There’s incredible power in the arts to inspire and influence. ~Julie Taymor
It’s the 8th day of February; Happy New Month to y’all beloved readers. Wishing you colours and no gloominess in every part of your lives in this new month.
It is an open secret that the month of February is the declared month of love all thanks to Saint Valentine (I think I’d probably leave that topic till next week)
First, trust y’all have been doing really great and have been enjoying the blog so far ‘cause since my last post, my brain wouldn’t stop harassing me with contents and blog inspirations and I’m so excited that I had such a great incentive towards achieving consistency on this platform this year (praise God!)
A R G U M E N T
Yes, you read right! I am a passionate arguer . I mean argument makes my adrenaline pop like melanin???.
Okay, don’t get me wrong?. I’m not talking unintelligent and intellectually degrading arguments or lovers quarrels (that one is exhausting), I mean arguments that boost and resets IQ ? and the truth is, those kind of things always start out as a conversation until A disagrees and B don’t think A has a point and A is trying to make his/her point very valid.
Again, I am very unwinnable with arguments. You just cannot win!? It’s like I’m always prepared you know – I’ve always got something to say (I mean not just anything, something meaningful that weakens your point) truthfully, arguments can go sour at times and I can be really pissed that you can feel it in my voice cos it can come out very strong and those kind of moments are 1 in 10 but I had that one in 10 recently.
Wait, I’m not saying I’m one of those people who get angry when they probably ‘lose’ (I hardly lose); some arguments are just an expression of a myopic view and it can be annoying and some people just need to be schooled.
But as much as I love arguments, I know when to walk away from one! In fact I can claim wrong just so you can be right. It doesn’t have to be heated. Some people can become angry or that you’ll start wondering if you guys are fighting because you’re trying to discredit their point.
Two weeks ago, I was having a discussion with my dad about a popular Nigerian hiphop he has been enjoying lately and had put in a repeat mode and that song is ‘If’ by Davido. For me, I don’t do much hiphops but I’m not unaware of them.
My Dad loves music a lot but I just couldn’t understand the new found love for that song. So he asked me if the guy really had 30 billion (he was like does this guy really know what 30 billion is or he was just singing?)
Now the interesting part is, sometimes I engage in some arguments because I simply enjoy the art (having different opinions thrown around with each one trying to take prominence – there’s always something to laugh at! The out of proportion, the ridiculousness of someone’s opinions, etc).
So I told my Dad, Davido knows what he said; he definitely has the money (what was I thinking?? I don’t know Davido but I know he is not broke).
So my Dad was like okay o!
Flash forward to last week.
My Dad was listening to the song again and two men walked into our shop; they wanted to type some letters and do some printings and somehow, the 30 billion conversation came up and this man said Davido did not even know what 30 billion is, he was merely singing.
I didn’t talk.
Dad was like thank you o! these children are about to make me feel like I don’t know what I’m saying.
The man proceeded and said, Davido does not even know what 1 billion is.
Mehn! I was irritated. What’s my own àbí? Is Davido my Uncle? ?
You know, I was almost trying to reason with him with the mathematical breakdown of how many million makes 30 billion until he said dude doesn’t even know what a billion looks like.
I was giving it to the man straight and hot. Now, I wasn’t arguing about Davido’s 30 billion and 1 billion.
The man was like that’s a whole budget of a country/state
And I was like so you’re telling me that there are no artistes outside the country who has more than a state could own with their assets and investments total?
The other man was looking at me . . .
Then he said you seemed to be in the know a lot in these things!
The other man said she did Art!
Then he said oh! I see. Well then, did you know Davido’s friends died recently. . .
I was quick to tell him the name of the guy who died (I was trying to tell him, I may not be listening to all those songs but I know all those shii)
Then he relayed another version of the story says it was a bet of 200k that got the guy to overdose on 30 shots of whatever and those guys don’t have nothing.
Then I told him so a guy can’t want to have money he didn’t work for again! It’s a normal stuff to be in company of your guys and there’s a free money around and you be like guys, I’m up for it! Let’s do it!
From the conversation, I could tell it was no longer about Davido again.
I told him so it’s unrealistic that a musician who works his ass off in the studio making music, trying on beats, releasing hit tracks, being recognized internationally and having a sold out 30 billion concert can’t have 30 billion or even a billion?
He didn’t say anything.
Then I completed my sentence. I said if it were to be a Doctor or a Nurse who boasted of 30 billion, you aint gonna argue that cos he’s probably got United Nations and all paying him in dollars cos science is that lucrative and art cant just give that much. (yes, I was pissed).
That was the end of the conversation.
I no longer care if those guys have that much or not, I care how demeaning he thinks of Creatives.
The man left saying I should have studied Law cos I’d be one badass Annalise Keating (without the dirt I hope) well, I get that a lot!
Then I remembered something that happened to me during that week. It was on a Sunday and I had been in the Northern part of Nigeria for a long time and a lot of things had changed getting back home like we now have a new Pastor. So, my Dad introduced me to this man when he asked if I was one of my father’s children.
The conversation was like this
Pastor – So you’ve been in the North all these while?
Me – Yes Sir. Kebbi precisely.
Pastor – Oh! I know that place. We were in Jos before we got transferred here.
Me – Oh okay!
Pastor – So what did you study?
Me – English Sir.
Pastor – English? You want to become a Teacher too (my parents are teachers)
I wanted to tell him I didn’t do Education; just Art – so I don’t have to be a Teacher if I don’t want to be but I kept quiet.
Pastor – So what next?
