Someone responded to my homage to Yoruba culture by saying the Yoruba are a frivolous people because they ‘celebrate even when nothing has happened’.
You ought to understand that even in that so-called “nothing”, there is something. That something is life.
Chief Sunday Adegeye (AKA King Sunny Ade) put it best in his song Ma Jaiye Oni when he said, “Maa jaiye oni o, mi o meyin ola o”.
The Yoruba believe that God does not give us a refund for the life we refuse to enjoy. That is why they enjoy it today. Being alive is worth appreciating.
Since any of us were born, I doubt if we have ever heard of any host communities attacking Yorubas. It is not possible. They are just too likeable.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and I were shopping at Harrods of London, and because of my Yoruba agbada, I got a discount from the white attendant who said King Sunny Ade is her go-to person when she wants to be happy.
What is life if not for joy, gladness and happiness? Unfortunately, some of us put too much emphasis on money when happiness is free.
And as a people, the Yoruba possess great emotional intelligence. I believe it is an ethnic trait. They know how to relate to people on a personal basis. And they are able to suppress their emotions for their peace of mind. This humility is what some people see as cowardice. They pick their battles.
They don’t say what is on their mind. They understand that their minds belong to them, and they don’t belong to their minds. Thus, they say what will engender peace because their ancient omoluabi ethos controls them.
To them, what cannot be avoided must be endured until such a time as you are in a position to remove your obstacle at the barest cost to you. That is why there was no war after the June 12, 1993, election annulment. They endured, and a Yoruba man eventually became President six years later.
Other people would have spoken their minds and acted rashly, and there would be war. And nobody knows who will win a war.
Do you think it is a coincidence that the highest-ranking Nigerian-American in the US is a Yoruba (Wale Adeyemo, Assistant Treasury Secretary), as well as the richest Nigerian-American, Tope Awotona, CEO of Calendly?
In the UK, the same is true, with Kemi Badenoch being the ranking British-Nigerian in the UK (Secretary of State for Business and Trade) and Bayo Ogunlesi being the wealthiest person of Nigerian origin with businesses in the UK (he owns Gatwick and multiple other UK airports).
And music is synonymous with joy and happiness. And, again, it is no coincidence that ALL Nigeria’s Grammy Award winners are either wholly or partly of Yoruba origin, including:
Sade Adu (1986), Babatunde Olatunji (1991), Sikiru Adepoju (1991) and Seal (1996), Burna Boy (2021), Wizkid (2021), Temilade Openiyi AKA Tems (2023).
The above are 100% Yoruba (if your father is Yoruba, the Yoruba consider you fully Yoruba).
And then Burna Boy (2021), partly Yoruba.
And it is not just in music. Even in dance, they distinguish themselves. And it is not a recent phenomenon. If you grew up in Lagos or the Southwest in the 80s and 90s, you happified (I formed the word) yourself by imitating General Ayinla Kollington as he danced to Fuji Ropopo, Ijo Yoyo and Ijo Mbe. The General in Kollington’s name was not self-proclaimed. It was given to him by General Abacha. For such a shrewd figure as Abacha to give you the title General of Fuji Music, you MUST be good!
And long before Tupac and Biggie, we in Southwest Nigeria enjoyed Alhaji Agba and Ayinla’s feud that gave us Fuji Garbage, Series 2.
Regarding Rap Music, I believe Sikiru Ayinde Barrister is the real father of that art form. His albums from the 70s incorporated rap before it even became a musical genre.
And in terms of peaceful religious and ethnic coexistence, NOBODY or people on planet Earth can match the Yoruba.
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