In analyzing the two sides of Stefflon Don's Afrobeats antics we will begin with the part of the story where Nigerians opened their hearts and ears to the British rapper.
The two sides to Stefflon Don's Afrobeats antics [Pulse Editor's Opinion]
Since becoming a familiar name to Nigerian music fans, Stefflon Don has displayed a love for Nigerian culture and music in a manner that perches on genuine love and cultural appropriation.
Stefflon Don, Our Wife
"Our Wife" is a Nigerian tagline that portrays affection, recognition, and acceptance of a woman into the social circle and family of her romantic partner.
To be honest, Nigerians can sometimes be overly generous and even deceitful in their use of this tagline. However, it remains a term of flattery and endearment.
And Nigerians would be generous and welcoming enough to extend this national term of endearment to Jamaican-born British rapper Stefflon Don after it was revealed that she was romantically involved with Nigeria's beloved megastar, Burna Boy.
Stefflon Don's then-newfound Nigerian family and fan base were so big and important to the British rapper that she tweaked her sound to fit into the Nigerian Afrobeats space.
Through her involvement with Burna Boy, Stefflon Don became a Nigerian by association. During the #ENDSARS nationwide protest, Stefflon Don was quick to defend Burna Boy after he was thoroughly dragged for not showing up.
Although Stefflon Don couldn't properly grasp the reason her man was being slandered by Nigerian youths, she didn't fail to weigh in. In the eyes of the Nigerians, she was "Our wife" and more or less one of them so her direct interference could be tolerated.
Knowing that the love and respect Nigerians have for Burna Boy was being extended to her by virtue of their relationship, Stefflon quickly embraced her new identity.
By virtue of her Jamaican descent, Stefflon Don is black and more or less an African separated by international boundaries. Therefore her attraction to Nigerian culture and music is understandable. While the spark might have been ignited by her romantic relationship with Burna Boy, the fire was most likely started by her identification of a new fan base who already has a soft spot for her.
Steffon Dom quickly began her attempts to make a Nigerian of herself through her dressing, positioning, and notably her music.
In her single 'Can't Let You Yo,' Stefflon Don sang in Yoruba and even went ahead to record a remix with Nigerian artists Tiwa Savage and Rema. The single was her attempt to venture into Afrobeats and there's absolutely no problem with that.
After all, Enisa the American upcoming artist attracted great love and support from Nigerian youths after she supported the #ENDSARS campaign. Enisa's fame on Nigerian Twitter was big enough to score her a collaboration with Davido.
Enisa has Tweeted about how much she loves Nigerians, the culture, and the music. However, she has not attempted to create a Nigerian of herself as Stefflon Don has done.
However, what happens when the love for Nigerian culture and music is inspired by a love derived from shared ancestry? What happens when the love for Afrobeats is inspired by a self-serving agenda?
Does that make the character involved a culture vulture? Perhaps this might be the case for Stefflon Don.
Stefflon Don: Behind Her Love For Nigerian Culture and Afrobeats
Stefflon Don sparked interest with her break-out international hit single, 'Hurting Me' which features American rapper, French Montana.
Born to Jamaican parents in the UK, Stefflon Don quickly established herself as a talented rapper capable of switching between UK rap and Jamaican Reggae flows.
Stefflon was able to put out some good records but her attempt to break into the American market wasn't quite a success. She was also unable to amass a sizable fanbase needed to propel her into the superstardom that she craves.
With Afrobeats on ascension internationally, Stefllon Don saw her followership in Nigeria as an opportunity to tap into the sound.
Perhaps, at no point in her career has Stefflon Don been able to get a large collection of music fans interested in her. So she quickly capitalized on this interest by further associating with the culture and partaking in the sound in an attempt to sustain the attention.
When it comes to music, it cannot be forced on the fans. Listeners will enjoy what they want and move on once they realize that there's nothing left. That is the case for Stefflon whose experimentation with Afrobeats didn't achieve the desired result.
However, Stefflon Don has displayed a propensity for using the attention she is getting from Nigeria to attempt to force her way in albeit being unable to achieve anything meaningful through the music.
For someone whose initial interest in Afrobeats and Nigerian culture seemed like an incidence of romance, the continuous interest in Afrobeats reeks of a need to fit into a trending sound and culture, as she has struggled to fit into anywhere else over the past three years.
She even seems to have abandoned her impressive rap side, which brought her to the limelight in the first place. America seems like a no-go at this point as well.
What she has been doing can be described as clout-chasing and abuse of interest. At its worst, she’s being a culture vulture, who only seems interested in the culture for profitability.
We understand that Afrobeats can’t be owned. The success of music and genres can be measured by how it's recreated by other people from other culture. But in the case of Stefflon Don, there is something markedly sinister about how she has explored Afrobeats.
She has presented herself as an embodiment of Nigerianism and Afrobeats, by wearing Ankara prints in pictures and videos.
Her behavior indicates that at some point in her love affair with Afrobeats and Nigerian culture, Stefflon Don's interest switched from being inspired by genuine interest and admiration to a self-serving attempt to benefit from the sound.
While it’s possible that she truly embodies the culture, her tendency to insert herself into popular moments is a little sinister. It looks like she might bolt on to the next thing when she finds another avenue, from which she gets attention and affection.
It appears that the speaking Yoruba and dancing leg work might be an attempt to sell her music. And when this attempt failed, Stefflon Don seems to be willing to go to extreme and embarrassing lengths to regain and sustain that interest.
Since Burna Boy's 'Last Last' dropped, Stefflon Don has enjoyed a reawakening of interest on Nigerian Social Media and in a manner typical of an attention monger, she quickly recorded a silly and needless replication 'First of All,’ which has been taken down off Youtube and deleted on Instagram.
It's quite unfortunate albeit unsurprising how foreign artists enjoy a moment in the spotlight in another country and sooner employ silly tactics to sustain and selfishly benefit from the attention.
And these are the two sides of Stefflon Don's Afrobeats antics.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: