Rapper says he does not want to earn ‘our country dirty name’, as he spends Wednesday pleading with fans not to spend their money on internet shopping
Nigerian musician Davido has pledged $600,000 (£430,000) to charity after fans bombarded him with abuse and fan-versus-fan violence following his best-selling Christmas song.
Many Nigerians flocked to music stores to buy the song Look At Me after its release in December, raising its online sales to 200,000 copies. With some proceeds from the song also going to charity, media reports estimated he was earning $30,000 a week.
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But industry insiders, users of social media and fans expressed anger after Davido appeared to charge another $50 for an image of himself at the top of his social media pages. Supporters also attacked any retailer selling the single.
On Wednesday he launched an online plea saying he did not want to “earn our country dirty name”, adding: “My whole aim is to give back and fix lives.”
And he called on fans to give back to charity themselves, telling supporters that his actions were “only motivated by my passion and love for our country”.
Davido has sold more than 10m records in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, for his dancehall and pop-rapping hybrid. But after releasing Look At Me and making a billion from the song’s sales, the 26-year-old artist has faced increased criticism for his vast wealth.
Davido (@Davido)@jimmycgarrison i was upset cause i didnt think i have bring change here in nigeria. know when this times of change comes everything y’all not doing wrong i’m giving all this money. i don’t want to earn our country dirty name.
While Nigerian online retailers did not protest against Davido’s sales strategy, some stores reported receiving a substantial backlash.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who owns Dorchester, a company which owns stores in the Davido district of Lagos, did not comment on the controversy.
He told The New York Times: “I know that there are a lot of people that are not happy with Davido’s decision. I have a very close relationship with Davido and he has a wonderful heart. I am here today to tell you that his heart is in the right place.”
Lauren Greenfield, who directed Oscar-winning documentary Hoop Dreams, tweeted that she was appalled.
Lauren Greenfield (@lgreenfieldfilm) People asking if i feel sorry for Davido. I don’t. But i do for those who could not escape the album in form of lyrics or advertising.
But she added: “At what point is a guy like Davido able to stop using music to sell records?”
Others rejected the complaints. Exasperated fans, mostly of young Nigerian men, hit back.