By: Opeyemi Adebayo
Entertainment they say is the food and tonic of the soul. If you are worried or stressed, research shows that you should listen to music, watch movies or read to ease your worries at least for a little while.
The Nigerian entertainment industry has been on a meteoric rise over the years, there has been continuous improvement and strides to meet up with international standards. Our industry which was never before reckoned with outside of the country is now the bedrock of entertainment in Africa. The entertainment industry here includes the movies, fashion, reality shows and of course the music industry which has made a quantum leap from what it used to be to what it is now.
The music industry in Nigeria has transformed from one that awakens the sensitivity of the people to national issues to one that promotes excessive show of wealth, nudity, drugs and portrayal of women as sex toys. Gone are the days when drugs were forbidden substances that could not be discussed openly except on awareness programmes. Now anybody can sing a whole track from beginning to the end and all you hear is the promotion of these godforsaken objects of doom.
Music, as well as other forms of entertainment, is a veritable tool for social development but sadly, gone are the days of conscious and thought provoking songs. Now all we get to listen to are songs from youths promoting sexual immorality, presenting women as slags and sluts (which may lead to several other vices), promoting substance abuse in order to get high/low.
My question then is ‘How can these be called leaders of tomorrow, let alone hope of the nation?
What is the hope of a country where sanity has been traded for folly? Where anyone who doesn’t tag along is seen as a slacker and treated as a second class citizen? A country where negative peer pressure is continually on the increase and even the so called ‘good ones’ don’t want to be left out of the fun?
The youth watch their mates make big money, flaunt cars, houses and ‘beautiful’ ladies and all they can think of is how to get themselves to such positions. It is of little wonder that youth of today can easily be lured into self-destructive acts like smoking, sexual assault of the opposite sex, drug trafficking etc. and not see anything wrong with it or not even show remorse if they are eventually caught. All because the showbiz world now sets the standard which our society lives by. Our girls now have to dress in a certain way to meet up, our boys now have to do certain things to be relevant.
The disheartening part is that the secondary school ‘children’ are not left out of this craze, they equally hunt for music lyrics and videos, and worst of all, they spend precious time memorizing the lyrics of these songs that add no value to them. Little wonder the WAEC (West African Examination Council), NECO (National Examination Council) and UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) results have maintained a downward glide in recent years.
With all these indices, Nigeria’s future appears doomed because the youths we rely on are people with low self-esteem who can easily be tossed around, youths who don’t have minds of their own to discern right from wrong. Youths that have wrong influences and are made to believe the pseudo world the entertainment industry portrays is real. Personally, I feel the boom in our entertainment industry has led to a concomitant increase in drug addiction, internet fraud, indecent dressing, wayward behavior and lack of concentration on the part of our youth population.
I could go on and on about the negative effects of the music industry on the Nigerian youth and the overall effect on the future of this nation but of what use will it be if afterwards, no changes are made and the problem persists or even increases, all would just amount to whining.
Therefore, government through its parastatals like The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, The National Orientation Agency, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Information etc. should awaken to these realities.
Parents also play a key role in this struggle. Yes, technology has made everything easily accessible and ‘smuggle able’, so even if parents monitor what the children watch at home, do they still monitor the content on their mobile phones and electronic gadgets? My opinion, they should adopt the best methods in managing and dealing with the orientation and socialization of their kids.
The stars too should see themselves as agents of change. It is not really about the money, they wield a lot of influence and they should be able to make positive impact. We should have more contents that promote modesty and decency rather than excesses and nudity, contents that would resuscitate our about-to-go-into-extinction cultures and traditions so as to help the youth and prevent the nation from being directionless.
This piece will not be fulfilled if the concerned group ‘the youth’ who are the consumers of these contents are not involved in the reformation process. They should awaken to their responsibilities and realize that they are the absolute dictators of what would be and what would not be in the society.
The youths should learn to sieve songs with unhealthy lyrics, demeaning videos, questionable celebrity lifestyles influences and should be able to say no to promotion of indecent dressing, semi-pornography as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
Nigeria needs focused youths that will engage in profitable ventures and spend time on self-building. We need reliable future leaders with sound and sane minds, healthy music and healthy excitement to drive the country forward.