Hot Takes: Fenty Hair, Portable Controversy, BNXN Vs. Ruger & More
Stuff went down in the past week. Read all about it.
Stuff went down in the past week. Read all about it.
As the year surges on, it is only expected that feathers will ruffle. By feathers I mean the soft tissue of popular culture, the air we breathe and the news we see. By this time, with the Nigerian rainy season contrasting with the international summer, a lot is happening on both sides.
The past week has been no different as we’ve seen stan wars in Nigeria escalate into heated comments between the artistes themselves, a supposed antihero sinking himself further the abyss of controversy, and a forthcoming film about an African princess who somehow finds herself in America. We’re again present with Hot Takes, and here are the rudiments.
Last weekend Omah Lay dropped his debut album so I’ve been listening. I’m actually going to write its review on this platform but one thing I’ll say now is that ‘Boy Alone’ really made an impression on me. Since Friday it’s been fairly constant on my playlist. I’ve picked up on other new music as well, especially Adekunle Gold’s “5Star” and the Fireboy DML-Asake collaboration “Bandana.” And, internationally, I’ve revisited Jon Bellion’s catalogue, spurred by his awesome rendition of his classic “Simple and Sweet” through the prism of Afropop’s signature rhythm.
The first thing I’m plugging is not really a film but an extended music video. “Knee Down” was an instant favourite of mine from Falz’s ‘BAHD’ album, the collaboration with Chike sparkling with dramatic tension. The short film/video is written and directed by Clarence Peters, and features both artists in a leading role alongside award-winning actress Osas Ighodaro. It’s a quite poignant watch, and would really give you Old Nollywood feels with a fresh vibe.
I’m also bingeing episodes of Obi Asika’s ‘Journey of the Beats’ documentary on Showmax. While its Netflix counterpart might be getting better buzz, this is equally a powerful reference document for contemporary and future purposes. Its standout is how it digs deep into the eras and development of African music, also doing the crucial work of connecting its circular movement to the Western world (initially through the slave trade) and back. I’m on the fourth episode and there’s been so many takeaways already. I fully recommend this for every lover of Afropop and culture in general.
We’ve always known that Portable is no stranger to controversy but no one expected the latest turn of events. Seemingly out of nowhere, the “Zazoo” artist directly implicated himself by saying he was the founder of One Million Boys, a cult group that’s prominent in the Lagos Mainland and particularly engaged in street riots, vandalisation and theft during the 2020 lockdown.
He has since deleted the post but commenters and the Nigerian Police have been hot on his heels. A section of people will say it’s just banter but I beg to differ. This is a very dangerous precedent and he should surely be investigated and convicted if found guilty. Portable might be crass but he definitely knows an adult fully responsible for his actions.
Obviously Portable does not enjoy his role as Nigerian pop’s favourite antihero; but it seems that while Naira Marley and Zlatan parlayed their moments into something more longstanding, he’s rolling deeper into a national mess like this. It’s a quite interesting trajectory.
Cultism: Police to Investigate Portable over formation of One Million Boys
Sequel to the trending video of one Habeeb Okikiola aka Portable where he claimed to have formed the One-Million Boys cult group terrorising some parts of Lagos State, the IGP has ordered pic.twitter.com/9t4Ry0fOFr
— Prince Olumuyiwa Adejobi (@Princemoye1) July 18, 2022
Port Harcourt-raised artist, Omah Lay has been in the news recently. Last Friday, on the same day he released his debut album, he engaged the musician Ruger in a heated exchange of words on Twitter. The Jonzing Music act had taken a perceived shot at BNXN fka. Buju and Omah Lay had reacted to it, dubbing him and Victony, who he’d gotten in a clash with previously, as “kids”.
Their heated exchange set off a chain of events on social media as loyal fans of the various artists battled it out for who had the stronger pen game. BNXN also took shots on Instagram, ascribing his independent status as a deal-breaker in the Afropop scene. While it’s never great to see your favourite artists battling it out on the timeline, some proponents ‘praised’ Gen Z acts for being direct with their disses, something which was typically amiss with the Afropop greats who came before them.
I actually think the larger conversation here is about their respective skills, how the new vanguard of Afropop acts are unwilling to let anyone belittle their craft and diminish their efforts. If kept to this music, it would admittedly increase their focus on lyricism but egos also come into the fore, and could prevent collaborations going into the future. We’ve seen beef obscure potential hit songs and I would hate to see these artists allow the reactionary tendencies of fans to permanently rupture their relationship.
I love buju he’s good but he’s not better than me. Everything I’ve done since the beginning was only RUGER. All my hits are JUST RUGER. I’m always proud going on stage around the world with my own hits and everyone is singing along. You see the difference? https://t.co/y555GeKqCC
— da Ruger gon screw u🔫🏴☠️♎️ (@rugerofficial) July 14, 2022
Ruger get mind dey talk about bnxn like that for this app smh!! mofos do anything for clout out here, same way Victony lol my tweet the other time, y’all are really kids 😂
— Omah Lay (@Omah_Lay) July 15, 2022
Just yesterday, ‘Euphoria’ star Storm Reid was revealed as the lead character and co-producer in ‘Becoming Noble’. The Paramount Pictures feature would cast her in the familiar role of an high school senior who learns she’s a princess of an African nation. She expectedly travels to her home country, eager to know how this new information translates into her reality. Alongside her mother Robyn Simpson, the film will be produced under their A Seed & Wings Productions banner.
Quite recently, I began to write about films a lot more so I’ve been one to parse them through the typical critical lens. Beyond just enjoying a film, I’m likely to ponder its soft visions, the politics behind the art. Reid is among my favourites from ‘Euphoria’ but is she really a filmmaker? Especially with a cliche theme such as this, it would take careful interpretation not to make a film that would be all fairy dust and no nuance.
Another way to look at it would be that global popular culture is uber-focused on Africa in recent years. This falls into that category, but I’m more skeptical of its unique leaning. A comment I caught on Twitter was whether the said African country would be a fictional one. If that happens, the question becomes: why are they so considerate of being set in an actual country while milking its culture for box office gains?
Storm Reid will star in and produce ‘Becoming Noble.’
It follows a high school senior who learns she’s a princess of an African nation and travels to her home country to discover her roots, and to determine if “royal” is something she really wants to be.https://t.co/TuGrmsU5Gb pic.twitter.com/iXSqLCxw5x
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) July 19, 2022
Written by Tami
Rihanna’s Fenty empire is the gift that keeps on giving. Now I’m not quite sure if the rumours are true but it seems that our favourite bad girl (and hot mom) has bagged herself a new venture. In the early hours of this morning, mefeater Magazine, a music and entertainment outfit based in New York published an unconfirmed screenshot of the ‘ANTI’ singer’s latest money making venture: Fenty Hair.
The company registration form contained details of the latest venture as registered last Friday, 15th July under the company title Fenty Hair. The unconfirmed document also detailed the brand’s goods and services including the sale of hair bands, hair clips, hair nets, extensions, wigs, other decorative articles for hair and hand-held hair appliances such as hair curlers, straighteners, and more.
A part of me is not surprised we got Fenty Hair so soon down the pipeline but I am gagging to see how Rihanna will shake up the hair industry, just like every other field she’s put her mind to. It seems like the next step in the well-oiled Fenty machine and I am thrilled that we’re witnessing in real-time the birth and formation of a global empire headed by one of the most influential voices in music. While I’m also bummed that we’re not getting any new music from Rihanna soon, I can’t help shaking the feeling that all her new ventures is leading to something big and epic.
— MEFeater Magazine (@mefeater) July 21, 2022
Featured image credits/NATIVE