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MISOGYNY IN CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN MUSIC: A STUDY OF IYANYA’S AND OLAMIDE’S LYRICS
1.0 Background to the Study
Music is essential to life; it is an important part of a people’s way of life and it plays a key role in various human social activities. It expresses emotions and ideas. It is organized to perform certain effects on people’s minds and it exists in the society to set up code of conduct for societal benefit. Music is essential for edifying, educating, informing and entertaining of the society. Music performance is done with various techniques; it can be purely vocal or instrumental or vocal with the accompaniment of instruments. Vocal music ranges from singing to rapping. Vocal music consists of lyrics. Lyrics are words that make up a song. It usually consists of verses and choruses. (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki
Stainer & Barrett in their Dictionary of Musical Terms define lyrics thus: “lyric, poetry or blank verse is intended to be set to music and be sung” (265). In its present usage, lyric is however referred to as specific phrases within a song. Lyrics often contain political, social, religious, economic themes as well as aesthetic elements and so, can communicate culturally significant messages. An artiste therefore, bares his mind and shares his ideologies, beliefs, stances and opinions through his lyrics. He defines himself and his society in his lyrics. These messages can be explicit or implied through metaphors, symbolisms, ironies, litotes, hyperboles and other figurative expressions.
In Contemporary Nigerian music, some music artistes and song writers make use of lyrics which contain misogynistic themes and terms. Their lyrics are such which glorify all sorts of vices against women including violence and oppression of women, sexual objectification, stereotyping and every other negative actions and inactions on the female folk. They point out to the society that they are as misogynistic as their Western counterparts.
Accordingly, this research seeks to examine the extent to which misogyny has crept into Nigeria through contemporary Nigerian music using some select lyrics of two secular and popular contemporary Nigerian musicians; Iyanya and Olamide. The research also seeks to examine how these artistes are encouraging, supporting and justifying misogyny through their musical lyrics. Iyanya and Olamide by implication of their lyrics support and glorify misogyny and other themes associated with it.
1.1 Definition of Terms
Misogyny: Misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for or prejudice against women or girls. It can be manifested in numerous ways including social exclusion, sexual discrimination, hostility, patriarchy, and male privilege ideas, be-littling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/misogyny).
Terri Adams and Douglas Fuller define misogyny as “the hatred and disdain of women; an ideology that reduces women to objects for men’s ownership, use or abuse. It diminishes women to expendable beings” (939).
Contemporary: Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines contemporary as “happening or beginning now or in recent times; existing or happening in the same period; from the same time period”. It is “marked by characteristics of the present period”. (www.merriem-webster.com/dictionary/contemproary).
Lyrics: Lyrics are words that make up a song. It usually consists of verses and choruses (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/lyrics). John Stainer and William Barrett define lyrics thus; “lyric, poetry or blank verse intended to be sung” (265).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As a result of the patriarchal nature of the society, the male folk has become misogynistic in dealing with their female counterpart. To this end, this research seeks to examine the level of misogyny in Nigeria as manifested in selected musical lyrics of two popular contemporary Nigerian artistes. These lyrics support and glorify rape, sexual discrimination, torture and violence on women, sexual objectification, as well as disrespect and contempt for women etc. The research will also pay a close attention to various aesthetic and linguistic elements, tools and imageries which describe misogyny and the extent to which it has been accepted and celebrated as a yard stick in solving this problem.
1.3 Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of this research include:
- To collect samples of Contemporary Nigerian hip-hop/rap music with misogynistic lyrics as a basis to examining the extent to which misogyny has crept into the contemporary Nigerian music industry.
- To identify Iyanya and Olamide as misogynists and their lyrics as viable tools for the propagation of misogyny.
- To justify the suitability of the concepts of acculturation, inter-culturation and trans-culturation as factors for misogynistic lyrics.
4. To examine aesthetic devices used by the artistes to project their message of misogyny.
For the purpose of this research, select lyrics from Iyanya and Olamide’s music will constitute the primary source of data from which the analysis will be done; books, journals, reviews, essays, comments, lectures from related areas shall be adequately consulted to serve as secondary source of data for this research. Equally, the library shall be adequately consulted to strengthen the research and the internet will serve as a major source of information to enrich the content of the research.
1.5 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This research shall primarily concentrate on feminist studies through the analysis of five selected lyrics each, of two Nigerian music artistes: Iyanya and Olamide. The study shall consider other issues related to sexual and social inequalities.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
By reason of constraint placed by time and finance as well as difficulties in the accessibility of Nigerian music artistes, the scope of this study shall be limited to the analysis of the artistes’ musical tracks. Therefore the scope of this study will not spread to include oral interviews of artistes whose lyrics shall be used, as well as the members of public.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study shall be its overall contribution to scholarship. Accordingly, scholars of music and musicology, scholars in literature, those in gender and feminist studies as well as feminist social critics, campaigners and supporters will find this research to be beneficial. Also, those who will want to base their research on the frameworks of acculturation, inter-culturation and trans-culturation as well as feminism shall equally be beneficiaries of this research. Ultimately, this research shall contribute to the body of knowledge towards this direction.
