Notes on Class Appropriation: Is there a Falz Paradox?

15:19:00


An article called The Falz Paradox by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo was shared extensively by the Nigerians I follow on twitter yesterday. Falz is a Nigerian musician who won the Viewers' Choice Best International Act at the BET Awards last week. While his music is popular, he's perhaps just as famous for his hilarious use of Pidgin English and what some would call a local Nigerian accent in his instagram sketches and some of his songs. 

The article was supposed to be a review of Falz' first album, Stories that Touch, but it strayed. Littered with sentences like, "Falz has it both ways, whipping out his 'abroad status' when it serves, turning local when it helps (which is maybe how he received a curious Best Street Hop nomination at the 2015 Headies)", it seemed to suggest that Falz is guilty of class appropriation. 

It asked the following question:

"Since in the Nigerian imagination the local accent is lower-class, could Falz' act be one of class appropriation?"

Being Nigerian is a tonic. It means that I come from somewhere. Whatever anyone may think of me, I have a home, and I have a people. For better or worse, I claim all aspects of it: the good, the bad and the ugly. Every Nigerian has this right. There is a world that only we Nigerians can understand. There is a language that is our birthright. In as much as it is mine, I claim no ownership of it. I dare not say to another Nigerian, this part is mine and that part yours. It is here that I think Oris Aigbokhaevbolo's critique of Falz fails.

We are all fortune's fools. The qualities that we believe to be the birthright of the "lower class Nigerian" become ours the moment our bank accounts bleed a sufficient amount of zeros. Although privilege is assigned by birth, it requires more than breathing to keep it or even earn it. After all what good is an expensive education if your continued unemployment strips you of every perk of wealth you've ever known? And what good is a sophisticated accent if your neighbours cannot understand your foreign tempered words? 

When that happens, we have a fail safe, pidjin English. There is no Nigerian who doesn't understand it. It is not the defining characteristic of the poor or the average. It is a language more unifying than Ibo, Yoruba, or Hausa.

Just as potholes are present from Okokomaiko to Ikoyi's million dollar streets, and frequent power outages are no great respecter of address or pocket, Falz' music is a jack of all classes and a master of none. The same can be said of all musicians who have ever been described as good. Does Fela's music not ring out from BMW's and Danfo's alike? 

Falz' song, Soldier, has done more for me than D'banj's Pop Champagne ever could. I have never popped a bottle and not starved for it. It is far easier to listen to a brilliant song about a woman dealing with the advances of a man she does not want than it is for me to listen to a song that glorifies a lifestyle I cannot presently afford. 

All products of creativity have one thing in common; more often than not, they live and die by their quality. When I listen to Falz' Karashika, his privilege is moot. He could be a rabid dog and I wouldn't give a damn. The only thing I care about in that moment is the song's quality, and I think the same is true of most people. 

To infer that a Yoruba accent and a glorious mastery of pidgin are things that would constitute class appropriation is to call soaking garri class appropriation. It is stupid to a spectacular degree. 

Other Notes:

When you write a critique please be wary of the use of absolutes. I'll refer you to the article.

"For Falz, the sole disadvantage of his class shape-shifting is that for such a gifted rapper, he'll never be an MI or an Olamide (two rather good Nigerian musicians). Falz will never command a class... He'll never be rated as highly as those two."

If you do not know the future as clearly as I know that 1+1 is 2, do not pretend to. If you have indeed looked into a crystal ball and seen that Falz will never be as great as M.I or Olamide are, please bring that crystal ball to me so that I can inform it that there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. 

One More Note:

Music is entirely subjective. No matter how much you may believe that you are the sole articulator of the thoughts of the masses, it only gives people like me cause to believe that you're a profound snorter of lizard shit. 

Final Note:

I do not think that it is in fact possible to appropriate a class. When you can wake up rich and go to bed dirt poor I do not see how it is worthwhile to talk about class appropriation. If Falz became destitute tomorrow (a distinct possibility) would it still be class appropriation? 

Happy Days,
Afam




What you go through when the one that got away gets married

10:37:00
It can be devastating to discover that you - the king pin in training - through the divine machinations of life, has missed out on the one. You always hoped, or prayed that when all was said and done, you'd end up together. You put a loose calendar on it. You thought, "Fine! We couldn't work out when we were 13 or 14 or 15 or 16 but one day, when I've got all my ducks in a row, I'll return like the prodigal lover that I am and win them over.

You watched their life from the distance. Tracked their relationships and their friends, all in preparation for your grand return. All the people in between were jokes. They'd be blown out of the water the moment you appeared outside her window, with a juke box of the first mix-tape, or CD you cut in their honour.

