By Benjamin Njoku
Controversy is said to be one of the hallmarks of music superstars across the world. And Nigeria’s Grammy award-winning singer, Damini Ogulu popularly known as Burna Boy is no exception.
Burna Boy, like his American counterpart, Kanye West is inseparable from controversy. Call it his second nature and you may not be wrong.
In fact, many have associated the singer’s name with controversies in the past, yet the self-acclaimed African Giant does not give a damn what people think about him.
Since his controversial ‘tribute’ appearance at the 2013 Felabration which drew the ire of the late Afrobeat legend’s family till date, Burna Boy has been courting controversy with his comments and actions. And the recent shooting saga at the popular Cubana nightclub in Lagos, is the latest in Burna Boy’s long relationship with controversy.
It’s also a further revalidation of the saying that ‘the leopard cannot change its spot.’
The scandal currently dominating discourse in the public space has to do with one of the policemen attached to the singer who shot indiscriminately at two fun seekers, Irebami Lawrence and Tolu at a popular nightclub in Lagos.
Reports had it that the superstar was making unwelcome advances at the wife of one of his victims, which resulted in the shooting spree.
Unfortunately, while the incident has sparked harsh reactions on the internet, with the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba directing the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Abiodun Alabi, to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter, Burna Boy has disappeared into thin air.
The Odogwu singer is said to have fled the country shortly after the incident, leaving his team and police escorts to their fate. During the week, Burna shared a photo of himself performing on stage at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain on his Instagram page.
In another post, Burna wrote: Portugal, meaning that he has left Spain for the southern European country. He also hinted at his forthcoming album, saying: “18 days to Love, Damini! Where and with whom will you listen to the album when it drops?”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Burna Boy broke his silence following the club shooting saga.”Nigerian social media can say Burna Boy started Boko Haram and he won’t be shocked,”he tweeted.
Despite building an incredible career from genius-level music and headline-generating stunts, Burna Boy is no stranger to controversy. For years, the African Giant had been enmeshed in controversies that almost ruined his career and personality.
Recall in November 2017, when the police accused Burna Boy of being the brain behind the attack and robbery of Mr. 2kay at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, after his performance.
Burna went underground for weeks before he later turned himself in and was arraigned in court on a two-count charge. But the matter was resolved after the singer was released on bail to end 2017 on a sad note. Also, reports claimed that Burna Boy’s date with controversy started way back in the United Kingdom, in 2010, after he allegedly stabbed someone to death. He was reportedly tried as a minor and was sentenced to jail. The singer has since denied the allegation, describing it as false and malicious.
But it didn’t stop there. In 2015, Burna Boy made the headlines for being involved in a pool side fracas with Zimbabwean dancehall star, Buffalo Soulja in South Africa .
However, before then, Orbeat, the producer of his hit song, Soke, reportedly accused him of owing him production efforts and allegedly releasing the single, Acting Bad without his consent. While he was yet to resolve the issue with his producer, the African Giant got involved in another controversy, where he threatened to physically harm bloggers whom he claimed were spreading false reports about him.
“These bloggers are writing shit thinking it’s a game until I see yall face to face one-day and hospitalize or murk you. We gon meet 1day #onsight” he had tweeted.
The same year, he sustained the buzz after he posed with a gun and shared the picture on his Instagram page with the caption: . “This is not a movie or music video. Trust me, daddy.”
Burna was severely criticized on social media for posting that picture. But he later bowed to pressure and deleted the picture after he was heavily criticized by his fans.
Also, recall that his co-residents once reported the singer to the police for public disturbance. It happened shortly after the singer came under attack from Cameroonian-born singer, Dencia who tagged him ‘an industry bully.’
“Burna Boy is one of the biggest haters in the industry. Like I get it, ugly people are ugly inside out but this is disturbing, he tries to hate and bully everyone, him and his fat ass GF, match made in hate heaven,” Dencia wrote.
Another unforgettable saga happened in 2019, when the singer called out the organisers of the annual music and arts festival for printing his names on the poster of the event in small letters. According to him, he represents a whole generation of solid African creatives globally and therefore, deserve to be given a prominent space on the poster.
Burna reiterated that he is an ‘’African Giant’ who wouldn’t be reduced to whatever the tiny writing meant while urging the organisers to fix things quickly.
Expectedly, the singer’s outburst triggered reactions from his fans, forcing the organisers to effect a correction on the poster by enlarging his name.
Just a few months back, Burna Boy got everyone talking again after he claimed to be the highest-paid artist in Africa. Specifically, the Odogwu singer claimed he’s richer than some recognisable names like Davido and Wizkid. He made the claim, while he went live on Instagram from his private jet on the 26th of March 2022. However, some critics refuted his claims, saying: “Davido get money pass you” and he laughed it off as he responded: “How?”
Also, “Wizkid get money pass you.” Responding, Burna Boy said: “That’s not true, but he’s still my man though.” He reiterated the fact that he wasn’t joking at all, adding: “Anybody wey e pain, work harder” meaning anyone angry about the fact, should work harder.
The singer’s latest scandal only reinforces his old nature. From the foregoing, it will not be wrong to refer to Burna Boy as the king of controversies in Africa as his name keeps getting associated with controversies every now and then.
Yes, Burna Boy has captured the world’s attention with his music, but to what end, we can’t be sure. Is he truly helping his brand with this kind of lifestyle or destroying it? Or maybe it is a little bit of both? It remains to be seen what kind of impact his recent scandal will have on his career and personality. But fans of the Grammy award-winning music star know that ‘controversy is kind of ‘his stock in trade.’