The Nigerian showbiz is rife with celebrities and family brand ambassadors misleading social media followers with their appalling indulgence in alcohol and weed—which is illegal in the country.
Experts warn there would be an upsurge in the rate of substance abuse by youths if caution is not taken.
Like a competition where each participant is striving to outdo the other, many Nigerian celebrities have continued to showcase their love for the constant intake of marijuana and alcohol with little or no consideration on the implications. The list is endless. But the most prominent among them include leading music stars like Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Naira Marley and Olamide.
Confirming his addiction to marijuana, controversial singer Afeez Fashola (aka Naira Marley) tells his combined social media followers totalling nearly 8 million, “I don’t do drugs, I just smoke weed.”
The singer, whose lyrics and songs glorify sex, violence, and drugs, followed up his assertions writing, “It’s a very strange thing when you make nature illegal.” He is most relevant on Twitter and Instagram, where he consistently feeds his millions of followers with insights from his daily life. Although his lifestyle as seen on social media is considered weird by many critics, his ardent followers who refer to themselves as ‘Marlians’ see him as an influencer.
Except for the Ramadan period, the singer is fond of delighting his teeming fans and followers, who are made up of young teens and adults, with his huff and puff of marijuana videos and raunchy pictures on social media.
With much criticism from Nigerians, the ‘Soapy’ singer rarely gives a hoot. He neither worries about the consequences of his immodest actions nor considers himself a “responsible” role model with the message he’s sending to younger generations.
Months ago, the singer shared a picture of himself with his gang wrapping up marijuana and captioned it, “No permission! We do it with no permission.”
Naira Marley might seemingly be the most daring of them all but he’s sure not the only artist caught in this messy puddle of smoke promotion, as many of his colleagues seemed to have joined the trend.
Just like his mentor, Fela Kuti, Grammy award nominee, Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy doesn’t feel guilty smoking in his music videos and public places. In 2013, to show his love for marijuana, the Africa Giant dropped a special tune titled, ‘Smoke Some Weed’ off his album, L.I.F.E. In the song, he confirmed his affection for smoking saying, “I need to sing this song. ’cause marijuana has never ever done me wrong… Me have some marijuana in a me house that I would like to smoke with you gyal…”
On May 4, 2020, the 29-year-old singer caused a stir on social media as he was seen smoking in the presence of his mother and manager, Bose Ogulu. In the Instagram live video, the Port Harcourt born-artist and his mother were dancing to one of Wizkid’s songs as he was recorded exchanging blunts with a friend. Not his first attempt. The same year, a picture of him smoking in the presence of his father also surfaced on social media.
Not to be left out is Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka Wizkid. The 30-year-old singer is fond of showing off his smoking habits arbitrarily on the internet – especially on Instagram.
Before the release of his 2020 album, ‘Made in Lagos’, the Starboy usually feeds his fans with studio session clips that see him smoking while working. His Instagram page is filled with pictures and videos of the singer smoking or holding substances suspected to be marijuana.
Social commentators have observed that the father of three is losing weight and this has been alleged to be connected with his excessive intake of weed. “Smoke is drying you out… you need to take a chill,” a follower on Twitter cautioned the singer. Another Twitter user, Daddy GeeHoe, criticized that Wizkd has lost his good looks as a result of his continuous consumption of the substance suspected to be marijuana. “Too much weed has made Wizkid lose his beauty,” he posted.
A scroll on Olamide’s Instagram page proves that he is also a chain smoker. While he’s hardly seen smoking other substances aside from cigarettes, he has, on several occasions, been cautioned by industry experts for promoting drug abuse in some of his songs.
Another promoter of the binge smoking and drinking lifestyle is 28-years-old David ‘Davido’ Adeleke. The 30BG honcho seems to have quickly forgotten the circumstances surrounding the death of some of his close friends in the spate of one week in 2017.
Precisely, on October 8, 2017, the FEM crooner’s crew including his official disc jockey, Oluwagbemiga Abiodun aka DJ Olu, and Chime were found dead in the car park of a luxurious building situated on Banana Island Lagos. According to reports, the deaths were a result of substance abuse.
Four days before the incident, another of the singer’s affiliates, Tagbo, had collapsed and died after embarking on a drinking binge to celebrate his birthday with the singer and his crew.
Though the 28-year-old singer once hinted that he was quitting smoking just after a music producer, Don Jazzy celebrated his one year of non-smoking on social media, he has since returned to his old habit stronger.
The list of musicians is endless. The same goes for Nollywood stars with many caught in the web of playing characters that sees them interpreting excessive smoking habits on screens.
So bad is the trend that up and coming music acts find it extremely difficult to exist in the space without having to tow the lines of the most popular and trending music acts. The glorification of sexual acts, binge smoking, and drinking has become a norm that should be followed for any entertainer seeking success.