But, because people very rarely put their lives on suspension for your sake, it is likely that they won't be the one you end up with. You'll be like me, standing with a video camera and head phones in your ears at comic con, while "the one" walks down the aisle.

This is how you will feel.


Shock!

I have no words for this. 



Confusion

"What just happened? I don't understand. I can't! I just can't!


Denial!

"Oh my God! This isn't happening! This can't be happening. It's a joke the universe is playing on me."




Panic!

Must stop wedding. Must stop wedding! 


Your holiness, Objection!


I have a knife. 


Anger!


If you'd thought it'd be that easy to steal my bae, think again.  


Depression


I'm going to be single forever. There's no one else for me out there. 



More Depression

Life, why did you have to be so cruel?


Anger Again


Damn you all! But damn me most of all!

Grudging selflessness

I wish the both of you the best. 


Acceptance


It's time to resume the daily struggle that is singledom. 



So fear not fellow Troam-by-Afam reader, you're not alone. After you've been through this once, there's really no need to go through it again. If there is a one that's got away from you still enjoying the single life, you should consider making some moves.

Happy Days,
Afam



The Dangers of Wearing Suspenders/Braces: A Picture Story

22:17:00
I realise that this blog isn't really built for fashion blogging and all the things that come with it. I also realise that I am not your ideal fashion blogger for reasons that I shall list below.
  • I'm far too short and unhandsome to be anything that closely resembles a model. 
  • I've got into this bad habit of pin rolling my trousers. 
  • I have the posture of a 90 year old slave. 
Even with all of these constraints, I find that I must take pictures of myself in the unlikeliest of positions while I tell myself the following. 
  • Raise chin! No! Lower chin by the slightest degree. 
  • Chest out. Tummy in. Clench buttocks. 
  • Be sure to talk all the way through it. You are completely incapable of striking a half decent pose. 
All of this is in preparation for a watch that I'm somewhat contractually bound to blog about. If you're good enough to send me a product because of theramblingsofamadman-afam.com then I'll do you the good honour of telling everyone what I think of it. . And so we begin. This is a moment in the life of an International Journalism Masters Student at City University London.

I was walking around the journalism department in a Uniqlo white thermal tee, Hawes and Curtis suspenders/braces, American Apparel trousers, and my ever reliable and foot destroying Russel and Bromley tasseled loafers. They've given me blisters at my ankles and corns on my toes, but there's nothing I won't do for the extra inch that their hard sole provides.

I walk around like so when my brain gets hot, and my eyes start to sting from looking at a computer screen. 
That was when one of my course mates asked if she could have a little fun at my expense and yank my suspenders. They didn't know what they were in for. I was wound as tightly as a cork and looking for an excuse to act my shoe size. 

 "So you mean to tell me that you want to snap my suspenders?"

"What do you hope to accomplish?"

The tirade was locked and loaded with rhetorical questions. Any Nigerian worth his crude will tell you that there's nothing like a rhetorical question. They're the conversational bombs you need to explode any argument and they don't have to make any sense at all.

"Are you the spawn of a devilish fly and a baboonish gorilla?"

The victim of your tirade will be at a loss for words. His or her mouth will flap like a runner at the end of his tether. Then you'll take advantage of the silence to land a few more critical blows.

"I can't believe it. What kind of a bombastic element are you?"

"Do you mean to ruin my nipples?"

"Don't you know that my nipples are among black Jesus' most treasured possessions?"

 After all of that, I turned to my audience to voice my confusion.

"Why did she come and find my trouble today, is she a rat?"
They were stunned. It is one thing to observe a verbal beating, but it is another to be asked to join a lynching.

"Afam! Don't you think you're taking it too far?" They asked.

I was ready for them.
"So you mean to tell me that you were just going to let her violate my body?"

"You people are the reason why that internship has not landed on my lap."

"Do you see how you have all become the enemies of my progress?"

After my explosion I turned my back to them and went to the window to hold back my laughter. Sometimes, to be productive we must do the most irrational things, like dance on empty streets, and watch motivational videos on youtube that tell us how every day lived only serves as the launching pad for future successes.

For all my rambling, I didn't really mind the idea of it. I only thought that it would set a bad precedent. If my suspenders are yanked everytime I wear them then I would be very uncomfortable indeed; ninety nine and three-quarters per cent guaranteed.

I looked to my audience and said, "Can you see what you have caused? Be sure to apologise to my nipples personally."

With that, I agreed to one pull.


She obliged.

And we all lived stroppily ever after.

The End

Podcasts: 90s Baby Radio Show - Episode 2

13:28:00
This episode of the 90s Baby Radio show hosted by Tosan and Juanita features Tyson Noir, a young Nigerian musician who is perhaps most popular for his song Mercy.

