Genevieve Nnaji's often mocked song is actually a relevant song that was ahead of its time.
In September 2004, film marketers banned — or placed an embargo on hiring — 8 actors popularly dubbed the ‘G8’.
Actors like Ramsey Nouah, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Genevieve Nnaji were part of the ‘G8’.
According to Entertainment Editor of Pulse Nigeria, Chidumga Izuzu, their offence was preferring market distributors to independent marketers due to guarantee of steady jobs.
Alongside this preference, there was also the ‘N1million’ rumour that distributors paid these actors due to their star power, which marketers could not afford.
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These actors needed career alternatives. While a few of them made the Ghanaian silver screen home, others like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Jim Iyke took to music.
While these songs neither became particular hits nor become memorable over sound and virality, they were accepted over the mystique of silver screen darlings gracing studios across the country to produce songs.
On her part, Genevieve Nnaji’s most popular song was titled 'No More' from her album 'One Logologo Line' released on December 11, 2004 in Accra, Ghana under Westside Music Inc. and produced by Kiki Branson.
While the neither the song, nor the album made any significant splash at the time, they served Genevieve’s purposes and she must have gotten some financial gain from producers.
Accompanied by a rather morose video that had props including a slightly excessive customized plate to a car Genevieve drove, emblazoned with “Genevieve”, the overall message is why the song is an often underlooked feminist song.
The video casts a rich ensemble of girls across board, defiantly playing supporting acts to Genevieve.
The video documents Genevieve’s character’s relationship with an abusive, cheating and misogynistic partner she was moving on from.
The hook reads;
No More hits ooo
No more Crying oo
No more fighting ooo
No more tears o
I got my freedom power and more.
The song is laid over memorable danceable beat at about 120 beats per minute.
Men have been trash for a long time. Women have always been tired, we have just not been listening. When the conversation for staunch feminists make the Twitter rounds next, Genevieve Nnaji should be called a contemporary hero.
Through this song, she documents the affair her mother had warned her about, but she rebelliously went ahead with only to regret.
Like what women complain about, Genevieve sings, “The more I showed him care, the more he gave me no ear. The more I gave him loving, the more he gave me nothing.”
The song also chronicles the abuse saying, “Yes, all I got was threatening, swearing, slapping, cheating and trashing.” Sound familiar, yet?
Modern women are still struggling to say, “Go away… I say move, move, move before I give you my fist.”
A move that a lot of women require to gain that power.
This was Girl Power culture before Nigerian Girl Power gained any credence, following or attention. It was the era even women’s parents will advice their daughters to stay in abusive relationships.
This was before the woke era. This was before the advent of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook where conversations could be aggregated. Yet, Genevieve says, “I stopped being foolish” as she left this scummy partner.
The song was channeled at female empowerment.
One must appreciate how a 2004 Genevieve Nnaji had the anger, sass and necessary vigour of a woman ready to take the power back in 2018.
It is incredible how she used her platform to champion a cause that most women didn’t understand.
For the average pop culture fiend, one asks the following question;
The reason is simple. Nigeria was in the dark in 2004. Only the super enlightened ones, with ample exposure on appropriate living understood how to live well.
Most women did not. You cannot appreciate what you don’t understand; you can’t endorse a message you cannot relate to.
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Women were enduring abuse as a way of life in 2004. Many women still are, but the women trying to fight back against entitled and toxic masculinity are definitely higher than they were in 2004.
To complete the cycle of hurtful ignorance that trailed Genevieve’s song of empowerment, certain women enduring abusive relationships would have laughed off the idea of her attempt at making music alongside their abusive husbands.
As a sharp contrast, in 2018, sensitive issues of abuse, rape and toxic masculinity are rightly getting continually discussed across the media.
Even toxic males are forced to reevaluate their cultures and treatment of women. They now realize that women are also human beings, not subordinate creatures. They now understand that women are not mammals of lower ilk.
They are human beings who deserve a seat at the table as any man.
If Genevieve had dropped that song in 2018, its quality would have overlooked for its substance and it would have been celebrated across the media by women searching for a voice to inspire them.
As a whole, I think Genevieve Nnaji deserves an apology for our collective perception of No More 14 years ago.
We were collectively wallowing in ignorance. We didn’t know better. Now that we know better, awards might be dated, but accolades live on.
We award Genevieve Nnaji’s 'No More' the plaque for pioneer status in the feminist sphere of empowerment and as a voice for women who needed inspiration.
We also use this medium to apologize to the women whose lives could have changed if we only understood the gravity and weight of toxic masculinity in 2004.
The era might be over, but the fight has only just gained credence. A positive movement should look into this song as its anthem — it is more than worthy.
Its very essence is why Nigerians now have a voice.
While a few women might not have the strength to defiantly fight back, they should listen to this song and move out of that relationship. Abusive relationships cost lives.
The idea of this song aptly closes with;
No go let you touch me again
If I try me, I will strike
I will shoot, I will fight, I will scratch
I will scream, I will kick, I will hit
I will bite, and make you cry!
She then yells, “free at last!” as the song closes in a era where her parents might even have shamed her for attempting such step.
We praise Genevieve’s strength as a then 25 year old woman with awareness and idea to release such an anthem.
No More was a song far ahead of its time. We don’t deserve it.