The past few days has been tough for Davido. First he released the much anticipated music video of his hit song, “Skelewu”, to the disappointment of his fans who feel the video fell short of the hype it received. Then came his attempts to avoid taking responsibility for the poor quality of the video, instead blaming it on Sesan, the video director. This led to an embarrassing exchange of words, with Davido painted as ‘irresponsible and immature’ by the annoyed filmmaker.
Let’s deal with the video first. The ‘Skelewu’ video wasn’t particularly awful. Any other song would have been given that video, and hailed as the best video yet. But not “Skelewu”. ‘Skelewu’ is on another level. The hype it has been given (over $3000 worth of hype), and the popularity that it has amassed since its release has raised expectations beyond reasoning. It would only take God to leave his throne and direct a ‘perfect’ video, before the criticisms will abate.
Sesan the video director is an absolute professional, who has shot countless top quality videos. His previous works speak for him. Having worked on D’banj’s “Mr. Endowed (Remix)”, Tiwa Savage’s “Love Me Love Me”, and the Award-winning video, Oliver Twist. He was the go-to guy for the defunct Mohits Records and he obviously knows his onions. How he was able to create the below par work for Davido still beats reasoning. But then, the clients have the final say. Davido saw nothing wrong with the video, and Sesan received his payment in full.
Director Sesan shot the ‘Skelewu’ video, and Davido approved of it.
Sesan has not denied the video. He accepts it proudly as his effort, even with the criticisms and all, he has not flinched. Neither has he tried to lay the blame on Davido.
Which brings us to Davido’s ‘leak’ stunt, or prank. It has been alleged, that Davido saw the final work, approved it, and authorized its release. But after getting a fair amount of negative feedback from his fans, he panicked, and took the easy way out; cook up a ‘leak story, blame Sesan for the poor video, deny responsibility for the release, and splash money on another director (this time, Moe Musa. He couldn’t pay God) to create a new video. How mature does that sound?
Davido is 20 years old. He was born in 1992, in the US. He sings for a living, and he’s very good at it. By age 11, he had already begun to make good music. It is entirely possible that he spends his free time reading Newspaper opinionated columns, digesting the deep works of Wole Soyinka, and debating global politics in Lagos coffee shops, but he’s never mentioned it on Twitter. Neither has there been evidence that he does such.
The manner, in which he has responded to the criticisms of the “Skelewu” video, has not exactly been the most mature. He could have handled it in a number of ways. Like accepting responsibility, taking the negative feedback as an opportunity for professional growth, and then going ahead to remake the video to meet public approval. He could even have risen above it with a comment like, “Criticism accepted. Time to prove you all wrong. Omo Baba Olowo”.
But that’s not the way it played out. And in the end he has come out looking immature and disrespectful of Sesan. The saddest part of this saga is that Davido probably thinks he has done the right thing.
It was unwise for him to blame the affair on an ‘anonymous leaker’. Firstly because the criticisms were valid. Secondly because we are not kids. His words are being spoken to intelligent, free-thinking Nigerians, who faithfully listen, analyze, ruminate, and draw conclusions. And thirdly because there is a certain breed of journalists that treats celebrity accusations of bad practice as a faux pas akin to sleeping with a good woman and never calling her again.
Davido is only 20 years old, and his actions point to that.
But why would Davido know any of this? He’s only 20. He reacted to criticisms honestly, and you don’t have to read very far between the lines to see the case he was making, albeit in a particularly clumsy fashion. Musicians are not noted for their ability to concisely deal with issues such as a failed video project and how it correlates to an increasingly commercialized audience, in a brutal and cynical media environment.
The sad thing is that the next time someone gives Davido honest criticism, he’ll probably just mumble a one-word answer and then slip away. And this, of course, will be the moment when we ask ourselves where all his delightful arrogance and showy character have gone.
We’ll miss our 20 year old.