Last week, a Migo ( that’s how it works right? One Migo, three Migos?) was dragged by his loc across the span of the internet by Nigerian Twitter. You can watch the video here, but i’ll give you the run-down.
They were asked on a sports show what surprised them the most about their recent trip to Nigeria, and this was the response:
“We were surprised (with the reception we got) because it’s a third world country and there’s a lot of struggle in the city. To see that first hand was amazing. And for them to come to the show and know everything (lyrics) word-for-word. They were looking, they paid attention to everything that was going on. They knew word-for-word and their English wasn’t even that good”
It appears they were trying to be complimentary. And maaaybe i can forgive them for not knowing that the term ‘third world’ is patronizing-borderline offensive and hasn’t made clear contextual sense since the fall of the Soviet Union. I might even be able to forgive them for not knowing that English is in-fact the official language in Nigeria, although… 0_0
But what i find eternally irksome, like a mosquito bite in-between the toes, is the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling African prophecy which they are participating in; NO MATTER what, where, who, how, when or why, the only thing too many people that visit Africa go back saying is “omg the people are so poor and starving but they seem so happy, it was beautiful”. EYE ROLL
I mean think about it for a second: Migos most likely flew to Lagos business class, went through the VIP lounge, were greeted by entertainment types who spoke impeccable (likely accented cos you know how we are about unnecessary slangs) English, got chauffeured in something expensive and German WITH a police escort, stayed in a 5 star hotel on BI or VI. I bet the tickets to the concert were expensive enough to ensure that attendees were predominantly middle class and above. But the ONLY thing he noticed was the struggle and bad english. Yeah mkay. Mtchew. However, if you go looking for/ expecting poverty, struggle and illiteracy, then that is what you will find.
This goes well beyond Migos. I’ve had expats who i’m responsible for entertaining/ chaperoning tell me “this is nice and all, but i want to see the real Ghana”. ‘The real [insert African country]’ is just coded speak for the pre-conceived notion that if there aren’t lions, huts, or street kids in tattered clothes azonto-ing through the pain, then you aren’t having an authentic African experience.
No lie,that irks the shyte out of me. If i am very much Ghanaian and i take you to places i go IN GHANA, then bih that IS authentic! Where do you get off saying it isn’t because it doesn’t conform to your poverty porn paradigm? As Naija fam say, are you a learner???
And i highlight this point as someone who was critical of ‘An African City’ for straining so hard to show the ‘other side’ of Ghana that it became pantomime. But as Chima the Great told us… “the danger of a single story is not that it is untrue, but it is incomplete”.
Yes we have amazing wildlife, and abject poverty, and sus as hell English speakers. But we are ALSO a continent where a good many people ball outta control as a matter of course, eating at fancy restaurants, popping moet, and still hitting up their favourite roadside chopbar on Sunday afternoon for the omo-tuo special.
When you are given the chance to experience the multi-story line version, how bout you simmer down, toss your ‘This is Africa’ checklist out of the window (like we do with our garbage smh) and let US show YOU how we really live.
What do think guys. Am i being hyper-sensitive and doing the mostest? lol Let me know!
And welcome to part #1846 of “i promise ill blog more consistently this time” lol