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MUSIC REVIEW: Simi’s “Woman”: An Explosive Tool For Social Change

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Las Las! (1)

By

Toyin Falola

Explosive—that’s one word that aptly describes Simisola Bolatito Kosoko’s latest single: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udnkr-pMRa8

Better known by her stage name, Simi, this amazon of an African musician has yet proven the strength and quality of her musical renditions. “Explosive” must be an apt appellation for a song that has garnered close to a million views on YouTube within 48 hours of release. What is so electric about Woman that has made it the talk of the town?

Simi’s “Woman”: An Explosive Tool For Social Change

With Woman, Simi has proven that she is a master of her art. The song is a masterfully mixed sampling of popular Fela tunes, from Suffering and Shmiling, to Water No Get Enemy. Through this song, Simi has donned the philosophical robes of one of the greatest musicians Africa has ever produced, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, to direct society’s focus to the challenges of the average woman. She previously took successful older songs and repackaged them to more powerful effects, as in her

Aimasiko (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDIqkEWLYzE)

and

Joromi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRS8Afj3dOM)

The latest single is a much bigger project. Leaving aside her constant trope of “love”, Simi moved to a more consciously activist one. The proclamation in the song is direct: It’s a tough world for a woman. It’s always been, and Simi brings our attention to this by making us know that women receive criticisms from all angles—from men and from fellow women too. This is perhaps the best time to release a song like this, seeing as the #Nobodylikewoman campaign trended on social media some days ago. This was a campaign through which women spoke up about hate speeches and denigrating words they had received in the past. Society looks upon women as a class of people that need to be subservient. Simi throws a snicker at the popular term “submission” by asking if women have assignments to submit. What exactly should women submit? Why should inordinate gender dominance be shrouded in the garment of “a woman needs to submit to her husband?” Why can’t girls can? Why shouldn’t women go for what they want and become who they would love to become?

The woman is a song from a musician who understands women’s experiences and can fully relate to the lyrics of the songs. One can trace a connection between Simi and Beyoncé, a celebrity American musician and powerful woman who has preached the message of women empowerment and the appreciation of women through her songs. Brown Skin Girl and Woman are two songs from two different musicians having thousands of miles between them; yet, they both speak to the needs and challenges of women while serving as a source of strength and assistance to a class of humans that are, contrary to societal perceptions, strong, resilient, and robust.

READ ALSO: Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje At 90: A Measure of Grace Indeed

Sampling is not a new concept in the music industry. There are scores of African musicians that have sampled Fela – from Falz to Burna Boy, and now to Simi. One thing that one can notice in these musicians is the will to fight against societal perceptions and spread clear messages through the vehicle of music. The woman is not just a song, and it is not just a musical single. Instead, it is a powerful tool that would spark needed conversations in society, re-concentrate our focus on the significant issues affecting women, and help bring about some required changes.

If I were to offer a dissenting voice, it would be that Simi’s voice has become too consistent to the point of saturation. For now, I will take the message since Simi is representing the voiceless.

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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Arts & Culture

Adetola Babawale: Completing A Circle Of Life

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Adetola Babawale: Completing A Circle Of Life

By Toyin Falola

Be still, dear wind, be still
Open your palms and show me what you stole
Be still, dear man, be still
I can see the pain in your heart

Be still, dear river, be still
Let me bare my soul to you
Maybe you will take pity and wash away my pain
Maybe I’ll have a reason to smile again

All and sundry, be still, please
I am not at peace
I am not at ease
Let me bare my pain, listen, please

The wind said it did not steal from me
Yet, I cannot find my loved ones
The wind claims innocence
Even after they disappeared into thin air

To grow old is to see evil
Where do I go from here?
There is nothing left on the left
There is nothing right on the right

Let a hush fall on all and sundry
Give respect to the lost ones
Those dear ones we would not see again
For except in dreams and illusions

I used to have a clear sky
I used to bask in the sun
I used to revel under the moon
No more

Sun fell out of my sky
Moon disappeared into the clouds
I am left with a twinkling star
Shining in my dark skies.

READ ALSO: Disturbing Video Of Former Nollywood Star, Hank Aniku Emerges

A few days ago, my brother, my friend, Professor Gabriel Olatunde Babawale, lost his wife, Chief Doris Adetola Babawale. Your grief is ours, Tunde Babawale. A man of your reputation and standing deserves all life’s joys. In the intellectual space, you have conquered your motherland and overseas. Your works have brought light to ignorant eyes and truth to unenlightened ears. But unfortunately, your intellect could not sway the cold hands of death from snatching away your precious wife. You never wished it to be so; we never wished this for you, but every man would only tread the path of life according to destiny. Yours is a harsh one, but who do we question? We would have fought, but who do we fight? If Olodumare, the Almighty and All-knowing, has wished it so, we have no choice but to accept our fate. Sadly, I cannot accept this fate on your behalf. No one can. It is a big burden that only your head can carry. But you will not carry it alone, as your faith has prewarned:

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” – Psalms‬ 34‬:17‬-19‬ NIVUK‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Your spirit has been crushed. I cannot restore it; only God can.

