Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's Complicated - Hold Me Back (Nigeria) by Rick Ross

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Today's music video is not romance but more about the love-hate relationship most of us have for Nigeria, and for those outsiders who try to portray the country in any sort of realistic manner. From BBC documentaries, to comments by Oprah, a lot of us get riled up by this so-called "single story" of Nigeria. MI is one of the few rappers I listen to, and it was through him I found out about this video. I won't say I'm thrilled or overjoyed by it, but I never forget that indeed, up to 80% of Nigerians live that reality.

Anyway, how I found out was that MI had decided to reply the disgruntled elements on social media who were outraged that the video was shot only in the slums of Nigeria and felt it would give a negative perception of the country to those who saw it. Seriously, why are we so bothered? Aren't there more productive ways to channel our angst at the bruised and battered image of Nigeria? Anyway, I am late to the party and I probably won't say it better than MI.

Does it make you angry? Does it rile you to see your country portrayed as poor and suffering and full of struggle?

It burns you, does it not? To have some foreigner- who knows nothing of your history and pain, of the stories that flow within your blood- to have this foreigner come in and tell your story?

Is it not the height of disrespect and insensitivity? Does it not chafe against the thick skin you have grown to cover your other wounds?

Does it not make you angry?

We should wax sanctimonious about national pride being slighted.

We should vent our displeasure online.

We should occupy something.

Because God forbid the truth ever be told about what things really are.

God forbid a stranger remind us about those things we choose to ignore everyday.

God forbid we ever face the truth about ourselves.

God forbid we do not go on the internet and rail about how our country is being cast in bad light. God forbid we do not talk about how there is a small minority which lives better than portrayed. God forbid we do not ignore truth one more time.

God forbid we don’t.



Well, if it does make you angry, don't let anyone hold you back. And more than just words, do something. I'm beyond cheap talk, now more than ever, I believe that saying about the hunt, the hunter and his story. How many Nigerian stories have you told today? And I don't mean #shopritetins on twitter.

Let's stop burying our heads in the sand or try whitewashing a broken wall. Let us start telling our stories, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. Write it down, print it, publish it, blog it, say it or put it on video. If you are in a position to directly help out, then do so, and stop whining.


  1. Well im in no way offended by the Video, the Video is the Actuality of Nigeria, with a high percertage of illeteracy (40%), a high unemployment rate (22%), a huge amount of people in the country that live below the poverty line (70%), and a Swelling population (170million people), this video depicts everyday life for most Nigerians, yes i know a lot of Nigerians that are educated and that dont represent the Nigeria seen in the Video, but thats just my social circle.... i have learned to realize that Nigeria is bigger than my social circle.

    if anything, im actually grateful that the video has some Artistic flair to it.
    i love my country nigeria, but with love, you have to accept both the good and the bad, soo im accepting the Good and the Bad, with the hope that Nigeria would be better in the future.

  2. A lot of us are too fake, trying to cover up an open wound. What good will it do a cat pretending to be a goat? Truth is truth, however bitter it could be.

  3. I told you Myne that things here at home nearly fell apart earlier this year because I felt misled about Nigeria, it wasn't at all what I was told and we moved our whole lives up there. my other half felf slighted by my " disdain". After a very long battle where he kept insisting that we are leaving for good in 10 years, I just plain out told him there is no way I and my children are moving to some God forsaken third world country. I know that hurt him deeply but it was the only way to give him a wake up call to the fact I would never sacrifice myself like that again. Nothing works up there.

  4. I agree...stop with the whining PLEASE!!! GO MI! :D!!!

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  6. MI's comment is so on point, we need to stop living in fantasy land. Nigeria is not where it should be and we should not be offended when foreigners decide to teach us our job.

  7. I wasn't angered by the video at all; I was even worried because I felt strange since most people seemed to be angry.

    Here's what I think: Nigerians (the few that "live" on twitter, blogs,blackberry etc.) have become so comfortable with the image that they forget that Nigeria is much more than VGC things and Banana Island things, but that a larger percentage of the people live the life portrayed in the video. So to me, it is more of denying reality and trying to keep the "fine boy, fine girl swag" we are known for in some circles.

    I think MI was on point though. Very sad the amount of insults he got because of his comments.

  8. Most times, we live in denial....we have lived with the filth, shame and pain for so long its a part of us. I guess seeing it from another person's eyes was a rude shock and hence the anger.

    The anger doesn't wipe out the fact that as a country we need a moral shift, we need to ache so hard for a change that we begin to be the change we desire.

  9. Nothing Rick Ross has depicted here goes far from the truth either in Nigeria or many other countries, there are many people right here in America who are homeless, uneducated and dirt poor.

    I went to a village in Delta a few years ago and I cried, these people are hemorrhaging billions of dollars for Nigeria daily and they are so impoverished.

    Mr Ross has exposed the clear irony of life in Nigeria from the poverty stricken people living in the swamps to the ones who paid N1, 000 000 for tables at his concert...go figure.


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