He is an interesting subject. The music video of Mercy is so distinctly generic that I feared that I would fall asleep while I watched it. It is the sort of song that they play before the party; low impact and easily forgotten. It isn't bad by a long shot, but it may suffer for it's lack of badness. If it were truly awful, I may have given it a second look. In spite of all of this, I firmly believe that his best is yet to come. On his youtube page, he performs a rather good cover of Michael Jackson's Human Nature. It shows that he is not in fact talentless. In Mercy, he fell victim to the wicked ways of pop. Pop music will make a mascot of you before it makes you a star.

He was more successful in his first EP, Dreaming in Colour. His single off that EP, Don't Cry (Ma Sun Kun Mo O) featured talking drums in its rather catchy beat. That is one of the many reasons why it's a good idea to commit three minutes and three seconds of your life to listening to it.



All of that aside, he gives a good interview. Here's the second episode of the 90s Baby Road Show.

Have a listen and tell me what you think: @Afam20.

Or better yet, tell them what you think: @tosanwilts and@elmo_knows



Happy Days,
Afam

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 5: The Door

20:01:00
One of the best things about the Game of Thrones is how large its world is. There is no way its plot cannot move, and there is no story that it cannot accommodate. This week showed us how little we know about the future of Westeros and all the other lands that exist in George R. Martin's fictional world.

If you are spoiler averse, this is where you should leave.


This episode begins with Sansa. She enjoys a less than pleasant reunion with Littlefinger. He's one of the more mobile characters in the Game of Thrones, teleporting from North to South with very little difficulty. Sansa's evolution from doormat to assertive woman has been one of the joys of the season. She suffered at the hands of the Lannisters with all the qualities of a lamb being led to the slaughter and then she endured the sexual proclivities of Ramsay Bolton. She says, "I can still feel it. I do not mean in my tender heart. It still pains me so I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now." It is clear that she no longer trusts anyone with her future. When Littlefinger reveals his intentions to protect her, she says, "You can't protect me. You won't even be able to protect yourself if I ask Brienne to cut you down."

With those words she showed a determination to take control of her fate. She's gained a measure of power and it is unlikely that she'll release it soon. To be powerless in the Game of Thrones is to ready yourself for death.

There's a battle in Winterfell's future. At the minute it looks like it will be the Starks and the Tullys versus the Boltons. Once the armies are in motion it is not clear which families will side with whom. Loyalty is not a quality that is common in the Game of Thrones.

After her scene stealing turn last week you may have expected more time with Daenerys, but we didn't get it in this episode. All she did was order Ser Jorah Mormont to find a cure for his greyscale. He's one of the people I think the series could do without.

The meat of the episode was a surprise.The Game of Thrones delved into the far too complicated matter of time travel. At first Bran was merely an observer in the past, now he knows that he's something of a catalyst. He knows that his words and actions in his present could have some sort of impact on the events that we now consider to be part of the canon. If the present and the past that leads to it, are likely to be changed or corrected, then there really hasn't been any point to the series.

God knows that I didn't watch five seasons of The Game of Thrones to be told it was all a dream.


Happy Days,
Afam

Trending on Afam's mind this week: Welcome to the twitter four digit follower club

20:25:00
You learn the best lessons from the unlikeliest places. My partner, Mariam and I were sat through a lecture about punk music, hoping to get a story about how the spirit of punk is still with us, even though the music is not. One of the speakers said something that amounted to this:

To be successful, you need talent, ambition, luck, work ethic, and business taken care of. Of all of these, talent is the least important. Ambition and a good work ethic are obvious things to discuss when people talk about success, but people often disregard the importance of luck. You see, luck is more than just about divine providence. It is mostly about being personable. People who cannot relate well with others will more often than not find that they are unlucky. Luck is not something that is imposed on you. Luck, like most things in life, is almost entirely dependent on you. You either make it, or you break it.

People also underestimate the value of having business taken care of by someone other than themselves. Success is rarely ever brought about by the efforts of one person. It takes a team. It needs support to be achieved.

While you're thinking about all of that, here's my week in review.

The Blog:

This week I published 9 articles, and I wrote 8 of them. I know that I can do better than this, so I'll work towards that. I know that my time is limited, so it's all about making better use of the time that I do have. If there was a big announcement it would be that I've joined the four digit twitter club. Yes, I now have 1000 twitter followers, and it feels nice. Followers, subscribers, and users are a sort of currency when you do what I do.

In other news, I've set up two new tabs, the film tab, and the podcast tab. There'll be more in the future.

There's also a new website in the pipeline, and by pipeline I mean that I am thinking about actually paying someone to design something that's more attractive than what it is now. If you'd like to do this for free, then please send me a shout out. I'll become your best friend overnight. 

