Imagine the double standards.
Thousands of weddings happen in Nigeria every weekend.
By their makeup, weddings are family events – everyone is there from infants to teens and even great-grandparents.
Yet, the soundtrack of every wedding is music from Nigerian pop stars, either played by a DJ, or by a live band.
Our kids get introduced to the music of Davido, Wizkid, Psquare, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Tekno, and co, mostly at family events – end of year parties, weddings, even their own birthday parties. They get introduced to a lot of wrong aspects of our culture and other inappropriate shenanigans through Africa Magic and Nollywood, mostly because they sit around when their parents and guardians watch these channels.
The media focuses full attention on pop culture – my own kids got introduced to most of the new Nigerian music and musicians because they watched The Voice with their mother. Now they want to meet Waje, and my elder child can’t believe 2baba carried her when she was a baby!
This is our reality as of today and it’s not entirely a negative development. Whilst we must guard the kind of content our kids consume, the kind of lifestyles they seek to imbibe, we must also understand that celebrities mean many things, and pass so many messages beyond the content of their work or their media image. And it’s our duty to decide what parts of pop culture we want to expose our kids to, and for what reasons.
Wizkid and Davido are not necessarily the best ‘role models’ for your kids, but are there lessons to teach them from these stars’ life stories? It’s the same thing for Jay Z and Kim Kardashian and D’banj and Fela and even KSA. We may not approve of aspects of their lives, but we must not deny that they have created some remarkable art, built incredible successes from nothing, and inspired millions around the world.
What we shouldn’t be doing is exposing our kids to them and their works without any guidance or context.
And if I have an opportunity to sit with my kids at an event featuring any of these people, I’d be too glad to provide background notes and have a healthy discussion about the good and bad, and why.
We are in an era where it’s becoming increasingly impossible to shut out what the media wants to feed you. And since we cannot exactly control the media, the responsibility is on us as parents and guardians to spend quality time with our kids, and raise them the way we want.
This idea of thinking schools, churches, celebs and the media are responsible for how our kids turn out, is lazy, escapist and dangerous.
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