From time to time, people come together to support a progressive case or repeal social injustice and as an integral part of the society, you either stand for or stand against a cause. For many who have not come across the term ‘Cancel culture’, it can simply be described as withdrawal of support for a person, brand, or organization for saying an doing something that the public finds offensive. A method of ostracisation the sees the removal from social circles whether it be online or physically as a form of retribution.
Over years the debate has been whether the cancel culture is ideal in societal living sighting that it gives no room for mistakes. In most cases, the cancelling of an individual is driven by the need to hold people accountable but very quickly it has translated to a high level of intolerance even for the slightest slip-ups. Some people are very comfortable with the cancel culture because according to them it makes for greater positive societal impact and accountability while at the other extreme it is seen as a negative movement that promotes hate, bullying and intolerance.
In this piece, we will access the intricacies of the cancel culture in Nigeria and if it is an effective way of retribution especially now that we have Nigerian youth championing the #EndSARS movement, in these times were the Nigerian youth are being very vocal on the violation of their rights and how effective cancel culture is as a method of punishment. It would be impossible to talk about cancel culture in Nigeria without bringing up some celebrities. Some Nigerian celebrities who have been through the ordeal of being cancelled probably more than once too. Let’s look into the very controversial Burnaboy, I dare call him the King of the cancelled in Nigeria.
Burnaboy came into limelight in 2013 with his debut album L.I.F.E with amazing music and a haughty attitude. The Nigerian society is not used to such brash confidence and so a lot of his words and actions were met with resistance. Being an outspoken person has put Burna in positions of being cancelled but for every time the public say they refuse to engage with the singer or his content, they go back on their word on the release of a new album or trendy tweet.
One can see that it is almost impossible to disengage with one especially a public figure as a group. Burnaboy is not the only specimen, in this case, we have also seen this repeat itself with other public figures it is safe to say that there is just a handful of Nigerian celebrities who have not been through the fire of being cancelled.
Why is this one may ask? Is it really possible to not engage with a certain person for life? What happened to second chances? These are all burning questions that require answers and from the history of cancellation in Nigeria, the only way we can get answers is in the consistency of our actions.
Finally, what is your take on the ‘Cancel Culture’? Do you believe in the principle of multiple chances? What qualifies one for cancellation? I’d like to know your thoughts in the comments