The best thing on the blog this week
Judging the work on the blog isn't the easiest thing to do because I can't possibly be objective about it. If I had to choose it would be the article about Azealia Banks, and I think the vast majority of you would agree. It is the thing that you read the most. 

What was hilarious
There's an article on a blog called Ugotalksalot.com that straight up killed me. It's called the conspiracy theorists guide to understanding Lagos heat. I didn't expect to laugh as hard or as loudly as I did. And I can't say exactly what it was about it that made me cackle like a witch on drugs. I won't spoil it. You should do yourself a favour and read it. If you don't laugh, email me, and I'll write you an apology.

The Book

I started reading Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John. It's one of those stories that transports you. You stop judging the writing and you start breathing the words. In this book he creates a world that is compelling. Like most good worlds in fiction, it is funny, it is sad, and you never know what detail's going to creep up on the next page. I read it on the tube, and in bed. I'm only half way through, but I've been reading it for long enough to know that it is good.

The Music
This week belongs to Rihanna. She performed spectacularly at the Billboard music awards. There isn't much more to say about it. I didn't know that she had that performance in her, at least not live.

The Films
I saw Xmen Apocalypse. It was a troublesome watch. It is two hours of content that I do not believe that I needed. After it I was left feeling that I had seen all I needed to see. Watching Neighbours 2: Sorority rising the following day was its tonic. The former was so heavy handed that it was depressing, and the latter was so light that my feet didn't touch the ground as I walked to the train station, and the train didn't touch the tracks as it transported me North. I live in a part of London that I find intolerable.

The blog that isn't mine that I read and liked
That honour, if it is an honour, goes to abikeayeye.com. She's funny in a matter of fact way that the best Nigerians are. She has a dream, that one day, Nigerian toilets will no longer need to have a bucket and bowl in case of incase-ity. That's a tweet that she wrote and her blog offers more of the same. If you're ever in need of a quiet chuckle then abikeayeye.com is the place for you.

Happy Days,
Afam

When the money gets in the way of you and your Tidal

13:09:00

Like 1.2 million of you, I joined Tidal a month ago so that I could listen to Beyonce's Lemonade as it was intended. I watched the hour long video, and then I played her album in its entirety repeatedly. It's been a month but there has not been a day when I didn't listen to Sorry and flip the finger.

For those of you who do not know what Tidal is I will tell you. Tidal's a music streaming service owned by Jay-Z's company, Project Panther. 

After I'd listened to Lemonade, I did not leave. I thought that I would leave before the 30 day free trial was over but now I'm not so sure. I depend on music far too much. Before Tidal, I relied on Soundcloud and Youtube, and before that I had my hard drives. Three laptops and several crashes later my once formidable collection has been reduced to nearly nothing. Tidal with its impressive sound quality, larger than expected database and curated playlists was like oxygen for my music deprived soul.

I cannot tell you why it is better than its competitors. It has been years since I thought to use spotify, and I am still a virgin when it comes to Apple Music. But Tidal has captured my heart. While it proves sufficient I will not seek another.

There is one niggling problem though, and that is the £9.99 subscription fee that's due on Monday. I do not believe in paying for things when there is a cheaper alternative. Apple Music now offers a student rate that costs half as much as Tidal does, and I won't even have to pay that immediately because the first 90 days are free.

It isn't good to let money get in the way of a blossoming relationship so I reached out to Tidal to ask for a discount. There is no shame in living within your means. If you can't keep your pennies close, then you have no hope of holding on to your pounds.

It is with a heavy heart that I bid the good people at Tidal goodnight and goodluck. It is unlikely that the @Afam20 twitter account will grace your service this year. But don't worry, I have 8 twitter accounts that you'll become aware of in time. To fail to take advantage of a good deal is to say no to life. I don't plan on saying no anytime soon. @Don_Quixote21 will be enjoying you next.

Happy Days,
Afam

Apocalypse: A Nigerian cinema story (SPOILERS)

09:01:00

By Rachel Jafojo 
A couple of my cousins, brother and I decided to see X-Men: apocalypse on opening night in Lagos.  Any Lagos cinema goer would tell you that Marvel movies are big business here and trying to get tickets on opening night at the Palms would be an exercise in futility seeing as we all work and are not that die hard.  We settled on the 11.15pm showing at the Film House cinema in Surulere. I am a die-hard Film House person because the bants are quite frankly unparalleled.

We were fortunate to sit next to probably one of the biggest fans of the franchise.  He was absolutely enraptured and proceeded to give is a blow by blow of every single plot twist, character development or possible future dialogue that was relevant.

 He reminded us that Erik lost his parents in Auschwitz, that the monster in the box had to be Wolverine with loud gasps of ‘OSHE, GET IT!!!!!’ 


