Monday, October 16, 2006

More on the This Day shindig

We've slowly been getting reports from people who went to the This Day Independence Day party in Lagos - Beyonce, Jaz-Z etc. Just to remind you, the VIP tickets were going for N100,000, the 'cheap' seats were a mere N25,000 (nearly two hundred dollars).

Only the area near the front of the stage was packed, the rest of the venue was practically empty. It was mostly governors and other old politicos jigging away at the front - to Beyonce! It must have been a bit odd for the performers whose usual average audience age back home is between 12 and 15 to have 60-75 year olds agbada'd and gele'd up in front of them. The whole caboodle cost This Day US$10m apparently - they made a loss. Boo hoo. If they'd planned a TBS N2500 come-one-come-all jobby then half of Lagos would have turned up and they'd have made their money. But that might have been a security migraine.

The story of the show is a parable for Nigerian society writ large in a way: you have the old guard, controlling and cavorting, with the ghana-mus-go bags flying hither thither. The youngsters are locked and priced out, their energy dissipated through a thousand strategies of frustration..

Things will change.

Meanwhile, Beyonce had a hissy fit at the standard of the American Airlines chartered plane they brought the artistes over in. She refused to travel back in the same plane, taking a First Class BA flight via London instead. Naomi you may just have a contender for precious-little-madam-of-the-year 2006 award..

23 comments:

Anonymous,  11:39 pm  

exactly, why not even #1000, here in yankee the beyonce concert i went to cost only $35. get a huge auditorium and that's money

Anonymous,  3:35 am  

just because the place wasnt full doesn'tmean they didnt turn a profit. i 'd like to see the raw figures from this event

Anonymous,  8:15 am  

i never would've figured beyonce for the hissy fit type...

great blog by the way

Soul 11:59 am  

erm jeremy..
the usual crowd for beyonce or jay z and loadsa those peeps are not 12 - 15 year olds.

you have been misinformed or have mis-guessed this.

Anonymous,  12:04 pm  

Hey Jeremy, I dont know where you got your information but most of it is practically untrue. The prices were a bit steep no doubt but the venue was still packed.

Thisday reduced the price to about 10 000 especially for students and most people got in with the much reduced 10 000 naira ticket.There were less people on Sunday but I believe that has more to do with the fact that it rained most of the day & because folks had to travel back to their respective destinations to get ready for work on monday.

Eni - B of thisday wrote an article about it in yesterday's paper and I would recommend you read it. The crowd was much more than old politicians & the usual suspects. It was really a microcosm of Nigeria - people of various tribes & cultures; the young & the old; the rich & area boys etc - all bound together by our love of music.

The highlight of the show was when Beyonce led us all in the rendition of our anthem - tears rolled down people's cheeks; people sang in unity with a patriotic fervour and pride that was second to none.

If only you were there Jeremy, I can picture singing along to the national anthem with a sense of pride in your adopted home .....

Nkem 2:10 pm  

Anonymous 3. Please pass the sick bucket...

Jeremy 2:24 pm  

Soul: I thought everyone knew that the fan-base of Beyonce, Jay-Z and all these talentless eminently forgetable pieces of mall trash is 12-15 year olds (of course, most hip-hop is sold to pubescent white boys in places like Milwaukee).

Anonymous - I wouldnt have had the slightest interest in going along to such events, even if I was paid to attend. Very few people will remember these vacuous 'artistes' in 10 years time. More to the point, I wouldnt want to support a system which continues to value foreign music imports over local talent. How ironic that some in Nigeria choose to celebrate 'independence' by yet again relying on imports - intrinsically devaluing what we have here.

The idea that tickets sold even for N10,000 enables a broad spectrum of Nigerians to attend betrays your ignorance of what that amount means to most people. It is considerably more than the per-capita monthly income of Nigeria (which currently hovers at the dollar-a-day mark).

Anonymous,  2:38 pm  

how many studens can affford N10,000? certainly not me. My friends who went were paid for by Aristos

Soul 4:17 pm  

Again Jeremy,
you are incorrect. Jay-Z's fan base is most definitely not composed of 12 - 15 year olds.
You might want to check up on your facts.
And secondly.. Whilst I am not a Jay-Z fan, I think it is ridiculous for you to claim that he is a talentless piece of trash

I'd like to see you attempt a rap, and attempt his lyricism or wordplay.
Again i'm not a fan, but your down play of a talent which even the greats recognise is nothing short of snooty ignorance.

I don't know these guys personally and I don't need to, I'm not even a fan of Jay-Z, yet I recognise his talent, even though it's not even my favourite genre.
Do not let your ignorance on a subject cloud your judgement.

Busta created an almost entirely new 'flow' os word play, Jay-Z although he is a bitter of biggie's lyrics and some tupac stuff. he still has a dynamic flow and is a business man.
Missy Elliot is one of the premier female producers out there
Beyonce might not be to your liking, but no other 25 year old in preent day music has been able to combine entertainment with musicality the way she has done.. and that girl can 'riff' the roof off a church.
Can you do what she does?, how many singers do you know who can do what she does.. that is sing, dance and be entertaining.