The angel of death is an uninvited and unruly guest who enters and exits a household at will, leaving behind wailing and everlasting sorrow. That is the responsibility the Omniscient has saddled us with. Everyone will taste the sour pill of death. When the time is right, we all will have to die to give more meaning to our lives; we only pray that we live long enough to fulfill our destinies and realize all our dreams.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted….

I repeat.
It is common for men to die before their wives. For centuries, men have taken pride in that concept and worn it proudly as a mark of masculinity. I even once told you in Brazil, where I am writing from, that I want to die before my wife. I am sure you said the same to me, but as we did not write our own path of life, the Unquestionable God did not grant you that wish: to die before your beloved wife. If the angel of death had given you the option of choosing who should be taken, I know your choice, which is the same decision that practically all honorable men would make. None of us wants to see death plunder our homes. No man wants to witness the loss of a child or wife, for that would look like he has failed in his primary task of protecting his family. I know the death of your wife will trouble you for a long time, but I preach steadfastness to you, my friend. I wish you steadfastness, but I am nothing but clay, like you. The source of your strength will not come from me; it will come from your faith in the word of your Creator and Maker.

READ ALSO: The Nigerian Condition: Perspectives From A Nigerian Philosopher

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all

Tola was a beautiful bride. Strong, young, elegant, and vibrant. God delicately created her. Her overwhelming sense of hope was revealed in the glint in her eyes and the smile on her face. She personified the joy of existence. I imagine how hard she must have fought to stay back with us, to remain by your side and journey this world with you, but the Giver of life said her time in this realm was up. He called her, and, left with no choice, she had to heed. Her death saddens us, but we are grateful for all the impact, laughter, and memories we shared with her.

Your cry was loud when I called you a few hours after her death. I pictured your tears flowing down like water from a hill. You cried out as the righteous would do. I did not ask you to stop crying. As you did, we also cried, though our grief is incomparable to the pain you feel in the core of your soul. Our sorrows pale compared to how much you weep and grieve in the privacy of your room, where no one will see you. Tunde, your cherished wife was sweet and dear to your heart, I know. You may cry uncontrollably and feel your sorrow will never end because of the grief and the pain, but I know God will console you. The combined lamentations of sympathizers, home and abroad, cannot give you an elixir for the pain: you have to turn to God because no one else can give you the consolation that works.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them…

Many would crumble under the weight of grief, but I implore you to be strong. Draw from the little strength of those around you so you do not sink into a permanent state of depression. Our words cannot take away the pain of your loss; we only want you to know you are loved and supported during this very difficult period of your life. This sorrow is real. This pain is real. This hurt is real. All the “You will be fine” and “God will strengthen you” do not imply that it will not be difficult or painful, nor do they mean the memories will not linger in your mind. The Lord is what you need.

READ ALSO: Toyin Falola: Living And Globalising The Humanities

 

Life and things cannot be controlled; only God controls the circle of life. My friend, the journey ahead of you is challenging. I cannot assure you that this darkness will pass quickly, but I can only pray that light will shine on your path again. No words from me can diminish the sorrow of your loss. I only pray that God gives you the strength to carry through and that your family safely rides this storm. Have hope, as the Holy Book gives you its assurance:

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore, I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations‬ 3‬:19‬-23‬ NIVUK‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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Campuses Must Reopen!

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Las Las! (1)

By Toyin Falola

I call the deaf by his name
he hears me, but I claim
I’m being ignored and shamed;
I count stones on the streets
put them in different pots to heat.
Done, I assume, and ready to eat
But in my rage, I soon chew, and it breaks my teeth.

If poverty was the answer,
What then was the prayer?
Gone were the days we licked the feet of our masters
Just to show our loyalty
We carried thick-fatty Europeans on our back
Just to enter their rich apartments with expensive paintings
Searching for the lost freedom that we never opened our eyes to see.
Sadly, we are now on our own
Miss Independence!
Independent in our own dishonours;
Independent with our degrading educational systems;
We bask in vague promises and unending hopes
This, is indeed a troubled state.

The disheartening story of ASUU is yet untold
But maybe you could read my mind with these lines of mine;
You know the miseries these students have gone through,
With all the memories they’ve got to leave behind,
All the good plans they’ve let go,
As they dissolve like dust into thin air;
But what would they do?
Than to accept their fate and move on,
Move on with a life of shattered hopes and dreams.