He was by no means alone in his excitement.  We all know the cast of X-men very well and know what other franchises they have been in.  We all also have probably watched every previous movie. Why else would we risk our cars being stolen in Surulere by watching a movie that late? I digress.

There was a LOT of clapping when anything major blew up or occurred (so like the entire movie).  A crowd favorite had to be when Erik’s secret son took the biggest punch of the movie as well as single handedly rescued everyone from Dr. Xavier’s school.  The crowd LOST THEIR SHIT screaming!!!!

My personal highlights throughout the night include…. ‘ERIK DON’T YOU KNOW HE’S YOUR SON!!!!’ 
 

And ‘GO SANSA!! GO YOU PHOENIX!!’ by a lady in the back
 
And when Stan Lee showed as he is wont to and someone said ‘Baba we missed you!!!!’

And not to mention in the end when Mystique was rallying the newly re-formed x-men someone yelled ‘DON’T YOU KNOW THIS IS NOT THE HUNGER GAMES, RELAX!’ 
 

I cried with laughter.  I couldn’t even be annoyed at the interruptions. They were bloody imaginative!

We didn’t wait for the end credits… cos it was 2am and it was Surulere.  I’m entirely game to watch it at another site though.




Podcasts: 90s Baby Radio Show

18:08:00


I'm thrilled to present the 90s Baby Radio Show, a fairly new weekly podcast series that I have nearly nothing to do with.

Ardent readers of the blog will remember Tosan Mac-Wilshire. When I met him I wrote the following:

" I was quite frankly astounded at the ferocity with which he transported his ample body up and down the arena. He was a sight to see. His moves brought tears to my eyes. I thought, "With moves like those who needs game? Here is a lad who will do well in the wild!" That was until that "your waist" song came on. He moved his waist rather abominably."

The DRB Lasgidi Adventure

 The show's hosted by Tosan and Juanita. It's a podcast that appears focus on the new school of African creatives. Subscribers get the privilege of listening to rather good interviews with the best of the Millennial Nigerian creative people. There's also something a little nostalgic about it. The 90s aren't coming back, but it's nice that there's a team committed to giving us weekly reminders about why the 90s were so great.

Like most podcasts that I like there is an ease to it that is refreshing. It may seem like your standard radio show, but it isn't. I too was deceived by the seemingly common format that it follows, until they asked one chap called Duks Arts the last time he had sex. My jaw dropped and my brain froze.

It was at that moment that I knew I had to become an avid supporter. If I support them hard enough, then they'll interview Tee Billz and ask random but well timed questions about his all too public meltdown. I can't trust anybody else with the task.

Brief side bar...
Tosan and Juanita, if you ever get Mr Tee of the Billz variety on your show please ask him the following questions

  • Who is edible catering?
  • What pills are you taking?
  • How often do you see your therapist?
  • What mental illness do you have?
My questions may seem incredibly bothersome, but they're necessary. We need to have more discussions about Mental Health in Nigeria, and there's no one better than the most public example of mental health issues to lead us in them. After Tiwa told the world how he practiced a certain type of disappearing magic on her money, it is unlikely that he'll find it easy to manage another musician. I believe that his next career move should be to become the face of mental health in Nigeria. 
 
In their first episode, they interview Boj.

For those of you who don't know who Boj is I'll tell you. Not very many years ago, there was a boy band called DRB. Boj is the Beyonce of DRB. I blogged about a song that they did here: What a Jam! - Selecta

Have a listen and tell me what you think: @Afam20.

Or better yet, tell them what you think: @tosanwilts and @elmo_knows

Subscribe on Soundcloud now because if you're only just reading this, it might be too late. Do that stitch in time. Save nine.

Happy Days,
Afam

Why J.K Rowling is wrong about Trump

19:49:00
In Lemonade Beyonce asks, "what are you going to say at my funeral now that you have killed me?" In the album her question is directed at her lover, but in life it extends so much further. It is what I ask when I consider that I may be killed for the colour of my skin, or my African beginnings. My words may seem paranoid, but they're not. When you're a minority, this is your reality.

At the PEN America literary gala, J.K Rowling said, "I find almost everything that Mr. Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine." 

His freedom of expression may guarantee hers but it does not guarantee mine. If I were in America, I am fairly sure that I'd be one of the people that made the effort to protest. I would go to a rally with a placard, and yell things that I know to be true. He wouldn't pat me on the back and tell me that I was merely exercising my right to run my mouth. 

He would say, "get him out. Try not to hurt him.  If you do, I'll defend you in court. Don't worry about it." That's what he said at a rally in Michigan as a protester was escorted out of the venue. 

