well, i've been meaning to blog about two recent discoveries that I have been all over as of recent. I couldn't choose between the two, so i decided to post both here.
Celebrating Ndi-Igbo: Acclaiming People of Igbo Descent
I am so on this blog...literally a daily post on big things members of the Igbo Diaspora have accomplished both past and present. Kudos to Ababoy for this initiative.
This guy has been in my head for the longest ever since I picked up his 2009 CD, Troubadour. I thought this CD was incredible, with tracks like Wavin' Flag and Take a Minute, until I checked out his earlier CD, The Dusty Foot Philosopher - a more reflective, somber version of K'Naan.
Excited about Mogadishu and Ndi Igbo.....but as for what I am not excited about....
my zune which decided to die on me like a month after i got it....i guess it's back to Apple (i tried, Bill Gates, i tried....)
just came back from vacation and realized that new england did not receive the memo that spring started days ago....well that is by the way.
while on vacation, a friend pointed me to idols west africa clips on youtube (since youtube, these days, seems to be my main source of free entertainment). these clips are most likely quite old (wikipedia says the show aired two years ago)....but as usual, I am late with everything. i apologize for those who have already laid this show to rest.
amongst these clips was one of a fela kuti imitator who shows up to audition in his undies (pants, tighty whities, briefs, what-have-you). i admit, i laughed hysterically at the clip....
however, i found the comments by judge dede mabiaku to be more than aggravating. about 50seconds into the clip, dede asks the contestant if he had ever seen fela on stage dressed similarly. the contestant answers yes - only to be rebutted by dede accusation that he, the contestant - is a liar. dede later goes on to express how the fela's memory is being insulted by this guy's penchant to appear before the camera in his underpants.
well, dede, apparently, you are not aware that imitation is the the best form of flattery. while dede feigns appreciation toward the legend that was fela, he forgets that fela "death is in his pocket"** kuti was known to dress similarly on stage.
many commenters on that youtube clip expressed their outrage at dede's denigration of the poor guy - outrage that is justifiable. but what i find more aggravating is dede's blatant ignorance of a man he claims to worship. a nigerian man dede's age, especially one judging a musical contest should be at least half-way competent enough to know that fela kuti was on different wavelength from the rest of the country in mannerisms, politics, and music. in fact when dede says that the contestant is on some wrong pills, i couldn't help but think of how dede would have responded if the contestant rolled up into the auditions smoking a marijuana joint in keeping with the fela imitation.
in a show about west african music, none of the judges knew fela kuti (or maybe they confused him with someone else - femi, perhaps?). and i have a feeling that alot of nigerians and lovers of nigerian music (me, included) are quick to idolize fela without really knowing what he was about. when people mention great african musicians, fela is one of the first to come to mind. to think otherwise would be blasphemy. in fact, when i was a bit younger, i was absolutely shocked when i found that my father, who's taste in music i respect, expressed his revulsion at fela kuti. initially i found this unforgiveable - but later realised that my dad's preference was an informed one. he did not care much for his politics and found his lifestyle undesirable.
this post is in no way meant to be a bash on fela kuti. rather, i personally wanted ask us why we respect the fela kutis of the world who have long passed on. i cant help but think that if such people lived amongst us today, they would most likely be shunned by many of the likes of dede and i. our idolatry is, at times, misguided.
**learned from a good source....(cough...atupa....cough) that anikulapo means death is in his pocket....most likely an allusion to his HIV/AIDS diagnosis
oh, in regards to the picture above...i do not endorse smoking of any kind - particularly of joints nearly as large as my arm...
