Music Banned in Nigeria-Edition

This Weekend Music Break, No. 83, features eighteen pop songs that can't be played on Nigerian airwaves. You can still listen on your phone or watch the videos on Youtube.

A still from the music video for :Yayo" by Phyno, one of the most popular songs of 2014 in Nigeria.

This summer Nigeria’s Broadcasting Corporation, or whoever is in charge of censoring content there, decided to ban 18 pop songs from outlets  falling under its jurisdiction for either containing “vulgar lyrics,” “obscene video” or something else. What is interesting is that except for two songs by Omarion featuring Chris Brown and Jhene Aoki (“Post to Be”) and Nicki Minaj (“Anaconda”), most of the songs are by Nigerian pop stars. Musicians like Davido, Naeto C, Olamide, Wizkid, etcetera have seen their music banned. Which makes us conclude, that for all that talk of Nigerians as a chaste, church going lot (the view that the government and governing elites want to convey), they’re not that innocent.

In any case, while the music is banned on the public airwaves, they can still be played in clubs or in your car or streamed on your phone.

Banning music on Nigeria’s airwaves is not new. During the Biafran War, Rex Lawson was arrested over his music supporting Igbo nationalists. Most famously Fela Kuti fell foul of Nigeria’s censors numerous times. You can’t sing of the excesses of the various military regimes or the corrupt business class without pissing them off.  Nigeria’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression, but that doesn’t stop the censors.  Two years ago, the music video for Iyanya’s song “Head Swell” was banned for broadcast on Nigerian TV for adult themes. You could watch it online though. Around the same time the video for P Square’s “Alingo,” mostly images of dancers dressed in black demin accessorized by chains and gyrating in cages, was also censored.

So here, dear reader are the list of those 18 songs that have recently been banned presented as a #WeekendMusicBreak playlist.

Further Reading