believes I owe Femi Kuti a patriotic duty.
Then you know I had to hit him with this one. There are many black artist out there that are been supported by the black community like Bilal I told him, what do you know he did not care for Bilal’s kind of music.
So in summary, we black people don’t support ourselves and just like those food stamps we need to stop depending on the white man right? Am sorry star, star gazing is not my choice of entertainment.