These people are talented entertainers. That you cannot deny.

Just because you don't like them doesn't mean that they are talentless.
in anycase, Jay-Z's crowd is most definitely in the mid 20's to late 30's. whetther you like to admit it or not.

Beyonce's appeal is is from teens all the way through to adults in their 40's. You might not like it but that's what it is.
Don't negate them by trying to undermine them with inaccuracies.
You do not need to portray them in anyway to say you don't like the genre or like those particular artists.

Jeremy 5:08 pm  

I know we would never agree on this Soul - of course these people have talent and technique - they wouldnt be the successful stars they are if not. But will we remember them?

The deeper question is what they represent: the commodification of black experience. Conscious rap and a few other notable exceptions aside, mainstream hip-hop and swing simply reinforces stereotypes about black men - via representations of the hypersexualised black male body, and supreme egotism. There is little expressive truth of black American experience in any of this. Its hard to take so much contemporary hip-hop as anything other than a symptom of plantocratic malaise, rather than anything like an expressive contestation against the plantocracy. And it is the music industry which markets the euphemism of 'urban' music to the alienated souls of Milwaukee.

We are a long from the spiritual and expressive heights of the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gil Scott Heron, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Nina etc etc. Just as we are a long way from the civil rights movement and a revolutionary consciousness in black America..

Shango,  6:23 pm  

First, stop picking on Milwaukee, they're nice people there. :-)

Second, I would love to put you, White Englander, in front of some militant black rapper and have him listen to you denigrate his "art form". See how long you last. I'd buy a ticket to that show...

kemi,  6:27 pm  

Soul abeg go and siddon, you dey yan opax. Beyonce is a pop-star and she appeals to pre-teens and teens mainly. Those of us who loved Destiny's Child 10 years ago wouldn' be caught buying Beyonce's album now.

The day that America calls Nigerian artists to celebrate July the 4th.

It just doesn't make any sense.

Can you imagine Kwara state actually named a street after Jay-Z?

Soul 6:31 pm  

Jeremy.. you cannot have it both ways..
You described the artists as 'talentless eminently forgetable pieces of mall trash'
Now you say they have talent. which one is it?
My objection was to your attempt at a snooty degredation because of their style of music and because you do not like the artists in question.

Will they be remembered?. It's ten years since tupac died and he is remembered.
Why shouldn't Jay-Z? especially since his empire stretches beyond music to include the sports industry. Again, I'll say this, you might not like him or his style of music but to deny his place is to alert people to your own ignorance on the specific genre in question. Jay-Z is at legendary status in hip-hop, hip-hop is the best selling form of music in the 21st century so far.

Even if he is just a foot note in history the fact is from the late 90's up until now. Jay-Z's name is engraved in history. That is simply a fact.

The black experience has always been commodified, what the hell do you think Elvis Presley was doing?, and what about Jazz and RnB and blues?.

Swing died in the 90's Jeremy. People haven't mass produced swing for over a decade so what exactly are you on about?

Now, I've said it and said it time and time again, Hip-Hop is dead. And it seems NAs one of the key contributors to Hip-Hop agrees with me. What you are witnessing is Hip-Pop and I don't like it one bit.

As much as I hate what hip hop has turned into which is misogynistic, elementary, weak, debased and lyrically deficient. You cannot accuse those artists who attended that event of all of those charges.

You are wrong. You were wrong for describing them as talentless and you were wrong about their main buying audience.

jeremy you claim there is little expressive truth of the black experience in any of this - AGAIN WRONG.
You might not know it but Jay-Z raps about what goes on in the 'hood', which is an expression of a PART of the TRUE African American experience. The experience isn't all about college educated preppy kids Jeremy, people are dying in the hood, teenagers are selling craxk rock in the hood, teens are getting pregnant, there are schools with no textbooks in brooklyn!.

Ever lived in those notorious housing estates? like marcy projects right at the end of 125th street? Yeah, there is shit going down that you wouldn't believe.

The problem has always been how debased can we get? and hip hop is showing exactly that.
There are of course other aspects, and Jay-Z's last album reflected that, you'd be a fool not to notice that.

Before you go off on a tangent into the spiritual highs of Marvin Gaye, Gill Scott Heron, Jimi and Nina.. come back down and let's take a look at what we have now..

If you are looking for spiritual highs then point your ear towards common, Mos Def, the roots Crew, Guru e.t.c. there are many out there.

Again this is coming from me, someone who thinks hip-hop is dead.
I haven't even gotten started on beyonce who actually isn't even a hip-hop artists.

Hip hop has become the bastard child of the Heroin addict.
And hiphoppers seem to love the fact that their artists don't pretend to be less than flawed. So Nas can talk about the hood and talk about upliftment.
When Nas says: 'Nikki Giovanni, Michael Eric Dyson....let's try to be like em'.
Tell me isn't that upliftment. You ever read a Nikki Giovanni poem?
Yet we also know on the other hand Nas can get as raw as he needs to be.. case in point on ochie wally.

Again I'll say, make your point, if you personally don't like the artists.. say so.. if you are wrong.. say so..
don't try to invent reasons why you were wrong or not admit it.
It's unbecomihng.