They call them the leaders of tomorrow
sweet lips add to the sailing sorrows
then, they mutate into the realities;
moulded in deformity.
The parents and guardians are helpless
They run the streets with banners and placards,
But they forgot the deaf may also not see.

READ ALSO: The University Campus Without Students

The constituted authorities are prepared for this war
They’re the tyrants of our souls.
They feed on our blood as wine
Our flesh as their meat.
We got contusions in the heart
In the sun, we turned into their labourers
In the rain, their slaves
We toiled in hunger;
In our mind’s eye, we hope for freedom
We drank tears by day
and sing the song of sorrow by night.

Dear Men and Women in Struggle,
How many more of us will want to die?
What quantity of tears do they want us to cry?
You can see how we’re being butchered on a rate so high.
Look at the sky
Is it not painted red with our own blood?
Are we not being used as sacrificial lamb for this rotten system?
Look at the vultures and the hyenas
Are they not constipating on our flesh?
Do we still sit and watch as we get slaughtered daily?
What will remain of our future generations?

This is my goodbye message
This is me saying my farewell
Putting it down in black and white
Wishing you good fortune and a better victim
Oh, please don’t cry!
This is not a sad song
I’ll be damned if I drop a tear
This is more like a freedom song
It’s a long walk in finding back
The sanity in our educational system.

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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I See A New Nigeria

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Jagaban And His Exercise Bicycle

By Victoria Praise Abraham
I see a NEW NIGERIA where righteousness, truth and justice reign.
I see a new NIGERIA where the leaders all have the fear and love of GOD in their hearts, minds and lives.
I see a new NIGERIA where the people are honest, diligent, dynamic, hardworking, purposeful and strong.
I see a new NIGERIA where all tribes and tongues are united by a common goal and destiny.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where everything works, where our hospitals function perfectly well, where our infrastructures are all in place and where water and every other basic amenity needed for the good of the common man is not only available, but available in abundance, a NIGERIA water is not sold on our streets but where water flows freely in every tap in every home and in all the 36 states of our federation.
I see NEW NIGERIA where strikes and every kind of unrest and hotbed of troubles becomes a thing of the past, completely obliterated from our body polity.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where education is free up till senior secondary school level and where teachers are happy to teach and students are willing to learn, and not burdened and saddled with teenage madness called cultism, presently found in most of our schools as a result of the melee found in all our collective psyche.
I see a new NIGERIA where every professional and every worker irrespective of level and cadre works happily on their jobs, singing gladly as they contribute their own quota to our national grid, happy because the systems set in place all work, and happy because their take home takes them home and they have leftover to take to their banks.
I see a new NIGERIA where power supply is constant 366 days of the year with not a single disruption and where all our entrepreneurs are happy to be in business because the environment is stable, secure and safe.

I see a NIGERIA free of loud sounding, ear deafening generators, a Nigeria free from diesel and petrol buying to power generators that have become a menace, rather than a quick stop gap, in case of an hour of disruption of actual supply of power from our national grid.
I see a NEW NIGERIA where our armed forces, especially our policemen are well trained, well paid, and well respected for the wonderful work they do to keep us safe from men of the underworld who parade our streets, a Nigeria free of illegal checkpoints and 20 naira token that can sometimes lead to death if not quickly paid to our corrupt policemen.
I see a new NIGERIA where our journalists, our doctors and all Nigeria workers feel a part of the country because they are respected and given their rightful share of the national cake and not made to slave till they drop by our selfish leadership.

I see a NEW NIGERIA with great minds and souls as politicians, tested men and women who have exceled in business and academics and the likes whose only business in politics is to give back, contribute and serve, true servant and leaders of the people who love the people only, and not themselves.

I See a NEW NIGERIA of great educationists, great lawyers, great journalists, great architects, great engineers, great poets, great inventors and scientists, great artisans, great musicians, and excellent men and women of GOD who are life givers and nation builders who work tirelessly to contribute their own quota to nation building and life reengineering.
I see A NEW NIGERIA
Free from corruption!
Free from confusion!
Free from limitation!
Free from stagnations!
free from destructions !
Free from delusions!
Free from nepotism, ethnicity and violence!
I see the Nigeria of my dreams where peace and justice reign as king and where prosperity and abundance cohabit as twins in the house of grace to bless all its citizens.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where the Hausa man, and the Yoruba man, and the Igbo man cohabit as one brotherhood, with no suspicions and disrespect for each other but rather a three-piece cord that cannot be easily broken because of its strength in diversity.
I see the NEW NIGERIA Where our youths are energetic, creative, innovative and hopeful of a better tomorrow because of the beauty and power they can see in the present Nigeria, where everything works and life’s good.
I see the NEW NIGERIA free from greed because of its creed. A Nigeria that honours, respects and caters for all its citizenry, especially the physically challenged, the elderly, homeless, sick, less privileged and the helpless.

