The P-Square controversy

By Ab-Davidson Nwohonja on

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Recently, a conflict was reported between the Okoye twins, Peter and Jude Okoye, owners of the P-Square musical act. The conflict started with Jude keeping away from his twin brother’s traditional wedding on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

It was held at Ark Event Centre, Lekki in Lagos State. And since then, Jude’s absence from the wedding has caused a lot of raised eye-brows by the group’s fans and other music followers.

Then came July 17, 2014, eight months later, when Peter seemingly reciprocated the act by staying away from Jude’s traditional wedding, which was held in Nnewi, Anambra State. And expectedly, more eye-brows have been raised; just as the media and music followers raised many issues concerning the development.

A large number of the people expressed unhappiness with the development, fearing that it might end up destroying the cohesion of the group. They also feared that it could dent the group’s image as Nigeria’s most popular musical group of the moment.

Some went as far as comparing them to Abba, the Swedish group, which also had internal conflicts in the late eighties and early 90s, and of which the Swedish government had to step in to try and mend fences for them. The government was said to have done that because the country was getting a lot of foreign exchange and image boost from the group. For this reason, the P-Square followers think the group has influence and following across Africa which was to Nigeria’s advantage.

But yours truly cannot be among such music followers bothered by the development. The reason is simple; first, the P-Square conflict is not the first conflict of stars recorded in history – either within or outside Nigeria’s shores – and would not be the last.

Second, conflict of stars has not always been what they seem. Agreed there have been real conflicts, but there have also been contrived conflicts. Some have turned out to be creations of the media and creations of fans and music followers. Some have also been generated through speculations by music marketers and, or the stars themselves, which they contrive for commercial purposes.

Therefore, how is anyone sure that what is unfolding is not one big publicity or promotional stunt, and why should people let it bother them?

Conflicts and disagreements, between musicians and actors, have always been the forte of stars, both as individuals and as groups. It has occurred so many times in the past, with some being so explosive that in comparison, the Peter and Jude version will pale into insignificance.

Yes, we saw it with Abba, the all-conquering Swedish group; we saw it with Bonny M, the flamboyant German/black group; we saw it with Jacksons, the brothers; and we saw it between Michael Jackson and Manu Dibango. We have seen it with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and the Wailers as a whole; and with several other groups and musical personalities. Actors like Angelina Joli and Jenifer Aniston, had burst ups; and also Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte; and Yul Brynner and Steve Mcqueen.

At home, there was the Oriental Brothers; the Wings; the Mandators; BLO; Love Rock; Ikenga Super Stars; et al. they all had their own conflicts and disagreements, both collectively and individually.

These conflicts are sometimes observed within the songs they sing, or outside of it. A very good example was that between late Oliver the Coque and late Osita Osadebe (even though they denied it in the media); we saw Ezebuiro Obinna (Sir Warrior) disagree with Kabaka Opara and Dansatch Opara, all originally of Oriental brothers. We recall also that Osadebe also once had a bust-up with Ikenga Superstars of Africa; and Juju greats, Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade did not go without some conflicts.

Many schools of thought agree that wherever and whenever gifted and talented individuals come together for a project, that there is bound to be such ruptures as each try to express herself or himself. But in the end it usually turns out a plus for the industry and the listening enjoyment of music followers. Such conflicts and disagreements are known to have brought out the best in artists in terms of creativity, for each always finds ways of expressing himself or herself in the most creative and impactful way. So why should people fret because the P-Square twins are having some bust-ups?

As stated above, some of such conflicts in the past are known to have been actually contrived by the stars, by film and music producers and marketers; and by the followers. Also, as stated above some past disagreements were contrived solely for popularity/publicity and commercial purposes just to excite fans and stimulate demand for the artiste’s works.

One of the numerous international examples was that of Roy C, in the early 1970s, whose “Sex and Soul” album was promoted in Nigeria with some conflict stories. But how authentic those stories were, many have not been able to attest to them even up till today.

The “Sex and Soul” album has its core theme as the betrayal of a loved wife, and a friend. The wife, the story went, was Candi Staton, the beautiful Soul star; and the friend was Clarence Carter, the blind rhythm and blues maestro. The stories had it that Roy C., whose full names were Roy Charles Hammond, were betrayed by Staton and Carter who slept together behind his back.

Stories of the conflict were easily supported by some of the lyrics in their songs. For instance, Roy C moaned throughout the songs in the album like: those days are gone; I’m gonna get somebody else’s woman; I’m falling in love again; She kept on walking; I found a man in my bed.

Specifically, he declared in the later:

“I never thought a babe will ever ruin my life.

Not till I found another man with my wife.

I can’t stop the tears, falling from my eyes.

Why should she deceive and told me all those lies?

I’ll need somebody”…

 

On the other hand, Carter’s lyrics in “I got caught making love to another man’s wife” supported the theory well.

He had sung:

                           I went over to see my friend yesterday

His own lady told me he has gone away

She said she was burning with desire

And she wanted me to put off the fire

I got caught, making love to another man’s wife…

On the part of Staton, some of her songs like “Stand by your man” and “young hearts run free” appeared to lend support to the conflict.

Particularly, the later had in it:

“What's the sense in sharing this one and only life

Ending up just another lost and lonely wife

You count up the years and they will be filled with tears…

 

Say I'm gonna turn loose

A thousand times a day

How can I turn loose

When I just can't break away (when I just can't break away)

 

Oh, young hearts run free

They'll never be hung up, hung up like my man and me

You and me

Ooh, young hearts, to yourself be true

Don't be no fool when love really don't love you

Don't love you.

In the end, the trio (Roy C, Candi Staton, and Clarence Carter) became household names in Nigeria, and their songs were run-away hits.

Now, the crux of this article is not so much on the betrayal and hurt of Roy C, but on the fact that a “conflict” was introduced in the industry in Nigeria, which some schools of thought believed was deliberately contrived.

This explains why rather than being troubled by the P-Square conflict, one is keeping fingers crossed to see how it all turns out. Like the legendary Jimmy Cliff in the title of one of his classics you are advised to just “Keep your eyes on the sparrow”.

 

Posted on August, 21 2014

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