It hurts to see all the ways that Nigerian culture hurts and does not heal. People are saying leaders should change but civilians too, change. Me too, i should change. Vulcanizers too, change. Beggars too, change. Police officer too, change. musicians too, change. Change your songs- stop singing songs about gold chains, nyash, alcohol and money for a while and see what else you can give with your talent. How else can we write celebration of life into our songs without perpetuating these values that cost money we cannot afford? Revolution has been found in music and in lyrics, but i can’t find any in so much of what I hear. The singing of songs together have moved people away from things as hard as unpaid farm labour into a slow but sure future out of that slavery.
Also listeners, stop paying ridiculous amounts of money to those singing about American life in America or in Dubai or in wherever you travel to to consume another culture that doesn’t know your way of speaking and your manner of surviving. I’m not saying American culture doesn’t cross over but we have our own particular situations that don’t crossover and need your audience. America does not use potash to cook bitter leaf soup. Some things are of us.
And let us not forget, there are people that have tried to articulate our specific angst and inspire our hope but many of those people stopped because they were not are not eating. Some are still trying but they are dying out-literally. Why? Because Americans can sing a song about tacos/pizza and show it on our TV, but we cannot sing a song about Puff Puff and show it on VH1. You’re buying anything from a culture that speaks their language because someone told you knowledge of that culture is what makes you important..”a somebody.” Before many of us can even sympathize with those who cannot speak english, we have already started laughing at them. Laughing at how they mix in Ls and Rs, or how they are unable to decipher Ps from Fs. I know: “But it’s funny.” Yes, it’s funny: Disgrace and embarrassment have always been funny because humour is a lot about what a situation is trying to be and how it’s failing to be exactly that. E.g When someone is trying to sound American but the effort pushes them sooo far away from anything remotely red white and blue. We always find it funny when things try hard and fail. Still, I believe humour works best when it’s a two edged sword that hurts and heals the people on both ends of that sword. I have never needed to speak Igbo to get a good paying job but I have always always needed to speak crisp and clear English to prove that I’m intellectual beyond my years and capable of organizing a bunch of excel files. The language of computing is not English- but most of us believe our knowledge of English makes us more capable of doing tasks that have nothing to do with grammar. Isn’t it terrible how English is given what Igbo can never afford us anywhere in the world? Where in the world do you need Igbo to become an executive? I sometimes wonder how awful my life in America might have been if I did not have cartoon network and nickelodeon as a child. “But it’s funny.” It may be funny, but it’s no fun when the humour is only one way.
Anyway, “established” and “educated” people of Nigeria, we can do better about our thinking. Also, you might want to stop calling those who believe in another kind of life “alte”: You’re scaring people who don’t realize that variation is a gift and not a curse. Just recognize the beauty or even recognize the fault without naming people who don’t know yet if how they see is a curse or a gift. Let them come into themselves before you force them into “alte” It’s just so tiring listening to how quickly people tell me to RUN AWAY whenever I think about coming home. It’s sad.