just found out through loomnie that the famed Igbo historian, Professor Adiele Afigbo, died this morning. when one iroko tree falls, it is big news....but now it seems that of late several of our great ones are dying. just yesterday i twittered (yes, i twitter now) on how i had celestine ukwu on repeat and just this afternoon while driving, i cried as i listened to the old school highlife my dad and I used to dance to on saturday mornings. Egwu ndi a enweghi atu....works that can never be duplicated.....Achebe, Nwapa, Okigbo, Igwe, Egbuna, Isichei....were names that regularly graced our shelves. Most are aging and some are no more. I'd hate to get off tangent, but I sometimes wonder the kind of cultural legacy I will one day find myself passing down to my own children.***
Afigbo is a native of Okigwe, not too far away from my maternal home. He remains one of Igboland's most noted historians having authored several books on the history of southeastern Nigeria. His "Ropes of Sand," (a gift I received some years back from a good family friend), was probably my first formal introduction to Igbo history and origins. I remember only reading an excerpt of his other earlier work "The Warrant Chiefs: Indirect Rule in Southeastern Nigeria," during one of my many moments of procrastination. I have yet to read some of his later works, but hope to do so when chanced.
Professor Afigbo will be missed.
*** just to qualify this, i do believe that nigeria currently finds itself in somewhat of a cultural renaissance with some of the newer works that are coming out. i guess my comment here is more a reflection of wondering whether I, personally, would be able to share that culture with my children as effectively as my parents did. I look at my shelves and all i see are textbooks - "Bate's Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking" is not much of a literary legacy to pass down...sigh...
nigerians are talking....all the time. and i'm not just talking (haha) about everyday conversation or mindless chatter (like that of our esteemed parrot of the House, Patrick Obahiagbon). rather, the Nigerian blogosphere is blowing up and new bloggers are being added to our ranks daily.
in honor of Nigerian bloggers and to promote both veterans and newbies, Loomnie and I started NigeriansTalk.com
NigeriansTalk.com is basically like a blog-round up for, about and by Nigerians. Every Monday, starting next week, we will post a review of the hottest news from bloggers such as yourself (and ehemm, myself)...on occasion we'll have blogging tips, interviews with famed nigerian bloggers (cough...SSD...cough) and other really interesting things - once we think of them.
so when you are chanced, check out the website...and if you are interested in becoming a reviewer....even better...
A bit about NigeriansTalk.com (sorry could not figure out how to do that block quote thing that loomnie had on his site...but anyway...):
NigeriansTalk is a weekly review of posts written by bloggers of Nigerian extraction, bloggers living in Nigeria and bloggers who blog about Nigeria. NigeriansTalk seeks to cover the wide spectrum of perspectives on various social, political, and personal issues, issues that affect Nigerians at home and abroad. We hope that through our collective voices, we will bring about the future we seek for our country.
now back to our regularly scheduled program...
but the conversation around slumdog millionaire has been so interesting thus far. would like to forward you to obla yoo's blog who is of a differing opinion than mine. I love a good debate, especially amongst friends.
as i was responding to the various comments, i remembered Uzodinma Iweala's Washington Post article entitled, "Stop Trying to 'Save' Africa" (which is funny because I totally forgot that he wrote Beasts of No Nation, which on ther surface, would seem like a "Save Africa" book....will read it eventually I see if this is true or not). His article was in part response to the flagrantly annoying "I AM AFRICAN" campaign, which to this day, still makes my skin crawl....ergghhh (see this for an interesting pic responding back to this nonsense)
Personally, as much as I enjoy films about countries other than the US, I sometimes feel that amongst some Westerners, such films are so one-sided that it gives them the idea that all Indians are like this or that all Africans (regardless of nationality) wear various colours on faces for no apparent reason, on the regular.
This is Africa, folks, this is AFRRRRRICAAA (shouts Nneoma, raising her face to the sky which hangs peacefully over the Serengheti, as scantily-clad tribal natives sing the songs of the ancients in concert with the rhythmic bleating of wild chimpanzees....oh and by the way, this, this and this goes to prove that it is indeed Westerners who live one on one with the chimpanzees, not us...lol)
My apologies for bringing up an older topic and making matters worse by referencing an article from two years ago....will bring fresh content soon...i think.