If I tried to storm the stage, I would be beaten till bloody and given medical treatment outside while anti-muslim rhetoric and swear words sailed above my head. 

Donald would then later say, "that's what we need a little bit more of."  

And if I planned to throw a tomato, he would say, "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously."

These are not hypothetical situations that I've dreamed up to make him look bad. These are words that he has said. Some people may say that he was merely speaking, but that's a lie. He was asking people to harm me because I dared to disagree with him. His freedom of speech does not guarantee mine, it places me in acute danger. His words become the fists that punch and the legs that kick.

There is a difference between speaking freely and inciting hatred. It is my belief that Mr. Trump does the latter. If he were to come to the United Kingdom and say that Muslims should not be allowed here, some idiot would take his words as a call to action and strive to forcibly delete everyone that he believed to be Muslim.

When J.K Rowling defends his freedom of speech, she doesn't see that while his words do not count as a threat to her but they do threaten the safety of other people. And this is why she is wrong.

Happy Days,
Afam

TROAM welcomes Burna Boy to the Baby Fatha Club

10:55:00
I can't think of anything that's wrong with having a Baby Mama. If I could afford a baby, I'd probably have ten so that I could be called the father of many nations like one 2face Idibia. It shows a complete dedication to furthering the cause of humanity, religion or legitimacy be damned.

And it's in the true spirit of one of God's first commands. He said, "Be fruitful and multiply." And you have. So welcome to the league of extraordinary fornicators and happy accident causers. As far as I'm concerned, having a child is always a good thing.

You won't be the first, and you won't be the last. There are many that have come before you and they seem to be doing fairly well.

There's Flavour, who burst on to my radar with the song, Nwa Baby. At the time I didn't know that he was so commited to the horizontal Sawale that not even the physical perfection of two beauty queens would make an honest man out of him. And we'll never be able to say that his 2 chil'ens come from the shallow end of the gene pool. #FlavourIsTheWinner

If you're young and looking for a Baby Fatha role model, there's Wizkid. He performed the One Dance with one Sola Ogudu, and that led to the birth of a bouncing baby boy. They called him Boluwatife, and there's never been a more appropriate name than that. It means God's will be done, and it was done spectacularly.

If you aren't there treating all the women in the world like they're your baby growing farm, I've got the perfect example for you. After dancing the Shakitibobo for a good number of years with his long time girlfriend Aisat Suleiman, Olamide decided that it was time to make a baby. When he did, he called it Maximiliano, and the world said thanks a million Maximilian.

Then we've got Obafemi Martins and I must tell you, he's as talented as shooting goals as he is at scoring sons. Three women, three sons, he's really every African father's dream.

Concluding this infinitely short list is Davido. He Skelewu'd Sophia Momodu 21 months ago and now he's got Imadu. She turned one last week, and he looks to be as happy with her as he is with his career.

Burna Boy, there really isn't anything wrong with being an unmarried father. Sometimes, one poke is enough for success. It was the same with your music was it not? You made Like to Party, and the party of your life began. If you're unsure that the new embryo is yours the paternity test is for you. With the way you seem to be going there'll be another one soon enough. So welcome to the Baby Fatha team in advance.

Happy Days,
Afam


Why Queen of Katwe is so Important

09:50:00

When you hear of the film, Queen of Katwe, you think of Lupita Nyong'o. You think of what she wears, and how she carries herself and the lilt that she has to her voice. She sounds musical and exotic in the way that only those who are products of more than one country can be. You almost forget that an extraordinary woman lies at the films heart. A woman that is perhaps even more extraordinary than Lupita. Her name is Phiona Mutesi.

A short documentary about her begins like this.

"My father died of AIDS when I was 3 years old. My mother could no longer afford to pay my school fees. It was very hard to not be in school. I was in the slums alone. I did not have hope, then I discovered chess. My name is Phiona Mutesi. I am the junior chess champion of Africa."

It is a story that has the makings of a legend; that a girl with nothing in the slums of Katwe could make so much out of so little. Even better is that it's an inspirational film that is made for us by us, given reach by the sheer scope of Disney. It stars Lupita as Phiona's mother, Madina Nalwanga as Phiona, David Oyelowo (Selma), and Ntare Mwine (Heroes).

You may not understand what this means so I will explain.

Life wasn't hard growing up. We were more comfortable than many Nigerians or Africans could dream. It was its own form of magic. I did not know then that I had the best of both worlds. The heart of Nigeria with the comforts of the west. You could tell me about London and I'd smile and say that I had been there. You could tell me of snow, and I'd tell you that I had touched it. But I could also tell you of empty fields and tadpoles. I could sing songs of cholera and hustle. The only part of my childhood that I can fault is that nothing was made for me. I was an outsider.

