Since returning to the fold of independent artistes, Brymo has shown a knack for pushing the boundaries and exhibiting a form of original artistry that is rare in the Nigerian space. But none of all the things he’s done in the past, not even that time he painted himself in black and sat on a stool could have prepared us to see
Except you’re one of Bobrisky’s fans, no-one wants to see another man’s butt.
Brymo’s artistic endeavour has drawn a wide gamut of reactions. There are those who believe this is an attempt at faux brilliance from an artiste who seems so desperate to carve his own niche and distance himself from the rest of the bunch.
Brymo’s fans though believe otherwise. For them, this is another masterclass, a moment of brilliance from an artiste whose ability is yet underrated.
It’s easy in times like this to get embroiled in the hoopla that Brymo must have expected when he put the video together, or to think more about how he’s using his bare buttocks to sell his album.
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Between the leather covering over his masculine parts, his emergence from the dark water into a sparse, desert-like field of ruins and the emotive nature of his singing, Brymo’s “Heya” video has little to do with sex appeal and more to do with the idea of being a modern African.
The video is heavy with symbolism, starting with Brymo’s resigned appearance from a stark, dense body of water with a piece of leather that leaves his cheeks at the mercy of the elements.
A tribute to African identity
It is a throwback to an older time when African civilisations manipulated leather and plants into pieces of clothing, a time that Brymo pays respect to more because it was before the intrusion of the white man and colonialism.
Hear the man tell it himself.
In an e-mail to Pulse Nigeria, the alternative folk artiste said, “ I decided to appear how my forbears dressed before the arrival of civilization to Nubian continent,”
“We have all seen the costume in many movies, “Heya” was my own representation of that age; A bushman in the city, that’s my image of most black Africans of today. Although we reside in cities, we are still villagers in our thoughts and actions”
It reminds you of one of the few African civilisations which have retained its culture through the years.
The San Bushmen are a tribe of hunter-gatherers who live in Southern Africa.
The tribe originally refers to themselves as “San” or “Saan”; the suffix “bushmen” was added by the white men ( which I say at the risk of over-flogging the same “anti-colonialist trope) to qualify the fact that they, despite the urbanisation around them, have preferred to live in the bush, in what has been their habitat for centuries.
Regression, brought on by Ignorance
Brymo addresses this perception, that Africans are backwards because we do not fit into western ideas of what civilisation is.
Moving from that body of water to a stark desert-like clearing refers to the loss of our values and originality that has been induced by the pressure to fit in, to meet certain standards.
It is, at its most basic form, regression brought on by ignorance. The kind that invites pity, or at the most Nigerian form of it, a shout of “heya”, if only you had known to do better.
The reaction online is mixed, and many BrymO fans think it’s exactly what they wanted to see,” says Brymo. “For those who disagree with the image, I understand that they have forgotten how people dressed across the continent many centuries ago, or they couldn’t fit the costume to the story in the song… but what better way is there to tell the story of our disloyalty and disservice to each other, if not by bearing it all, butt and what not… lol."
No-one could have put it better.