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The not so amusing musings that might still be amusing of a british nigerian male

I hate it when one person in a group commits a crime the whole group is judged. Its like when that nigerian was arrested for trying to blow up a plane with a bomb in his pants, the first thing I saw someone say was "so nigerians are now terrorists" I mean I was so angry about that! How can the action of one man brand everyone as "terrorists" I already have problems with being Nigerian what with all the fraudulent associations attached to being that in people's minds among other negative things.

I'm not even gonna lie. I have denied being a Nigerian loads of times or downplayed my Nigerian side a lot of times because I've felt ashamed of what that means to people. I've been on the streets of London and recognized nigerian folks talking loud and so brash and I've felt like hiding my face as if people could tell I was Nigerian by looking at me. Also there's the accent thing.

We Nigerians (I'm speaking of some of the younger generation who have been influenced by hip hop that live in Nigeria) are heavily influenced by American culture so many Nigerians end up deeply immersed in American movies, hip hop etc etc. You find Nigerians who have some kind of weird American twang in their accent. Look at me saying "they" like I'm not affected lol. I lived in Nigeria for 13 years and when I came back to London the city of my birth I discovered from people's reactions to me that I've got one as well!

My accent is such a mashed up thing that I have my own unique accent. Its part british from being born in London, part fake american from reciting hip hop lyrics as a kid in Nigeria and probably vaguely nigerian. The Nigerian part becomes more prominent if I get SUPER angry which takes a lot to happen. (LOL!)

I feel ashamed when I rap sometimes. Oh I promise, I'm so self conscious! I'm not trying to be an american but when I rap I just sound how I sound because it is what I learnt from years of repetition. I didn't grow up in London during my formative years so I just don't feel like I sound english enough. I hate it that I sound like I'm faking it. Funny enough to Americans I sound english. Ah what to do?

Whether I sound english, nigerian or american, I am black. Nothing is going to change my appearance and I don't want to change that! I am proud of being African! I am proud of being a Nigerian even though currently its crazy over there and our image abroad is still damaged. I will be who I am in a society which has people who view people like me in a certain way. The subliminal message you get sometimes is you're black so you should be fit into a certain mold and that mold feels like its got to be negative and inferior.

Think about it, if the message someone receives all their lives is "you are worthless" or "you will never make it" or "you must be a criminal because you look like that" imagine the mental obstacles someone has to overcome at a stage when one's identity is still trying to be found. To make matters worse, the role models that this person looks up to are mainly in the mainstream media. They are successful men who have made money off of selling an image of masculinity that is distorted and largely negative, dark and always moving in the direction of being criminal.

These distorted images of masculinity which are linked to success, popularity and ideas of "swagger" are internalised by young minds and we wonder why some try to act out these thug fantasies and end up in jail or dead on the streets. You wonder why they walk around feeling that being a "badman" is the best thing to be and what should define them. How sad.

As much as I believe in God's redemption, I know one thing that will not change, there is one thing I can't be redeemed from and shouldn't even think of needing redemption from in this life and it is the fact that I am black and one who will be viewed by many through a negative, prejudiced lens in this society due to images in the media that some take to represent and define all of us. It's not even just due to negative images in the media, these images support the prejudice that already exists in society and has been here for years though it is subtle most times.

I know just because of who I am and where I'm from some have already cast me into a role and even have a script I'm expected to act out. If I followed that script and acted out that role, early death and jail are sure things but I chose to flip the script and break the mold.


Anonymous said...

You know what? I was laughing hard at the first two paragraphs. OMG. Trust em when a Nigerian is speaking loud on a phone, even i who is east african feel like diving. Especially on public transport, it is very embarassing, i usually tend to look out of the window and pray they are getting foff the next stop. LMAO

Ok, but on track, i just listened to some of your songs especially alone but not lonely, let it out and love letter, first off that was deep, and heartfelt (in short you are talented), second i heard both the london accent and the nigerian accent. In those three tracks, i never heard the American accent. Anyway, i nearly got lost in the message and story in your rap and nearly forgot i was supposed to look out for accents.LOL

You know what, as an African, the hardest part apart from being black, is everyone believing and thinking that almost all Africans are poor. ou cannot even be proud of having wealthy people in Africa without some people wondering what you are doing over here if there are rich people in Africa. It is bizzare, but not surprising. The negative image surpasses the positives. I find it is the same for Nigerians in a different way. There are so many successful Nigerians and it is a shame their ssuccess has been overshadowed by the negative image. I have met so many lovely Nigerian people who fight stereotypes and can tell when someone reacts, that they are biased already without their knowledge.

