On Monday, November 4, 2019, we got confirmation of rumblings of weeks prior; Grammy Award-winning rapper, Cardi B will be in Lagos, Nigeria on December 7, 2019.
Word on the street is that talks of her visit commenced in 2018. But better late than ever, right? Can someone say okurrrrr! She becomes the second high-profile American heavyweight to visit Nigeria in two years. Last year, the country also got thrilled by multi-platinum selling rapper, J.Cole.
What does Cardi B's visit signify?
It is a bright spotf for a country and cosmopolitan city that has seemingly lost ground to Accra, Ghana over the past 18 months. Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya had become huge tourist attractions for westerners over the past three to five years prior to 2018.
But with Afrochella and Afro Nation holding in Accra throughout the celebratory days of December, 2019, there is only one clear winner.
Although we have seen heavyweights like 50 Cent, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Major Lazer and so forth visit Nigeria, this one comes at a time of heavy western obsession with Nigeria. In part, this obsession is triggered by afrobeats and the pop culture around it. Everyone wants to come to Lagos and have a good time.
Over the past 18 months, Davido has hosted American acts, Lil Baby and Cassanova at his Lekki residence. Dreamville act, Ari Lennox also came to Nigeria to enjoy herself some months ago. Ebro Darden and Charlamagne Tha God have also discussed their desire to visit Nigeria and Ghana in December 2019.
So, it makes sense for Nigeria as a tourist attraction. Asides that, Nigerians are hugely influenced by their love of American pop culture. Cardi B has a stan base in Nigeria that dates back to her dance of Instagram fame. Her catchphrases and vocal inventions like 'Okurrrrr' and 'Schmoney' are a core part of Nigerian pop culture.
Her modern ways of liberalism are also influential on a sections of Nigerian women. They are attracted to the freewill with which she lives. Her story is also inspiring.
She is the beautiful descendant of immigrants who was stripper that became Instagram famous before having Billboard Hot 100 hits with great music and then winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album as a female rapper. Since then, she has also starred in the critically acclaimed movie, Hustlers. She will also star in the billion dollar franchise, Fast and Furious in 2020.
In her personal life, she is happily married with a beautiful daughter. The entire package around her serves as a middle class dream. Nigerians aspire to be her. The Nigerian dream is traveling to some faraway western colony and tweeting one's love for Nigeria from that space. This attraction is not just from women either. Men - like this writer - think she's awesome.
Cardi might even be surprised that Nigerians know music from her mixtape series, Gangsta B***c Music Vol. I and Vol. II. On all sides, Cardi B's visit to Nigeria is a cultural, fan and pop culture victory. You don't see one of the biggest rappers in Nigeria very often.
Is it unnecessary or overdue?
Now here is where it gets dicey. Necessity is subject, but it's high time American artists started exploring their African fan base. They go on world tours, but never visit African locations. Tours are definitely about money, but they can also be strategic. Tours can also be about meeting one's fans and so forth.
In the past, acts like Westlife, Celine Dion and so forth missed the opportunity. People like 50 Cent didn't miss that opportunity, and J. Cole, Cardi B are not missing the moment. But then, Jon Bellion, Drake and Travis $cott are still missing the opportunity. Tours encourage intimacy with fans. For the reason of taking advantage, this visit is overdue.
Some cynics will poke fun at it for not being what Nigeria needs, but the place of fun is different from the place of governance. They're mutually exclusive. One does not affect the other. Cardi B's visit or otherwise doesn't affect governance negatively. Her visit is sponsored by companies. Next stop, Travis $cott.
Thank God she can't drive. Lagos traffic might have frustrated her.