On the heels of recent bickering by a number of Ghanaian artists and a section of the Ghanaian populace over what has been termed as a deliberate attempt by Nigerians to lock their doors to Ghanaian music despite enjoying heavy attention in Ghana, Ghanaian poet, playwright and creative entrepreneur Chieff Moomen has this to share.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, the creative stated without mincing words that Nigerians do not owe Ghanaians anything.
SOME BADLY NEEDED COMMON SENSE FOR SOME GHANAIAN MUSICIANS AND FANS AS WE ENTER THE NEW YEAR
•The fact that Nigerian music is popular in Ghana doesn’t mean Ghanaian music must also be popular in Nigeria. Nigerian DJs, radio stations, media establishments and others do not owe us in Ghana a dime!
•Nigerian music is not popular in Ghana because of the inherent goodness in the hearts of Ghanaians to love Nigerian music. People vibe to what is popular. Currently, Nigerian music is popular globally. If in some years from now Nigerian music loses its shine, nobody in Ghana will care. We will move on to the next popular thing. Yes, the consumer is that fickle.
•In fact, the popularity of Nigerian music in Ghana is a fairly recent phenomenon. From our independence in 1957 to around 2010, I doubt we can point out to a period within that timeline dominated by Nigerian music.
•Our local artists have always been and will always be popular in Ghana. The idea that Nigerian music is pushing out Ghanaian music is a complete fallacy. Over the decades, we’ve always had—and still do have—different genres of music enjoying much popularity on our airwaves; HipHop, R&B, Reggae, Dancehall, even Country Music. We didn’t lose sleep about those and we certainly won’t be and shouldn’t be losing sleep about Afrobeats as popularized by our Nigerian brothers. Music is so eclectic and consumption is so varied there is space for multiple genres to thrive.
•The impression that Nigerian gatekeepers are banding together to stop the popularity of Ghanaian music in Nigeria is naïve and just simply ridiculous. Please, nobody has our time like that. We are not that important and we do not pose a threat to warrant a sustained orchestrated effort to frustrate our progress in the Nigerian market. We should stop tickling ourselves with our bloated sense of self-importance and entitlement.
•The opposite is also true. The idea that Ghanaian gatekeepers are banding together to promote Nigerian music in Ghana to the detriment of Ghanaian music is just as naïve and ridiculous. Especially so in this digital age.
•We must understand that the cardinal economic principle of demand and supply applies here as well. If people want more of a particular product, the market will respond accordingly.
•Even here we need a lot of nuances. I have read Kwame Dadzie make the important point that we shouldn’t use a few radio stations (and perhaps Djs) in Accra and possibly Kumasi to make hasty generalisations about the Ghanaian music consumption market. My grand folks back in the village have absolutely no inkling of what Afrobeats is. Yet, they hold on steadfastly to their radio sets which provide them with content they are familiar with. Artists like Fancy Gadam from the Northern Region are filling stadiums in the North and even here in Accra, but most people from the south will struggle to name two or three of his songs.
•Perhaps, Fancy Gadam and other artists in different parts of the country who are not popular in the so-called epicentres should start demanding for their fair share of consumption. In fact, we should enact laws to force every Ghanaian to listen to different genres of locally produced music so that every artist can be heard.
•The grass is always greener on the other side. We see some small success of our neighbours in Nigeria and we become “eye red” whimpering like a child who has just witnessed a sibling receiving a toffee when they haven’t received their share yet.
•Again, the idea that somehow Nigerian musicians are getting their big breaks on the international scene because of some association with Ghana is laughable. What are we smoking? If we did indeed possess the Midas touch our own artists would be riding golden chariots across the globe in a blitz of silver confetti. The current generation of Nigerian musicians would still have been successful with or without the existence of Ghana.
•In Nigeria the competition is crazy. Take your eye off the ball for a second and hungry and ambitious upcoming artists will depose you. Even the old guards are not finding it easy. Nobody in Nigeria out of the goodness of their hearts will waste their time thinking of how to promote Ghanaian music in Nigeria. They ought not to. And we ought to know not to expect them to Oughtn’t we?
•Music consumption and popularity are like waves. Many waves will rise and fall. You either try and ride the existing wave to glory or you work hard and bid your time hoping the tide will rise for you. What you absolutely don’t do is to snivel like a spoilt jealous brat when others are riding their waves.
•If our Ghanaian music ( however we define that) gains global momentum nobody can stop it from becoming popular anywhere including in Nigeria. Let me invoke the legendary Bob when he proclaims “Nobody can stop reggae, cus reggae is strong”
•You cannot whine or insult your way into the hearts and minds of people. Just make your music strong. In the other words, to quote McBancy, “shut up and do the work”!
•It will be nice to get support from all quarters to push Ghanaian music globally. However, that support is NEVER A RIGHT. It is never in the place of the artist to demand the support or consumption of the audience. Nobody owes you their time and attention.
•Once upon a time, our brothers in comedy used to spend a lot of time being bitter and complaining about how Ghanaians were not supporting their work. Today, it is those same Ghanaians who are buying out their shows.
•We are all witnessing the great work Baba Sadiq is doing in the industry. He is not spending his time demanding your attention, he is building products that you cannot ignore.
•I have spent a good number of years trying to package and present our Ghanaian history and heritage in ways that can seriously improve the tourism potential of the country. I have faced some of the most impossible odds, sometimes, at a great personal sacrifice. Never have I ever felt entitled to the support of Ghanaians or the powers that be. I know a time is coming when you cannot ignore my work. I have been putting in the efforts in the last couple of years to build something unprecedented in Africa.
•Let us play the long game and stop wasting our time and energy on silly distractions. Let us focus on what matters and build for the future. Build strong!