By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
Man of God,
There is a Mohbad in your youth church about drifting off, perhaps to Marlian Records. He really needs to “blow”. And he wants to do so through his art. The lure is strong and enticing,sir. Can you stop the Marlians (and their likes) from baiting him with juicy music contracts and eventually snuffing out the light in him?
I know you were not called to run a record label or raise musicians and music ministers. But the quality of music coming from your church is attracting all manner of young people with diverse gifts, especially in the arts and creative sectors. Is there anything you can do to help them harness these gifts?
Why can’t these young people “blow” in God’s kingdom? Why is it difficult for us to hold their hands and guide them to stardom? It’s not rocket science, sir. Can you include a basketball court, a table tennis arena, and a lawn tennis court in the design of the current or new church facility? Can you set up audio and TV studios and get the same production team that works full time for the church to mentor and produce songs, films, etc. for these youngsters in church? Can the church’s music director come up with a plan and strategy to harness and unleash their musical talents? Can we organise in-house talent hunt shows just for young people? Sir, it takes fewer efforts and funds to organise a mega Christmas concert than it would take to organise a book writing challenge or science and technology fair amongst secondary, polytechnic, and university students in your church. So, why aren’t we doing it?
Sir, I’m certain you admire Hillsong Worship, Intergrity Music, Elevation Worship, Bethel Music, and Maverick City Music. So, why aren’t we borrowing these ideas like we’ve done in other areas?
We have Loveworld Worship and Love World Music, and you even invite the artists on their label to bless your congregation. What can we do to support Mount Zion Film Productions, create more of it, and expand this area of talent for the good of the kingdom?
You keep saying God did not call you into stuff like this. But you have done several things that God did not call you to do. Sir, why don’t you just say you’re not interested? You don’t give a damn about young people, and you definitely lack understanding of youth development. But you’ve preached a sermon on David and his mighty men? Perhaps that’s what makes the difference between you and Niara Marley. He seems to understand a bit of what you don’t. Hence, he could attract Mohbad into his den…and many other kids like him from the church. In one night in 2019, after an unprecedented show that shut down the Eko Hotel Convention Centre, he announced that he was starting Marlian Records. And by 2020, he had signed up over seven artists.
Promise Ilerioluwa Aloba, professionally known as Mohbad, was one of them. No doubt an exceptional talent,this young man had lots of promise. A sheep with so much to offer and a light that simply wanted to shine.
In his quest, albeit desperate, search for stardom and a platform to express his art, he fell amongst woves, jarkals, and hynenas. They fed him fat from the king’s meat. He had his lighter too. He pulled and sipped as he belched out hit tunes for them—and the entire world.
Suddenly, it dawned on him. “Imole,” the reality of the light he carried and the essence of that brightness, soon became his priority. He commenced a journey of retrospection and rediscovery. And it became clear that he’s after all not a gangster and that “Mo bad”, a Yoruba moniker that literally translates into “I am Bad,” which he took on, was truly unbefitting for a child meant to shine as light.
“When people hear the name Mohbad, they will think and conclude that I’m a bad person or gangster,” he said in an interview. “But I’m not a gangster, and I’m not a bad person; that’s why I chose “Imole” as my new stage name,” he added, beaming.
The scale had fallen off his eyes. He wanted out. The king’s meat was beginning to taste badly. Being “Imole,” he wanted to reflect that shine and brightness. But somewhere, perhaps while still in the den of darkness, he had set eyes on Medusa. No one sees Medusa and lives. Sadly, Imole couldn’t shine.
It was dimmed on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
All fingers are pointing to one man.
It is uncertain whether or not this is the end of Naira Marley, the cannabis-loving stoner and street-hop artist who owns and runs Marlian Records.
He is apparently suspect number one and is said to be on the run. But could this be the end of this ugly trajectory where the “Imoles” in our youth churches transist into Mohbad in a bid to blow, dine, pop champainge, and smoke weed with the kings of street pop?
What do you say, Pastor?