The widely celebrated music video shot by American hip hop star, Rick Ross, in Obalende area of Lagos, during his visit to Nigeria in August, has been criticised.
The video, titled “Hold Me Back” reeks of poverty in a typical Lagos slum. It shows pictures of hungry children, gun-trotting policemen, and crowded buses in motion. The video has been criticized for its negative portrayal of the busiest city in Nigeria.
One Nigerian who does not fancy the video is Chocolate City rapper, M.I.
In a heavily worded piece, the artiste, whose full name is Jude Abaga, asked salient questions. He said, “Does it make you angry? Does it rile you to see your country portrayed as poor and suffering and full of struggle? It burns you, does it not? To have some foreigner- who knows nothing of your history and pain, of the stories that flow within your blood- to have this foreigner come in and tell your story? Is it not the height of disrespect and insensitivity?”
“Does it not chafe against the thick skin you have grown to cover your other wounds? Does it not make you angry? We should wax sanctimonious about national pride being slighted. We should vent our displeasure online. We should occupy something. Because God forbid the truth ever be told about what things really are. God forbid a stranger reminds us about those things we choose to ignore every day. God forbid we ever face the truth about ourselves. God forbid we do not go on the internet and rail about how our country is being cast in bad light. God forbid we do not talk about how there is a small minority which lives better than portrayed. God forbid we do not ignore truth one more time. God forbid we don’t,” he said.
Oblivious of the debate his video has been generating here in Nigeria, Rick Ross has been promoting the video on his Twitter timeline. On his Twitter handle, @rickyrozay, he wrote, “Seen #HoldmeBack Nigeria?”
Despite the criticisms, Ross, who has on several occasions performed in Nigeria alongside other popular artistes says he loves Nigeria; at least as his comment, “I luv NigeRia. #thanku for thE ExpiriEncE” on Twitter shows.
While some have praised him for his true representation of the Nigerian situation, others say it is a slap on Nigerians.