Excuse my inconsistency, i am allover the place, you have so many interesting points in there i cannot keep up the pace.

Karl Nova said...

I am so glad you understand what I am saying. Thank you so much for your comment. So you're from East Africa huh? Then I am sure you feel me about Africans and all that.

Thanks for peeping my songs and the compliment you gave me is something I appreciate. So you heard British and Nigerian in there? haha so many people hear different things.

thank so much for commenting, whoever you are! :)

Anonymous said...

I understand exactly what you are saying Karl, and hear you loud and clear. In a way i am abit puzzled as to why you feel embarrassed about the different accents. I hope you don't mind me asking, i don't want to intrude, i was wondering.

I also know that sometimes Africans who have grown away from home, it can be equally embarrassing for them when they go to visit africa and cannot speak the mother tongue or if they speak it with an english accent. Do you experience this when you go back to Nigeria, or is it different? If you do not mind me asking. Feel free to not answer if i am being intrusive. I am trying to make comparisons to reactions in change of accents in different locations.

Karl Nova said...

Well I am embarrassed because as a UK artist that raps and sings I am seen as being fake and trying to copy the Americans. I mean I was born in London and I'm expected to sound like it. I don't fit into the scene because of that.

When I go back to Nigeria its cool because I normally go to Lagos which is not actually my original city but where I lived when I was there plus I can easily switch to our local pidgin english which I speak fluently.

When I got to my original city of origin I feel like the odd one out because I can't speak my language (igbo) i could speak a lil before not much now :(

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that you are seen as fake. Like you said, many Africans, not only Nigerians have heavily been influenced by the American culture in different ways,and definately the music culture unless it is traditional music.

Think about it, 13 years in Nigeria, i repeat 13 years in Nigeria, that is a long time, and then back to London. That is drifting in between cultures and influenced heavily by different cultures. Rap has never been apart of african culture and was adopted. If you lived in Nigeria for 13 years especially at a younger age, definately you would have been influenced by Americans. It is not easy to switch and drop cultural influence just like that. I have heard people have issues with British Rappers sounding like Americans but really, i have never got what the big deal was about it. Being an African, i would probably not see what the big deal is. Ah, we cannot change what others think about us, but we can change the way we think about ourselves.

The beauty about many African cultures is the wide difference. I went to a primary school which had all cultures, tribes, you can think of. It was in the city and had, indians, iranians, people from all tribes in the country, headmaster was an Indian, and that was the best experience i can ever think of. Ofcourse we were limited to speaking English only and it was only right because it was the language we could all speak and understand uniformly.

I know it is not easy to fully learn a language you were not born in. You could hear it, but not easy to speak it.

Karl Nova said...

"We cannot change change what others think of us but we can change the way we think about ourselves"

how true is that? yep! true! true!


Anonymous said...

Nah, you are not getting the name. LOL! I am a simple someone who is not in the music business but loves a good topic to discuss. LOL! I think what you wrote is a problem many face and there is nothing funny about having an identity crisis. It can eat away some good years from someone or even destroy one if they are not strong. I see it, lucky for me i have a strong foundation of upbringing that keeps me grounded, in a way i know who i am. You know if you come from a multi tribe background, you meet similar experiences, and having lived here, i have seen through young people what it means to have an identity crisis and believe me, it is not fun at all. It takes alot of patience to overcome and alot of enduring and self discovery. The self discovery journey is the hardest bit because it comes to a point when one has to make decisions that are not easy to make. You face being the outcaste and it is either that or you break. Sometimes being the outcaste is not a bad choice.

Karl Nova said...

i am glad I got to live in Nigeria and therefore have a perspective on life that is multi-dimensional. I am so thankful for my faith in God which keeps me grounded

Self discovery is an on-going thing.

I've felt like an outcast a lot but hey that's the way it is

Anonymous said...

'am glad I got to live in Nigeria and therefore have a perspective on life that is multi-dimensional. I am so thankful for my faith in God which keeps me grounded'


My cousin once told me how he wanted to move away from home and go live in another country. I asked him why, he said that it would give him a better perspective on life. I did not encourage him or even discourage him. There are both advantages and disadvantages to it. Well, to each their own. Who am i to tell him otherwise.

Hey, thank you for sharing this insightful story. There is so much in it. On another note, i really like the 'let it out' song. I Play it everytime i visit your blog. lol

I apologise for the annoying anonymous identity.

Anonymous said...

Ps: Anonymous=Martha (same anonymous on previous post)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karl Nova said...

thanks for the love on my blog Martha! So it's been Martha all through or was there someone else? LOL!

much love

Anonymous said...

Yes, Martha all through. LOL! No one else sadly.

Karl Nova said...


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