LETTER TO ANITA BAKER
Greetings to you from the association of ex-Anita Baker fans in Nigeria.
Hope your flight back to the US was fun and eventful – and hope the pilot allowed the cabin crew and all passengers to stand on their chairs and hop to the sound of your music. Was the pilot kind enough to allow you use the cockpit as in-flight stage?
I ask because I know those are the kind of things you like; the kind of treatment we mere mortals should give higher beings like yourself. And I know that, usually, for us to prevent you from having what you like, is dangerous – not for you, but for us.
And at this point, permit me to congratulate you on your exploit during your recent trip to Nigeria. You arrived the country on Wednesday August 27 and left on the 30th, yet no one could lay eyes on you – not those nosy reporters who like to intrude your privacy; not the jobless fans who left their homes to come and watch you perform. We are still rejoicing on your behalf, because this is a feat no other act has been able to perform. Not Beyonce. Not Mary J. Not Missy Elliot. Not even Diana Ross!
The organisers set up the hall Banquet style, expecting you to jump on stage and do your thing. You, a whole you? Anita Baker? Where were the screaming fans? The wailing ladies and drooling men? How can they even take you to the Expo Hall, when they could have hired the national stadium in Surulere? When the Tafawa Balewa square in Lagos is still standing? What an insult. How can some mere mortals be wining and dining while you, the almighty Anita are busy performing? What part of Anita Baker don’t they understand?
Well, blame them not. Let’s assume they don’t have access to google. Or perhaps they thought that at well over 50, having been there and done that, you’ll be a warm, kind mother figure who’ll have mercy upon them and forgive their trespasses.
But you, dear Anita, goofed. Let’s not call a spade by any other name. And that’s why we’re all dumping our Anita fan card and joining the anti-Anita campaign. After several decades in the business, you should have known by now that fans and the media are very important to any artiste’s career. Toy with them and pay the price. Yet you choose to spit in the face of Nigerian journalists while you told fans to ‘go to hell’.
To ignore fans that have paid as much as N100, 000 each to see you perform, for very flimsy reasons, is to claim that we are all a nuisance; lesser beings not worth carrying the sole of your shoes. And to refuse honouring an earlier scheduled meeting with Journalists very unbecoming of someone of your calibre.
Why then did you travel all the way to Nigeria?
Yes ma’am, you had a rider. Yes, the organisers may have violated some terms and conditions. And you had every right to throw a tantrum if things were not looking the way you’ve been assured they would. But in a world where consumer is king; where the end, most times justifies the means, wouldn’t it have been just proper to show up and honour fans who have waited for you all night?
Dear Anita, showbiz is about the Love and the money. You got both on your trip to Lagos: You got paid in full; high calibre fans showed you mad love when you first landed Lagos. Many more were waiting to show you unrestrained love on the night on Saturday august 30… They came out with their families; the media was waiting, just to capture the moments. What did you give in return? You threw their love back in their faces; throwing a tantrum that’ll make Kanye West look like a nice, reasonable dude.
Why did you let your ‘beef’ with the promoters overwhelm you reasoning? Why would you come all the way to Nigeria, for a gig you’d been preparing for since June, and refuse to appear on stage, because of some details that could have been sorted?
And I blame you not, madam. I blame my people who treat anything from America as superior. If not, why would anyone risk their funds on a yesteryears act like you? You may never have heard of Onyeka Onwenu or Salawa Abeni. But they are our own home-grown divas. Just like you, they have paid their dues and come of age. And they can fill TBS and the national stadium – if only our promoters will look their way instead of shopping abroad for over-pampered divas like you who think the world begins and ends with them; and that fans are just a burden.
We hope and pray you never return to Nigeria. For, we will hire boys from Mushin, Ajegunle, and Okokomaiko. We will equip them with stones, pure water sachets and a certain plant called werepe. Don’t ask me what they’ll do with it. You. Just. Come.
Once more, thanks for insulting the Nigerian media. Thanks for ignoring your fans in Nigeria. Thanks for achieving a feat that’ll now make our promoters begin to look inwards when they have big-budget concerts to execute.
Your former fan.