When I watched Cinderella or Angels in the Outfield, I was somehow aware that I was not there, and that those stories were not for me. When I read Enid Blyton, I was a Gollywog, and when I read C.S Lewis, I was not Peter or Edmund or Lucy. I was not a faun or any other fantastical creature that we met in the Chronicles of Narnia. I simply wasn't there. There was no place for being young black and African.

I was however on CNN. I had AIDS in South Africa, I was starving in Somalia, I had Ebola in Congo, and I lived in a slum in Nairobi. My culture was corruption and death, and I looked up to General Sanni Abacha, one of Nigeria's more famous dictators by default.

You may ask about the things we made for us; of Nollywood. But all I remember is Nollywood was even more terrifying than Carrie or Scream. The fear of being turned into a goat, or sacrificed to a spirit for money ran deeper for me than the fear of a serial killer. Nigerian films were watched with one eye shut, for fear that some evil spirit would reach through the television and seize me. And between the polish of the West and the distinctly home video quality of Nollywood there was no competition.

I didn't articulate this until I saw Dope by Richard Famuyiwa. It was a coming of age story with mostly black characters. I was stunned. I wasn't completely in that one either, but it spoke to me more than Sixteen Candles, Mean Girls or The Girl Next Door could ever dream. In that I wasn't a token or a product of Affirmative Action. I was the protagonist.

Now, Disney has made Queen of Katwe. It is one of the rare black stories that isn't destroyed in production, at least not where the cast is concerned. It won't be like Captain America where they insist that Lagos is pronounced Lah-gos and not Leigos. The name of my city obliterated at the hands of Marvel. Now, I've got to be aware that people may not know where I'm from unless I pronounce it like them. The thought that I should ever call Lagos, Lah-gos leaves an odd taste in my mouth.

In Queen of Katwe, there'll be no Blackface or Blacker-face. There'll be no shelving. It will be there front and centre at the Cinema, and when it leaves there'll be DVDs. It is heartening that my younger cousins and my future nephews won't have to rely on Snow White or Mary Poppins for their entertainment needs.

The film will be released on the 23rd of September this year.

Happy Days,
Afam




Submarine and A Roach Episode 3: Open Day

12:55:00
Our friends, TMT and Kojo have delivered the third episode of their podcast, Submarine and A Roach. This episode is called Open Day and it's mostly about their school boy experiences in Nigeria. When you read that it sounds like a decent conversation but it isn't; not by a mile. My Monday morning brain was completely incapable of coping with it. At one point I squealed. This is intolerable. No adult should ever squeal before Gin O'Clock (5pm if you don't work in a slaver's Bay).

The Love Machine and the Boat had a casual beginning. TMT was called away to wash dishes. It is how he pays his parents for the privilege of running the household.

Shortly after that we learned that TMT's boss is a proud but recovered Sex Addict Pastor. As we all know this is a pastor that was a Sex Addict until he was saved by Jesus.

Then a quote from Kojo cracked the air like a clap of thunder. "The Nigerian education system turns you into a crackhead." It resonated with me. At 15 I was practically snorting paper, and injecting my veins with ink. I had all the maturity of a 7 year old but the academic education of a 17 year old. It is a thing that only a Nigerian can understand.

All of this happened in the first five minutes.

Because of the truly outrageous nature of the show, I have decided that I can no longer listen in as I have in the past, with a cup of coffee in the morning. I will now listen to them on Tuesday Nights, with a bottle of Chardonnay and a bag of sweet and salty popcorn.

Open Day is their best episode yet.



Happy Days,
Afam.

Shout out to Geri! Please don't let her work too hard.

Also do feel free to give me a shout out. I work hard for the money.

This post has been edited fairly extensively. 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4: The Book of Stranger - A review

05:09:00
There was a better than good response to my last post about the Game of Thrones, so here's another. One of the things that bloggers must learn is that you are a slave your audience. They tell you what they want, not in words or emails but in views. If you want something, and I am capable of giving it to you, then I will. You wanted more about the Game of Thrones? Here it is as quickly as I could deliver.

If you would rather binge on Game of Thrones spoiler free, this is your cue. In a poll that I carried out on twitter I learned that most of you don't actually mind spoilers, so I have no regrets about revealing everything about the latest game of thrones episode: Book of Stranger.

The episode is named The Book of Stranger. If you follow the series closely you'll learn that The Stranger is one of the seven gods in the faith of the Seven, the predominant religion in Westeros. It's one of the more bombastic episodes in the series. I would say that it's even better than the red wedding. Having read the books, I saw the red wedding coming from years away. In this one I was blind. I hung on to every bit of the dialogue, and loved almost every scene. It was so good that I almost missed Arya and Bran, who did not appear.

So what were the big moments?

