In Sierra Leone, Journalists and Musicians all line up in unison to attack and denigrate the name of the head of state and other members of the establishment with intent to gain financially, as they package their nasty lyrics and fabricated stories to a gullible audience that is prepared to digest any garbage thrown at them disguised as calling the government to account. Emmerson Boackarie, a wannabe pop-star, knows full well that the only way he could sell records and gain recognition, is by singing lyrics conveying a distorted view of the reality on the ground. The desperation to gain international fame and recognition sometimes lead musicians to engage in unconventional methods to attract the attention of media organisations and International NGO’s to rake in financial benefits by claiming they are calling the government to account. Bockarie knows that by singing the traditional way through well constructed lyrics that do not convey any political twist at all will not attract the attention of the masses, and hence no sales. Bockarie also knows, as recently proven, that if he sings controversial songs, he would get the attention of the VOA or the BBC and a possible interview on live radio and benefit from the 15 seconds fame, something which he desperately needs if he is to break into the international music scene. Most of the songs from Musicians like Bockarie or Innocent or even Laj, all have a dramatic political blend geared towards instigating controversy or tribal acrimony. That’s the only way their songs will sell, as the talent and self-belief is somewhat non-existent to produce music with natural lyrics from a poetic know-how.
Music is supposed to be an art of sound in time that one uses to express ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color, but when the art is corrupted by daft influences, mixed with witless politics, it all becomes tasteless. Especially, when the music itself loses its substance as the artist engages in deliberate attempt to use music to destroy the hard-earned reputation of others. Just as journalists who embark on a campaign to denigrate the good name of the Head of State, reckless wannabe pop stars have towed the line by releasing songs with lyrics that convey nothing but what is truly far from the socio-political reality on the ground, and that definitely comes across as a criminal attempt to hold the government in power hostage with blackmail written all over. Emmerson and his cohorts’ shameless distortion of the development reality taking place across the country is simply disgraceful as the lyrics resonate mostly what is written on social media by their advocates-in-chief who spend useless hours they should be engaging in better activities, attacking the head of state and other members of his administration. It would have been difficult to criticize Emmerson and his co-conspirators, if they had also mentioned the achievements of the government and head of state and then highlight on any failings they may have observed. But, to embark on a deliberate campaign to lie is suspect in itself about the true intentions they hold.
Emmerson’s actions may also be reflective of having been influenced by others who may have failed to get the Head of State’s approval in pushing through their own business or personal agenda. Approaching the government or head of state with a request or asking for favours and not being granted does not warrant anyone to call the president incompetent or corrupt. But it has been the case that Civil Societies, Youth Organisations, Journalists, and Musicians, all queue up with high financial reward expectations from the presidency and if these demands are not fulfilled or addressed, they result in a systematic campaign of abuse and profanity directed at the Head of State. Social Media platforms are all littered with gross abuse of President Koroma where little or no respect is even shown for his high office. Culprits take turns in insulting government officials as if they did not benefit at all from proper domestic upbringing, resonating badly on their parents who may not have done a pretty job teaching them what respect for authority is all about. Lack of proper schooling may also be a dominant factor here as half-backed academic achievements can prevent a good sense of discernment.
Music in Sierra Leone has become a huge source of financial benefit for the likes of Emmerson, Laj and Innocent, it is no more used to promote peace, harmony or love. It is now a political tool to harass the government and blackmail the Head of State into the agenda of a few whose selfish interests are far from being national. News organisations and NGO’s should be cognizant of the criminal nature of such behaviour by some who want to hold the government to ransom for their own selfish gain.
First Published on: Jan 11, 2014
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