The year 2020 was a bag of contrasting emotions mangled together for Nigerians. The country’s brightest minds transcended milestones while having to fight for their collective dignity and their right to live freely through the EndSARS movement. The ability of Nigerians to juggle surviving in unjust conditions while excelling in their fields is quite remarkable, and the country’s presence in the latest Time100 Next 2021 speaks volumes of the potential of its emerging leaders who are shaping the future. Among the Nigerians on the list, Davido is the name that shines brightly as music’s representative.
After releasing two critically and commercially successful albums in 2020, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Davido found his way unto this list. During the globally publicized EndSARS protests of last year, his song “Fem” somehow managed to be the de-facto song of the struggle.
Even though the lyrics of the song were not in direct relation with the protests’ cause, the catchiness and sing-along appeal made it a must-play at protest grounds across the country. Fem, which is a colloquial word meaning “shut up”, was what Nigerians told the government to do if whatever they had to say was not relevant to the betterment of Nigerian lives.
Born David Adedeji Adeleke, Davido has had to continuously prove his doubters wrong all his career, and he has done so admirably. After dropping out of college in the US (to the dismay and fury of his father), he was courageous enough to chase his dreams of doing music. It’s safe to say his decision has been justified, but he has had to jump hurdle after hurdle since then. He continues to stand his ground in an increasingly competitive industry despite criticisms of his vocal range and content.
Perhaps, the resentment for his musical persona may come from the feeling that he had an easier route to fame considering his affluent background (unlike fellow afropop superstars Burna Boy and Wizkid who had relatively humble backgrounds), or maybe his use of ghostwriters (something he has never been ashamed to admit).
Davido has continued to exert his influence on the entertainment industry in Nigeria and precincts beyond. With international collaborations with high profile artistes such as Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, and Nas, he has been able to extend his influence beyond the shores of Africa.
By all indications, he’s just getting started. But for now, he has done enough to earn his flowers.