By Ehis Ohunyon
The recent revelations by a number of Nollywood actresses that they’ve been victims of domestic violence has made the topic a widely discussed one in the Nigerian society. Mercy Aigbe revealed photos of her bruised face, no thanks to several beatings by her husband Lanre Gentry. Tonto Dikeh as well alleged that Churchill Olakunle, now her ex husband- had abused her on several occasions.
However, fellow actress Monalisa Chinda said in an interview that although domestic violence is not acceptable, sometimes women are the cause as a result of the ‘sharp mouth’ that could provoke their spouses into beating them. It led to a response by Uche Ogbodo during her interview with NET TV that domestic violence could never be justified by that reason. All of the above has once again, thrust the conversation to the front burner.
Domestic violence is a plague that has been inherent for ages especially in Nigeria. It borders on abuse in different ways on both the man and the woman which has led to broken families and at times resulted in the loss of lives. The norm in this part of the world is to live through the pain just because of the shame that comes with what the public will say but with the advent of social media, we have seen more people coming out to tell their stories.
A flip through our national dailies reveals different tales of abuse, rape and physical violence in many homes. Domestic violence in whatever form is something that should never be excused or rationalized as it is a cankerworm that eats into every section of the nation. The rich, the poor, the regular families and even celebrities have had stories to tell and bruises to show with many still not bold enough to cry out.
Music and society have always been intertwined; it has always served as a tool for reflecting happenings within the society at various times. Perhaps this is why some regard music as the voice for the voiceless because it manages to capture images and raise topics that stimulates consciousness and public debate.
With all genres of music being available to a wider number of the population on a daily basis through traditional and social media, a run through of the large volume of Nigerian music will reveal an industry that has over the years turned a blind eye to societal issues and sacrificed it all at the altar of scoring a hit record.
Outside a handful of A-list artistes who have taken a stand through their music to pivot various causes, the Nigerian artiste really needs to do more in touching some familiar themes with their music. In no particular order, here is a list of five songs that have been inspired by the ills of domestic violence.
1. Waje – So Inspired
Prior to the release of her debut album W.A.J.E. In 2011, the talented singer Waje dropped a promotional single featuring female rapper Muna titled So Inspired. The song which grew into a hit record tells the story of a woman, who despite the trauma of constant violence and abuse in her relationship is determined to rise above the situation, as she chooses to find strength from within to motivate herself into reaching her goals in life. It is an inspirational song that approaches the matter from a different angle as it urges females in that situation to never stop aspiring for greatness.
2. M.I, Eldee, Omawunmi, Waje – Violence against Women
Sometime in 2012, the four artistes in partnership with an NGO released a free album titled Violence against Women. The album contained four tracks and focused on the qualities of the woman, giving a voice to their situations and encouraged more women to speak up. It paraded songs like Real Man performed by M.I Abaga, Good Man by Eldee, Enough is Enough by Omawunmi and New Morning by Waje. A personal favourite of this writer is Good Man performed by Eldee, where he details certain attributes a good man should have. He rapped ‘Three rules: never raise a hand to hurt a single hair/ Rule number two: listen to her like you care/ Rule number three is more important than the others, it’s simple: respect every woman like your mother’.
3. Reminisce – Ponmile
With four successful albums, lucrative endorsement deals and a glowing applause by TIME Magazine as one of the ‘seven world rappers you should meet’; local rapper Reminisce is one of the most influential names in the industry. After a fairly quiet 2017, he recently scored a major hit with the release of the song Ponmile which translates loosely into Honour me. The song touches on jealousy, broken commitment and an abusive relationship with a befitting video accompanying it. This is not the first time Reminisce will be singing on a track but this is probably the one time that leaves you with an ethereal feeling. The jazzy flow, smooth delivery, the strings at the end and feel good rhythm that accompanies the message perfectly highlights the issue of emotional damage in a relationship.
4. Korede Bello -Let Him Go
Off his debut album Mavin Record star, Korede Bello in his characteristic comical and light mode addresses the issue of domestic violence in his song, Let Him Go. He encourages any woman who is suffering from physical abuse in a relationship to get out of it as she is jollof rice, a Nigerian expression for something special. ‘Man wey dey beat you, let him go o…. let him know that you deserve the best, let him know that you worth nothing less’. The overall good humour of the song follows in what has made Korede Bello popular amongst his Bellovers and if this is the way the message could be best passed across to his teeming pool of young fans largely made up of teenage girls; then he may have succeeded in removing the ambiguity that sometimes comes with the message.
5. Cobhams Asuquo ft. Falz – Boosit
This track is not exactly focused on domestic violence as it generally addresses societal issues. The first verse targets politicians with failed promises who treat their fellow humans like livestock; but it is the second verse that is rather epic, as Falz lends his bars to the topic of domestic violence. ‘Wife beater like your Popsi, striking resemblance… kill me for my mama, already with your bare hands… every single night, you are drunk as a skunk/when you come through the door, you say what’s up with a punch‘. He also touched on the subject of rape even amongst married couples. It is surprising that this song never got to become a mainstream success as the combination of Cobhams and Falz did justice to the track.
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