March 19, 2023
WhatsApp Image 2022 07 25 at 3.42.50 PM


WhatsApp Image 2022 07 25 at 3.42.50 PM

King Promise. Credit: @flynimaboy — Twitter

In one of the verses of the song “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am,” Fela Anikulapo Kuti, godfather of afrobeat and activist, now deceased, said:

“When trouble sleep
Yanga go wake am
Waking him dey find
Palaver, he dey find
Palaver, he go get-e o)
Palaver, he go get

The song was featured on the 1972 album ‘Roforofo’ and became a household anthem across Nigeria and West Africa. Whatever inspired Fela to write the song appears to have resurfaced here in Ghana and, sadly, one of our own artists, King Promise, has become a ‘Yanga’ who has awakened a snoozing problem that is already giving him “palaver.” For those who may be wondering what palaver Mr Promise had walked into, let me just give you a brief context.

Nigerian artist Wizkid was billed to perform at the Accra sports stadium last Saturday, 10 December. The show was expected to come off and become the official opening of the December party in Ghana. A friend of mine whose daughter had turned 18 and wanted to see Wizkid her idol, was attending her first concert; unfortunately, the artist did not show up. The stranded fans some of whom had come all the way from Kumasi in the Ashanti region waited for hours for their artist but he did not show up.

Even up until 1 am and beyond, these disappointed fans kept a faint hope that the artist will show up, and give them a performance that could compensate for the hours they had been kept waiting. But after hours of waiting and waiting without no sign of Wizkid, the disappointed fans made their way out of the stadium. They took to social media and called the artist out. The organisers later in the morning followed up with a statement and apologised to the disappointed patrons.

They promised to refund their monies to them. Wizkid has since offered what some say is a ‘hogwash’ apology. Part of a statement he issued read: “Ghana is a country I hold so dear to my heart, first and foremost I wanna apologise to all my fans!” He went on to talk about how important his brand is and said he wouldn’t have taken the decision without serious reasoning behind it. Ironically, he repeated the very same thing in neighbouring Cote D’Ivoire, where reports say some of the members of his team had been detained. Whilst the heat on Wizkid was raging, King Promise, who was never in the picture in the brouhaha, issued a statement, apologizing to his fans. He said “Y’all know I would never do anything, without serious reasoning behind it. My brand is something I don’t joke with.”

I nearly choked on that piece of crap he describes as an ‘apology’ to his fans. Just some five or so years ago here in Ghana, KING PROMISE was virtually hovering around media houses and the doors of entertainment bloggers in the country, to push his music. He was never disappointed, as he got the necessary help. His songs trended and even got nominations for music awards, though he did not win any prizes. He however came out stronger and picked more awards, thanks to the voting of his fans.  It is therefore bizarre for him to be running away from the very fans whose meagre contributions have catapulted him into global fame.  

I hardly follow artists, but he is one of the few I follow on IG and whose songs I promote in my own small way. He is a local lad and I believe he deserves all the good things coming his way. His friendship with Wizkid is a good step for him because the Nigerian artist has a proper system and network that he can draw on to keep his brand strong and global. It is laudable and I applaud him for that. He is educated and that I see as an important asset in his career-which also means he can think and make the right decisions for himself. 

Maybe I credited him with attributes he did not deserve, because, from where I sit, I don’t see how a right-thinking person will look right into the eyes of the very people who supported him from the onset and slap them with disrespect. King Promise is talking about the safety of his fans. If he really cared about the safety of the fans and wanted to perform as part of the statement suggests, why did he not send any of his team members to join hands with the organisers to put the right structures in place? If he truly wanted to perform and not that he sees the fans whose coins have made him a state and who can afford several tattoos on his body to signify that he has arrived in the music market, why did he not even get to the grounds himself to see things for himself, or, like I said, elect any of his team members to check if everything was perfect?

King Promise, a local lad who wore a sweatshirt to shoot video in a humid climate in one of Accra’s suburbs, wants us to believe he cares about his fans such that, the program was beneath his standard, just because Wizkid held the same position. Deeply troubling.

 At the moment, King Promise is riding high on the global stage and the lights freely feasting on his shiny head-and that is a good thing for the Ghanaian music industry. It means more money and associated benefits. In the showbiz industry as in other professions or jurisdictions, ego is an important ingredient that has two sides to it; it can easily propel you further or bury you in a forgotten land. King Promise having an ego is perfectly fine by me, it is how he allows that ego to spin him around. An ego that is tamed in humility but seeking perfection is always the perfect antidote to complacency. However, the other side of ego that is roiled in arrogance, group think culture and lack of what the future holds, retards progress.

King Promise is a talented artist who must know how to use his star power. He should be reminded that beautiful as fame may be, the dark side of it can be very corrosive and when it hits, his own shadow may be despised by even the very fan who once promised to lay down the cloth for him to walk on.

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