Popc be like she wants to do her masters (Nigerian parents can make your eyes see nonsense)
Pastor – In what?
Me – Literature Sir.
Pastor – Ah! All those courses are not lucrative! The money is in sciences. Science is dignifying.
Jesus! I felt insulted (let me just stop the conversation there).
. . . See, overtime, Art has been one of the most insulted and spited field in Nigeria and overtime, we’ve witnessed quite a lot of acceptance and a number of growth and acknowledgement but it is still gross and sad that there is still a high number of Nigerians who still look at Art through the disgusted and poverty-ridden eye.
It is more like you have to be poverty-minded to want to end up in Art when you could study a science related course. It doesn’t matter what aspects of Art; all that matters is you just can’t be serious about choosing Art over Science.
Although with the advent of technology, social media, spike in Nigerian literature growth and recognition, visual arts/paintings, some parents no longer try to influence their children’s decision as it concerns their career choice. They can only advice not enforce or influence which is the usual average Nigerian way. My parents tried influencing mine but that’s a story for another day.
The point is, in Nigeria, a student with reasonable grades or excellence in Science related subjects is considered a good candidate for Science Department while the not-so-good ones are pushed to Art and the not-so-average ones are pushed into the commercials. So yea, it is believed that dull students are in the Arts Department but now, thinking about it, you gotta be smart to function in Art (you gotta be really smart, creative and sensitive to opportunities and your creative nudge to be Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellis Tracie Ross, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Keke, Queen Latifa, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jojo Moyes, etc.) but in Nigeria they tend to call the shots for you (at least back then – and still now sometimes), my parents tried doing it for me 7 years ago.
The school chooses career path for you by grades, convinces your parents or your parents convinces you (thankfully the school thinks their way) and they encourage you with the tempting financial benefits of Science – medicine, nursing, (those two especially), engineering, technology, etc.
An average Nigerian parent would say if A can do it, you can do it too! Science is not that hard! Science sells! A science graduate is never jobless. If you do nursing, medicine, international organizations will always be on the lookout for you! In fact, they’d be trying to steal you from one firm to the other plus extra spiritual nuances (prophecies and all).
My parents told me some of those things.
That’s why we tend to find instances of personalities running away from Science into Arts because they wanted to do what they wanted to do and not what their parents wanted them to do (e.g. Adichie, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, etc.)
… Pressured by social and familial expectations, Adichie ‘did what I was supposed to do’ and began to study medicine at the University of Nigeria. After a year and a half, she decided to pursue her ambitions as a writer, dropped out of medical school and took up a communication scholarship in the US… curled from The heroine collective.
… He attended the Abeokuta Grammar School in Abeokuta and later he was sent to London in 1958 to study medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music, the trumpet being his preferred instrument. While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazz and highlife.
curled from Vanguard Nigeria
and also there are instances of people who satisfied their parents first and later went on to do their dang thing (more like, Parents wanted A to study Aviation and A did and after that, A knew he was never gonna practice, so A went back to school to study Journalism that he had always wanted). Those people are the real MVPs; maybe that would have been my case but it didn’t. I fought my way early and for now, I can say I’m the only Art person in my family; 3 of my sisters are into science and are doing well for themselves and sometimes I do get the jabs (more like I wasted my smartness on Art instead of Science) but it’s cool, I love what I do and I’m hopeful about my career path. I believe in it! And you know what, I can never be poor! (my declaration in Bishop Oyedepo‘s voice)
So guys, there is still a level of hostility, segregation, bias and racism towards Art in favour of Science but I hope that with time, we would have a Nigeria where parents in their bid to help their child aim for a secured future don’t make them waste some years on satisfying them.
I hope that with time, Nigerian parents would fully come to the realization that sometimes, what a child needs is guidance and not enforcement; that people can live a very frustrated life and become depressed doing a job they don’t enjoy even if the cash flows ceaselessly.
I hope they understand that most of the time, what a child needs is a little bit of faith that he/she could make the right choice and when it feels low along the way, encouragement, believing in them and meeting their career needs is all the incentive they need.
Working a job you enjoy is an essential factor that helps in living a fulfilled life and when a person does what he/she enjoys, it doesn’t feel like job but more like living!
Sometimes we can become scared of poverty that we plunge into a path that leads to quick rich that we don’t enjoy because the path feels like stress.
Wealth is not measured by how much but how worth mentally and intellectually.
A smart mind is never poor! Intellect is a life assurance. ~ Ìbùkúnwrites
Let’s not give our children a yardstick of success and wealth to aspire to because the society dictates it that way!
Let our children grow through the process of believing in what they go after! Let them decide their own yardstick of wealth. Let them decide when it is enough and when there is more to chase! Let them realize that happiness comes most time from being satisfied with what you do cos what you do leads to what you have and you can have more if you want more!
No career choice is limiting, only you can limit you! ~ Ìbùkúnwrites
Your potential is a great asset! Let’s encourage our children on whatever they want to do so far it is noble!
Some parents can identify their children’s flare at a very young age but would choose not to encourage it because it is not just financially secured. They’d choose to buy him/her Anatomy Jane (Grey’s anatomy ?) when what he/she needs is lots and lots of literature texts.
Choose always, the happiness and fulfillment of your child over his/her financial gains. There is a thing called frustrating wealth. ~ Ìbùkúnwrites
That’ll be all today! Hope you picked one or two things.
PS: apologies for the long post without an heads up ?
Do you have a Nigerian parent story about your career choice? Heard any? Noticed the disparity between Art and Science? Do share in the comment section!