1.8 Theoretical Framework
The concepts of Acculturation, Inter-culturation and Trans-culturation, as well as feminist theory shall be used as frame works for this study.
A. Acculturation, Inter-culturation and Transculturation
Acculturation is the process of cultural and psychological change that results from meeting between cultures. According to Glynis Gault, Inter-culturation is the formation of new cultures based on encounters from multiple interactions of cultures (15). The term Trans-culturation was coined by Cuban anthropologist called Fernando Ortiz in 1947. The term is used to describe a phenomenon of merging and converging cultures. It merges the concepts of acculturation and deculturation and also carries the idea of neo-culturation. Trans-culturation is often as the result of colonialism and subjugation especially in post colonial era (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/transculturation).
According to Stuart Hall, the development of contemporary Nigerian music is hung on cultural changes which are products of negotiation, resistance and transformation (23). Edward Said seems to agree on this when he says that “all cultures are involved in one another. None is single and pure. All are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinarily differentiated and non monolithic” (45). Tim Rice identifies two categories of musicians in the world; those who seek to strategically position themselves as locally authentic and those who seek to embody or reconnect with ethnic or national traditions and histories (151). He also stresses that there are those who seek to become transnational performers or at best seek to resist any sense of bounded or fixed identity (151). Contemporary Nigerian hip hop music belongs to this last category.
Contemporary Nigerian music has merged the Western hip-hop and rap cultures with indigenous culture through trans-culturation so that contemporary Nigerian music now features genres such as “Naija” hip-hop and rap. This fusion does not only influence the beats, rhythms and genres, but the lyrical styles as well. Inter- culturation has given rise to so many genres of music in contemporary Nigeria which include reggae, pop, jazz, “Naija” hip-hop/rap and many others. The most popular of them all is the hip-hop and rap which generates from merging local music with Western musical culture (inter-culturation). This merger has resulted in some cultural and psychological changes (acculturation) in the contemporary Nigeria.
Misogynistic lyrics in Nigerian music culture is an aberration which can therefore be traced to the effects of acculturation, inter-culturation and trans-culturation of African music with western musical culture. This is based on the fact that Nigerians, and of course Africans by extension, have a very high level of respect and regards for the female folk and it is seen as a taboo to mention the female genital organ or publicly talk about intercourse.
B. Feminist Theory
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional or philosophical discourse (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/feminist-theory). According to Meyer Abrams and Geoffrey Harpham, feminist theory is a distinctive and concerted approach to literature (121). Feminist theories first emerged as early as 1794 in publications such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), John Mill’s The Subjection of Women (1869) Margaret Fuller’s Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845). Feminism seeks the emancipation of women because of male supremacy to subjugate women by a system of sex role stereotype.
According to Oliver Banks, feminism is “…in part, a desire to address particular injustices, in part, a vision of a new moral world” (165). From the above definition, it can be seen that feminism advocates fair and decent treatment of women. Feminist theory focuses on analyzing gender inequality and exploring themes like discrimination, sexual objectification, oppression, patriarchy, sex role stereotype, etc. There are different shades of feminism such as radical, socialist, cultural, eco-feminism, liberal etc. The most fundamental of them all is the radical feminism; it calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Radical feminism seeks to abolish patriarchy by challenging existing social norms and institutions. This includes challenging the notion of traditional gender roles, opposing the sexual objectification of women, and raising public awareness about such issues as rape and violence against women.
This study shall therefore apply the concepts of acculturation, inter-culturation, and trans-culturation as well as feminist theory, to the study of misogyny in contemporary Nigerian music using Iyanya’s and Olamide’s lyrics.
1.9 Bio-data of the Artistes
Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk popularly known as Iyanya was born on October 31, 1986 in Palm Street Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria to a Forester and an Head Mistress. He studied to University level at Cross River State, and graduated with a Degree in Business Management at the University of Calabar. He started singing and rapping in local bars at Calabar using the name ‘Cofty’. He cited a British and an American rhythm and blues (RnB) and hip-hop/rap Singers, Craig David and R Kelly as his models in entertainment business. However, he was motivated to pursue music as a career after seeing the celebrity lifestyles of Tuface Idibia and Olu Maintain. In 2008, he began his musical career after emerging as the winner of the “2008 MTN Project Fame competition”. He is hip-hop/rap and Afrobeat artiste. He has received about sixteen awards to his credit from 2008 till date. His musical albums include; My story (2009), Desire (2013), Applaudise (2015) and so many singles. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/iyanya)
Olamide Adedeji is a Nigerian hip hop recording artiste born on March 15, 1987 in Bariga, Lagos State. He studied Mass Communication at Tai Solarin University of Education. He released his first musical album in 2011. His albums include; Rhapsodi (2011), YBNL (2012), Baddest Guy Ever Liveth(2013), Street OT (2014), Eyan Mayweather (2015). He has recorded more than fifteen singles and received about thirty-seven awards to his credit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olamide).