- calls on elders in industry to guide younger artists
Following recent rifts between Nigerian and Ghanian music artists, veteran musician and producer, Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu has called on fellow senior musicians across Africa, to help in promoting dialogue and rapport among younger African artists in view of uniting the continent.
Ajisebutu who is the convener of Africa Love Fest (a festival aimed at strengthening unity amongst Africans), called on Angélique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, Wouter Kellerman, Femi Kuti, amongst others to lend their voices in bridging the divide between young African artists. He emphasised that African music and art is a powerful tool for social transformation hence must be used as a tool to unify not divide.
Prince Ayo Manuel who is the owner of the last official studio recording of Nigeria’s late legendary drummer, Babatunde Olatunji, also spoke on the importance of mentoring African artists on creating quality lyrics rather than adopting and accepting dirty slurs.
“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 Ghanian artist can’t get along; or a South African artist and Benin Republic artist can’t get along, etc. This is a serious cause for concern because Afro music is one of Africa’s biggest exports.
“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, etc. A deliberate effort must be put to help bring all our younger ones together. We must seek to stand for the unity of African artists, regardless of nationality,” Ajisebutu said.
Further speaking, he said: “The elders could also act as peace makers in these types 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 artists in creating quality lyrics and images that promote African values. For example, it greatly bothers me anytime I hear African artists 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.”
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. Prince Ayo Manuel has featured Angélique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour and Miles Davis in the yet to be released Babatunde Olatunji’s tribute album. Prince Ayo Manuel has a mission to inspire youths to become change agents by spreading the truth of humanity’s interconnectedness and oneness.