We let things go. Yes we do sometimes, but nah not this one. Nope. Nah-Uh.
Jidenna may be enjoying a Nigerian rave now but many of us have not forgotten what happened in a not very distant past. In 2015, he told American YouTube channel, VLAD TV that Nigeria was a dangerous war zone where light skinned people were generally unsafe.
We know what you’re probably thinking “Yeah, well, people do get kidnapped in Nigeria” or “He needed to protect his family”. But no fuck that. And you know why? Initially, he said his village is the only place where such a thing would happen. But as his nonsensical ramblings progressed, his scope spread to cover the entire country as a place where his family was constantly “hounded”, “robbed” and “assaulted” because of their skin colour.
But we all had to let it go.
Months later, Jidenna has a new Afrobeat song, he is in Lagos for a live showcase at the HardRock cafe and Dorcas Shola Fapson has him for a ‘Ndani’s The Juice Special’.
DSF rarely hits all the hard places for her interviews, thankfully, she didn’t shy away from quickly bringing up his 2015 comments. But instead of taking this as a second chance to redeem himself by altering a narrative many Nigerians still begrudge him for, Jidenna showed off an insouciantly shallow side.
His first response was a long-winding sarcastic retort about “snipers” on the roof, “tanks” on ground and a “helicopter” waiting to come in and swoop him away if things suddenly went bad at Eko Hotels, where he was being interviewed. We get that it was supposed to be a joke, it was not just a very funny or contextually appropriate one.
But we’re merely scratching the surface.
“When I was burying my father, the most amount of people had been kidnapped in Imo State” He explained to DSF “Even now, what is on the news?” Well, we don’t know where Jidenna gets his news, but according to the UN, there were a total 1,749 cases of reported kidnappings between 2008 and 2010 and only 1.08% of them were from Imo State. Yes, we know Nigeria has a history of poor documentation, but unlike the Niger Delta where most cases were reported from, UN data says the rise of kidnapping in Imo and Abia states did not become prominent until 2013.
And as if that wasn’t enough, when DSF asks if he understood the implication of his statements for Nigeria’s tourism, he replies “I think I am actually increasing tourism”.
“In fact, nobody (in America) even noticed it (the comments). I hope we don’t kill our own tourism (referring to himself)” So there you have it Nigeria, you don’t have to pay your taxes anymore, Jidenna is single-handedly increasing tourism with his gelled hair and Ankara waistcoats. This is surely the change Buhari promised us. Sai Baba!
Jidenna wants badly to paint his need for military men at his father’s funeral as a logical thing to do, rather than the average Nigerian man’s desire to display class and wealth. But we’re not buying it because that was never what the backlash surrounding the comments were about. Nigerians are not deluded about the state of national security. What is unforgivable, however, are generalizations on the entire country based on a small sample space. And FYI, until he brought it up, the VLADTV interviewer’s question did not specifically need him to cite any of details he gladly provided with that stupid smirk on his face.
We still need that apology Jidenna, and we need it now!
PS, we see Jidenna quoting so many ‘wise things’ he’s father has ‘told’ him over years. Even a ‘half-caste/Twice as Nice’ wise crack Trevor Noah made an exact joke about at a stand-up performance in 2013. Curious thing however, is that we don’t see the Classic Man airing any of his dad’s proverbs or wise sayings with an Igbo accent at his American interviews.
And that just makes him patronizing, sly and fake as fuck.