Alieu SK Manjang
The introduction of Manding Mansa, Nfa Amadou Korra, by Oboy in his recent Album laughing has triggered criticisms in the social media. Expectedly , such criticisms chiefly stem from people who once labeled Oboy as an arrogant, in a buildup to the much anticipated event which witnessed the presentation of Manding Mansa. Thus, the appropriation and depiction of this event as tribal by the same people can only be termed as an expression of preconceived attitudes and stands against the rising Artist.
Such stand conveys the tenet of a Mandinka proverbs which goes by : N’manlafi, nana buka lafi. Hence, this arguable accusations labeled against the man of the moment apparently serves gratifications to the psychological nerves of the very people who continue to attempt to create a consistency between their predispositions about Touraynding Dingho and the reality.
Against this negative labeling to one of the most successful Album launching in the history of the Gambian music , it is worth noting that Music is inherently culture, and it is inevitably a manifestation of identities through the spoken language, the message, the instruments, dress code, dance and performance etc. These components in music unconsciously signal messages about tribal and cultural realities of the people involved in the music. Thus, separation of music from identities is not only incomprehensible, but it is also elusive. Nonetheless, amid Americanization, Jamicanization, Nigerianization and Senegalization of our music industry , any approach that challenges what is considered to be ideal in music is either despised or disliked by people who perceive ditching identities a necessary step for fame and recognition.
However, Oboy and his music are embodiments of self-love and the enrichment of our heritage. Thus, knowing Oboy, in terms of who is he, his philosophy and approach to music one would suffice to be less surprised to see Manding Mansa being introduced in Oboy’s Album laughing. Additionally Oboy proves to have apt for being authentic, simple and self-reflective in his music, relative to the immersion into, and succumbing to the art of fitting into the socially-structured standard of music and musician.
Oboy represents a model to many young artists who are overwhelmed by self-fitting into a dominant culture that has colored the Gambian music industry for a long time. In fact the presence of many likes of Oboy across different tribes is necessary to resist the persistent suppression of other cultures and identities through music and arts. Likewise Oboy’s approach to arts and music is prerequisite in The Gambia to showcase and celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversities that characterize the social formation of the Gambian society, and upon which Gambia was founded, existed and would be remained.
Finally loving yourself never means hating others. Our strength as a nation lies in recognition our subjective existence and our objective co-existence.