For someone who calls himself an African Giant and claims that the battle he is fighting for is not limited to him, but about respect for the African artist, his every step since ascending the throne seems to be that of constant disrespect for his contemporaries and trying to make anyone other than himself, less.
Society is a pod of class — upper, middle, and lower class — and with that comes distinctions and judgments. Across these classes, the upper class gets the most stick, at times valid, as their success is limited to what we feel their background affords them.
It’s a never-ending cycle of sentimental judgments and while class understandably will never go out of any conversation in a society where the rich represent just about 1% of the population, the chatter gets excessive and sometimes, lazy.
This conversation resurfaced recently when Burna Boy seemingly takes shots at Davido via an Instagram post after Davido crowned himself and Wizkid as the ‘‘2 greatest of all time.’’ Burna never enjoys being left out of any conversation, especially one that connotes greatness, he is that confident in his talent and industry, posting a response that reads, ‘‘everybody knows you cannot play football…but your daddy bought the football team”.
My approach to any trending discussion lately has been to simply observe and watch it die down as a new topic surfaces but an article by established writer and critic Oris Aigbokhaevbolo caught my eye and compelled this piece. [Note, this is not a rebuttal]
What Oris has achieved knowingly or not in trying to ‘find a balance’ is the same thing that has encouraged Burna’s endless rants. Providing logic every time a baby cries, even when everything has been made available for the child.
First, we all know there is more to this Burna Boy and Davido fall-out than those posts.
Secondly, it is impossible to take Davido’s privilege brought by his father’s name out of his story, the evidence of its opening doors or making access easier is everywhere in his come-up, but to make that the centerpiece of his story and success in 2020, close to a decade after he started this journey is mad unfair and that is not a Davido problem, that is a ‘you’ problem.
The article referenced Davido’s Wikipedia page and while the page contains stories and links covering his journey and highlight, what a Wikipedia page will usually not show are details of a young Davido risking his father’s support at the early stages to pursue his dream, or him handing Flytime owner, Cecil Hammond his demo CD in the hope of getting signed, not that he needed the deal, or walking up to Modenine, who was the more established act at the time and trying to get him to record on a beat he produced.
He battled his father resisting his career and understood the need to push through the crowd just as everyone else did, he even attempted talent shows and became a nuisance at producer’s sessions because he was insistent on learning and proving his father wrong.
Like Davido, there is a reason why the Alte kids bear the brunt of social media jokes regularly, one only partly tied to their music. Same reason why the Private and Public Universities debate will never go away. You listen to these debates and it reeks often of jealousy.
Conceivably, the jealousy from the lower class is valid, especially with how some assume the wealth was accumulated, but it should never lead to hate or a reduction of their achievement to the simple argument of background. While a background of wealth is a springboard, success from any background requires much more than that springboard, and no matter how persuasive these arguments we put forward are, it’s not authority.
For every Davido that has made a success out of his career, there is a long list of rich kids who dabbled in art but failed or still struggle to be accepted, so why do we keep banging on about this issue?
Tolani Otedola, daughter of business magnate and Forbes rated billionaire, Femi Otedola made her industry debut in 2017 with an album that had the likes of Ali Tennant famous for working with Jessie J, David Guetta, Westlife, and Anthony Marshall who has produced for Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Craig David, and Nelly Furtado. The launch had as attendees her father, top dignitaries and several present and past state governors.
Despite being a Music graduate from a London institution, Tolani has yet to enjoy any level of acceptance while her sister Cuppy who arguably is limited in her Deejaying skill get the stick more for being defiant in flaunting her father’s wealth.
Davido has had to navigate unending criticisms through the course of his career; from being mocked for his hoarse voice, getting stupidly called out for using songwriters and the less-loved in his past rivalry with Wizkid, but when it comes to acting like a spoilt privileged kid, I could argue that Burna plays the role better; a look at the handling and candor of both acts during their press run in the US media puts this into perspective.
See, cynicism towards the success and privilege of rich kids needs to stop. These kids didn’t choose their backgrounds, none of us did. But to reduce their success to their father’s name, diminishing their hard work and hours they put in is wrong. Davido is succeeding not only because his father is worth $800 million, it takes a lot to become Davido and remain Davido.
It is on the society to examine the wide divide among its classes but it would help if we stop judging people, and I don’t see why these said rich kids should be cornered to reduce the influence of their background on their accelerated growth and privileges. It is what it is, and at the end of the day, success can be bought, but it is near unfeasible to sustain it without quality. Davido has earned his achievements on his terms and desire, and deserves the respect that comes with that.