Jeremy 6:45 pm  

We're not arguing from different standpoints really are we Soul? I really like common, I even like my Kanye, and certainly Mos Def has always been an incisive voice. I think we're both equally dismayed by the pop/channel o/MTV Base version of hip-hop and its destructive effects.

But really and truly - all this stuff sells in much more volume to white boys trying to rebel against their suburban parents than anyone else. Sad but true - any record company exec will tell you.

At this point, it seems hard to imagine how a positive revolutionary fervour can be re-awakened around the world. It's almost impossible to compare black American music (of all genres) of the 1960's and 1970's to today's music and not feel sad that we live in such cynical times.

Still, films like LaChappell's Rize show that there is still a pre-commodified edge (clowning and crunking) to black American culture that does achieve non-stereotypical modes of expression.

My Talking Beginnings 8:38 pm  

Is annonymous joking? I mean the annonymous person who was so kind as to point out that thisday "reduced" the price for the tickets for the students to 10effing grand!!
This is just the sort of thinking that has wrecked Nigeria. People are so detached from the young...the future. Even in huge capitalist soceities like the UK, high ticket prices were frowned upon reference the discussion during madge's tour in the summer. Nobody i know went, instead we all hung out at a friend's apartment which overlooked the venue. common sense isnt common afterall. I agree with kemi who pointed out the fact that Americans will NEVER import anyone to perform for the cherished july 4th thing. And then the audacity of our so called leaders to "jig" to beyonce...i rest my case!

Soul 2:12 pm  

hmm, somethings we say the same others we are very far away.
I know who the main audience is for 'hip-pop', I have no problem with a form of musical expression targeting a specific 'audience' my problem is with their immense denial about it.
Still, I can't deny the talent of some of those people who performed at the 'show' even if I don't personally like their music. I can't deny their talent. simple.


In anycase, I was going to say this earlier...
'You couldn't pay me to fly on American Ailines, hell no'. add to that United airlines I like breathing and I have absolutely no confidence in those 2 airlines..
I'd sooner have flown the now defunct Nigerian Airways, than either of those two. Period.

If I was beyonce, I would do exactly the same, heck, I don't even have to be Beyonce to do that. If work sent me on a trip and booked me on either of those 2 airlines, I would either buy a new ticket or just not go.

Anonymous,  2:51 pm  

anonymous 2. I know for definite that they didn't turn a profit. and some of us said that this whole thing would be a flop (finanically) and we feel vindicated. We had suggested making it a mass market event. but no, the chief needed all his political croonies to party.

I must admit I was embarrassed to see how our own artists were treated compare to the foreigners. Such an unequal treatment gotto stop.

N10,000 is too expensive even for journalists let alone students. The whole event was a total mess. yes, they pulled it off, but it was a flop on so many different levels.

Anonymous,  5:21 pm  

funny how white boys always know everything about black people
Jay Z is a good "rapper" turn bizman, white boy called the street is a crackhead.
If nigerians dont invite them they wont come so stop blaming others!

kemi,  10:38 pm  

Anonymous said...
funny how white boys always know everything about black people


Kemi said...
Funny how a 37 year old man is being called a "white boy" on his own blog. Imagine the furore if a 37 year old black man was being called a "black boy"....

Jeremy, you are not judicious enough with your comment blocking.

Jeremy 9:54 am  

Kemi I'm really not so brittle as to be affended by someone calling me a boy. As a white British person, calling me a boy means very little. Indeed, there is a sense in which 'boys' in British English is a compliment, as in 'he's one of the boys'. On the other hand, I once worked as a temp in a posh estate agents near Marble Arch, where the boss-woman called all the young guys who worked for her 'Boy' in an overloud voice. That, clearly, was her tripping on her power.

But I would not, despite its common use in Nigeria to enforce seniority, refer to a black guy as a boy. There are too many loaded references to slavery and colonialism.

Is it right that a black Nigerian (or is he black British - who knows?) can call a white guy 'boy' and not the other way round? Probably not. But colonialism and slavery have messed with the playing field. The symbolic resonances count.

Anonymous,  10:14 am  

i hear you jeremy. but you can be an apologist sometime.

Kemi is right - for a change - you should have blocked this one. Sometimes, I am not even sure that you are blocking comments enough. when black men have refered to me as a white boy, it is to belittle me and this person was clearly trying to belittle.

unfortunately the turn of history means that he can do so and we can't. Pity. But if I had a blog, history or no history, I will not tolerate a black man calling me a 'white boy' because I know it is to belittle and for him to reclaim somekind of diminished power.

Tarquin

k,  8:46 pm  

anonymous5. well said. you obviously work for this day.

i bet you the editor used your salary to host that party.

your boss is so shameless.

soul, you are missing the point.

TRAE 4:00 am  

i actually do agree with Soul on this. Jeremy i can sum you up in one word on this post: ignorant and disrespectful! won't be remembered...what a load of rubbish. Shango...do you blog?...let me check. i really am liking your thought flow. anyways i've being going through your other post (doing catch up cos of the NYSC thingy), big ups.

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