January 6, 2022

Young African artistes need to promote unity, not rift – Ajisebutu

Young African artistes need to promote unity, not rift – Ajisebutu

…counsels African music veterans to mentor, unify upcoming artistes

By Gabriel Ewepu

A veteran Nigerian musician and producer, Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu, Thursday, urged young African artistes on the need to promote unity in the continent with their intellectual property instead of creating unnecessary rift amongst themselves.

Ajisebutu who expressed concern and decried the recent rifts between Nigerian and Ghanaian music artistes, said disunity among African artists and the hostile environment seams to be creating a vacuum in the entertainment industry.

He also mentioned that it is either a Nigerian artiste or a Ghanaian artiste cannot get along; or a South African artiste and Benin Republic artiste cannot get along, and others, which he described as serious cause for concern as it affects African music image and exports.

Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu is an entrepreneur, a musician, activist, public speaker and the owner of the music record label MansMark Records. He is also the owner of A.Y.ZERO a streetwear clothing brand.

He has also featured African Grammy Award Winner, Angélique Kidjo, including Youssou N’Dour and Miles Davis in the yet to be released Babatunde Olatunji’s tribute album.

The iconic music veteran has been promoting, mentoring and inspiring young people to become change agents by spreading the truth of humanity’s interconnectedness and oneness.

He said: “I am concerned about the disunity among African artists and the hostile environment it seams to be creating as time goes by. These days, it’s either a Nigerian artist and a Ghanaian artist can’t get along; or a South African artist and Benin Republic artist can’t get along, and others.

“This is a serious cause for concern because Afro music is one of Africa’s biggest exports.”

However, as the convener of Africa Love Fest, a festival aimed at strengthening unity amongst Africans, he (Ajisebutu) counseled African music veterans including Angélique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, Wouter Kellerman, Femi Kuti, amongst others to mentor and unify upcoming artistes in the continent to strengthen the African brotherhood in order not to see themselves as rivals and competitors but to compliment one another’s work and effort in the spirit of African brotherhood.

He further stated it has become necessary at this point for them to lend their voices in bridging the divide between young African artistes, and stressed that African music and art remain veritable tool for social transformation that should be used unify and not divide the continent.

“I believe it is time for the elders in the industry, across the entire continent, to pay attention to guiding these younger ones. From Angélique Kidjo to King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, Femi Kuti, Wouter Kellerman, Baaba Maal, Alpha Blondy, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Ebo Taylor, Oumou Sangaré, Akon, and others, a deliberate effort must be put to help bring all our younger ones together.

‘We must seek to stand for the unity of African artistes, regardless of nationality. The elders could also act as peace makers in this type of situations.

“There’s a Yoruba adage that says Agba ki wa loja, ki ori omo titun o wo, which means ‘the infant’s head does not bend when the elders are in the market’. So we as elders ought not to let things get out of hand.

“Elders can help to guide younger artistes in creating quality lyrics and images that promote African values”, he said.

He added that, “It greatly bothers me anytime I hear African artistes use the word ‘nigger’ in their songs. This is a racial slur that must not be adopted nor accepted.

“More importantly, as the proud owner of the last studio recording of Nigeria’s late master drummer, Babatunde Adetunji who was appointed cultural ambassador by Kwame Nkrumah, I owe it as a duty to him to promote cultural harmony amongst Africans like he would have done. I owe it as a duty to act as a cultural ambassador in promoting unity and love for our African culture as he did all his life.”