I see the NEW NIGERIA building its people, giving them a reason to live and be happy. A nation of great people and great accomplishments.
A nation where being exceptional is the norm, and being ordinary is abnormal.

I see the NEW NIGERA where the streets are paved with gold because the road from Lagos to Lokoja, Abuja to Aba are all tarred and every street in every corner in every state is well kept and where the environment is clean, the air clean and the trees around release life and peace every day.
A new nation free from hoodlums, terrorists, kidnappers, corrupt officials, street walkers, child abusers and armed robbers both that carry the gun and the pen .

I see a NEW NIGERIA where there are no beggars, no madmen roaming the streets and no area boys and area girls looking for the next fix, because they would rather be dazed than fazed with many of life’s travails.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where the president is committed to the people and the people alone, and where leaders at all levels of the polity feel, understand and are dedicated to alleviating the plight and suffering of the citizenry, its pride, its glory.

READ ALSO: Bola Ahmed Tinubu And The Nigerian Presidency In 2023

I see a NEW NIGERIA prosperous, great again, glorious and mighty. A Nigeria where living, loving, caring and sharing is everybody’s business, a new Nigeria with a new people and a new attitude and new power.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where hardship does not exist because the environment is conducive for growth, and expansion of all, a Nigeria where the national cake is not shared and looted by few, but rather used
for the collective good of all.

I see a NEW NIGERIA where people live long and prosperous lives, where the death of the young rarely occurs, because everything works and so life is good.
Do you see what I see?
Do you feel what I feel?
My dream is possible.
My vision is achievable.
My aspiration is attainable.
Nigerians I can hear a new beat, a new sound, a new song.

I see a new breed without greed. I see a crop of young, vibrant and dynamic men and women who will create the Nigeria that I see.
These crop of leaders are unknown, unsung, unsoiled and uncelebrated now, yet they hold the key to the birth of our new nation.
They are the OCTOBER 2ND generation, for the OCTOBER 1ST generation have finished their work and hung their boots and we salute their work!
I see the next generation of nation builders, you and I ordinary people in obscure places making a difference in extraordinary ways, because it is in you. We are the change we seek. We are the one to build the new nation that I see.
Rising from the east, the west, north and south and these young men and women, the Josephs, Daniels, Joshuas and Esthers of our generation.

This crop of builders all have one thing in common. They are righteous, courageous, God-fearing, trustworthy, ambassadors of our great nation. They are patriots, and they are the light-bearers and the salt givers who give light, hope and bread to the rest of us.
These amazons and icons are connected to the greatest and most powerful source of LIGHT in the universe; they are connected to the one and only creator of humanity!

These NEW NIGERIAN ICONS can be found in every State of our Federation and they are rising up to the clarion call to build the New Nigeria that I see!
Their mission is simple; BUILD ME, A NEW NIGERA, A NEW PEOPLE, A NEW NATION’!

Yes! I say soon our new nation will emerge! If Japan can arise from Hiroshima, South Africa a country bedevilled with apartheid can become Africa’s first country to host the World Cup and America can consolidate after 9/11 then NIGERIA has hope for a better tomorrow!!!

READ ALSO: The Failed Government Of Muhammadu Buhari

GOD is at work to help birth this new nation without greed!
Will you join in the army today!
Will you say yes to God’s help!
Will you say yes to righteousness!
Will you say yes to peace, power and prosperity in our nation!!!

Let’s become the third ISRAEL of God, a nation with GOD is a majority!!
As we say yes, let us also learn to say NO!!!
No to the old brigade!
No to the bad policies!
No to evil men and women who plot night and day to overthrow our collective wills and powers as a people, never again will one, just one destroy the hopes and aspirations of millions and millions of our people. Never again!
Let’s join hearts and mind and souls to a common goal and a common vision that of building a new nation free from the cabal, free of the melee.
‘’Arise O compatriots.
Nigerians calls obey.

To serve our fatherland.
With love and strength and faith.
The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.
To serve with heart and mind.
One nation bound in freedom. Peace and unity!!!
GOD BLESS NIGERIA!
GOD BLESS OUR LEADERS!
GOD BLESS THE GOOD PEOPLE OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY NIGERIA!

Abraham is the CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nig. Ltd and award-winning author.

victoriapraiseabraham@gmail.com

Abraham is an award-winning author and CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Ltd.

 

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