First off we've got the Stark re-union. Jon Snow and Sansa saw each other again. It was the first time that they'd been in the same room since season one and it was glorious. Sansa was rightly ashamed of the way she'd treated him because of his bastard beginnings and Jon was gracious. It was amusing to watch him realise how much she'd changed. The Sansa we've got now is a far cry from the Knight loving romantic that we first met. She's been tempered by the Song of Ice and Fire, and she's come out the better for it. They plan to march on Winterfell, save Rickon, and kill the Bolton infection that has taken root there. All in a day's work if you ask me. Mr Bolton could do with a stabbing or a flaying.


 Over the Vale Littlefinger appeared. He's still the boss there, and he's driving an army to Winterfell to help the Stark's resolve their homeless situation. "It's time to join the fray" he said. He's right about that. We've only waited five seasons for the privilege.

Osha got the X this week. It was a good ending as far as endings on the show go. She could have been flayed, crushed or battered to the afterlife, but she got a knife to the neck instead. She went down fighting too, but her feminine wiles and her knife reaching ways weren't enough to defeat Ramsay Bolton. After he killed her, he took out the knife and went back to slicing what I assume was an apple. It was a little bit of a disgusting moment. I cannot imagine that anyone could care for blood flavoured apple slices. They should have had a cameo from Hannibal to really drive the point home.

Daenary's got the last scene this week. She proved once again that fire cannot burn a dragon. There was a wicked glint in her eyes as she roasted her Dothraki Khal captors. She walked out of the fire naked and unscathed to all the Dothraki in attendance bowing in submission. It was a powerful scene. This commentator is definitely excited for next week's offering.


Happy Days,
Afam




Why an Azealia Banks Boycott is Necessary

20:55:00

There are moments of my life in Lagos that I will never forget. I smashed cars, broke houses, and slept on couches. There were shoulders in my mouth, calabash hats, palm wine raves and morning runs along Lagos' littered beaches with the dogs: Captain Reginald and Sabrina.

On one of our more memorable runs, Captain Reginald and I thundered in tandem to the tunes of Azealia Banks. I loved her then.

I was 24 and vigilant with my anger. My resolution that year was to be offended, her music and her twitter account channeled my frustrations almost perfectly. Her pettiness encouraged mine.

As 25 rolled around, and the sun on my angers set, so did my love for her. She'd made the mistake that all truly successful pop artists know not to. She'd stayed exactly as she was when we first met her on 212. Delivering three to four minutes of unfiltered attitude and vulgarity at every musical opportunity. Soon not even 212, the song that made me care was in my monthly rotation. She was like the friend that peaked in high school ten years later: uninteresting and fantastically dull.

When she made her return to the popular news cycle, it wasn't for her new song, the big big beat which is really quite brilliant. It was for her twitter account. She remarked that the ex-one directioner Zayn was a curry scented bitch and called him a Punjab. Skai Jackson, the 14 year old Disney star, asked her to simmer down after she insulted Zayn. Azealia Banks responded by calling Skai a little black bitch, predicting that she would end up depressed and addicted to drugs, telling Skai's mum to fellate a Disney executive, and advising that she get a boob job and a butt lift.

It is a shame that her heart is as ugly as she is talented. She seems to have made a habit of attacking people without rhyme or reason. And while that is bad, it is not the worst of her offences. I do not understand how someone can claim to stand for black rights and then racially attack anyone of any colour. She's made a mockery of genuine racial struggles spewing hate speech by the day, and she remains grotesquely unapologetic. At this point I cannot listen to her music without fearing that I am enabling her foolishness. After Beyonce released Lemonade, Azealia commented that it was the antithesis of black feminism. If that is true, it is a wonder that she cannot look in the mirror and see that she is the antithesis of humanity.

Since her last outburst, she's been suspended from twitter and dropped from the line up of Rinse FM's born and bred festival. The sanctions are well deserved. Idiots should not be given agency to spew their idiocy.

If you think that I'm being unfair, I'll leave you with a selection of her greatest hits.

Sarah Palin
Azealia tweeted that Palin should be gang raped and that the video should be shared on the internet.

Lily Allen
"Weak... she can't talk though... Not with that ugly husband she has."

The stone roses
"I wish you nothing but excrement and death."

Rita Ora
"Rihanna's understudy."

Diplo
You're a real fucking snake. You owe M.I.A everything you have.

Tiny aka T.I's wife
You have meth face.

Baueer
You're a pussy. You don't belong in Hip Hop.

Disclosure
I want to punch one of them in the face – the little one. The ugly one.

Kreayshawn
You’re a dumb bitch. And you can’t rap. I’ll sit on your face. … Fall back slut.

Happy Days,
Afam

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