Saturday, August 30, 2008

The ANITA BAKER show that never was


On Saturday the 30th of August, I dressed up eagerly, applied lip gloss quickly, grabbed my bag and camera, and went for a concert that felt to me like a dream of a lifetime come true.
I listen to Anita Baker’s songs everyday; she is on my ipod and I think that she is a true diva with class, who paved the way for so many other artistes.

Excited I was, and I sat through the jokes, music, and dinner, expectant and ready to sing along to ‘Same Ol Love’ and ‘Rapture’.

Alas, that did not happen for IK, the host for the day had to come and convey serious and sad news- Anita Baker was refusing to perform and would not perform. Tickets would be refunded, and the food and the drinks were now on the house.
A lady who came all the way from Abuja just for Anita, broke into tears. Something in me went quiet, and as I write this, it is still not awake. We had paid 450, 900, and 9000 dollars to see her perform, but that was not to be. People got up in shock. No anger, just a lot of sadness and disappointment. As IK had said, Anita Baker had been shown nothing but the best of Nigerian hospitality (best hotel, chauffeur driven cars with police escorts, riders accepted and so on).

What were the facts of the case?
Here is what I pieced together.
- When Anita Baker was contracted, she had been informed that some guests would pay for tables.
- The hall was set banquet style with tables, and dinner and drinks were to be sold.
- Tickets cost 450, 900 and 9000 dollars and these came with dinner promised.
- Anita Baker came into the hall at 6pm, and said she would not perform because it was a show and the hall had been arranged banquet style.
- The organisers removed half of the tables and arranged them theatre style, then explained to Anita and her crew that some people had actually bought tables.
- Anita Baker still refused to perform.
- The organisers then pleaded with her to let them serve dinner, then remove the tables and arrange all the chairs theatre style.
- Dinner was quickly served while the Nigerian acts performed.
- Unfortunately, Anita Baker still refused to perform.

Please note that Nigeria is one of the African countries that sees a steady influx of international performers! We have had, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Wyclef, Sean Paul, Lynden David Hall, Fat Joe and Mary J Blige, amongst a whole host of others. Infact, even Usher who had to cancel his first performance in Nigeria, gave us a second chance this year and performed in Abuja.
Perhaps Anita Baker saw this and wanted what they had- a hall packed full of screaming fans, standing from evening to morning.
However, there are different types of shows, and it is up to show organisers to package these shows as they wish. Anita Baker was actually given the exclusive show type- where the tickets are very expensive (almost ten times the going rate for tickets to other shows with international acts. And that was the cheapest ticket!), dinner is served, and the guests are of the highest cadre! Several international acts have performed at such events in Nigeria, including Lionel Richie, Shalamar, Michael Bolton, Kenny Latimore, Joe, and Angie Stone.

Anita Baker should have been angry with the organisers! She should have punished them by asking for more money, or performing a set that was briefer than usual. What she should not have done, was take it out on the fans! She should not have taken it out on the fans who came there ready to enjoy an evening with their favourite artist. Here in Nigeria, we have a hair cut named after her! People know all the lyrics to her songs! And for an event that was not even highly publicised, she still pulled a crowd that filled the hall!
The least she could have done was say hello to the fans!

I hate that she did that to us. I feel she did it, and ‘knew’ she would get away with it because we are an African country, a third world country in her eyes! I am sad that she feels justified to treat us like this.
I hope the international press will carry this story. I cannot wait to hear her side. I cannot wait to see her on ‘OPRAH’, defending herself.

I feel for the organisers who have surely now made a loss.
I feel for the fans who have lost some of their passion for their star.
I feel for those who she is setting a terrible example for.
I wish her all the best, but I know that she owes us an apology.


  1. sorry is that 450k zimbabwe dollars or Naira, that much for a concert?, where is my singing voice.

  2. Ahhhh... partially the reason u looked so down when I saw ya...
    that's horrible that it went down that way... I feel for the organizers - they can't break even on this.

  3. Anita Baker didnt perform? Kai. Too bad

  4. eya..ok i am upset with her commoonnn

  5. so Anita is this bad, i'll stop listening 2 her musik.

  6. Na wa o. All that money for a no-show? Why did the organisers let her get on the plane back to wherever she came from? She should have been made to cough out all that money o. Na yams?

    Me I no go gree that kin thing o. But honestly, did you pay to attend? You must not throw stones at those who paid to see Mama Obama-Onyiuke o. At least those ones had their fun.


  7. I blame all of you! Who is Anita Baker ... a washed out hasbeen wannabe! I wouldnt pay 5kobo to watch her! I rather go watch Salawa Abeni! Serves you all right

  8. Wow! Did all that really happen? And where was i? All the same, i'm so disappointed. I totally agree with you speech girl....Anita owes us an apology for that expensive tantrum she displayed.

  9. Anita owes no body an apology speech girl...before she came she told the organizers that she does not perform in such setting! she made it clear on the terms of her payment!
    Even the contractors of Anita to the Organizers made it clear to the organizers!

    They faltered and yet decided to do everything to redeem the mis-hap!
    Speech girl, if u are a professional you shud be treated like one! there are standards..dbanj may collect 3million for a show, but that dont mean mode ix can request for the same...(levels/standards)..

    i recall a similar situation with a frnd abroad who told me standards really matter!

    so i suggest "ORGANIZERS" should get their Job done properly!

  10. She didn't perform? Wow!...but i'm not bothered...never liked her music anyway. But she should have at least considered her fans...maybe she would have considered them in countries like U.k, spain, u know..those countries. Maybe she didn't care how we'll take it 'cos let's face it...we are Nigerians. Anyway, all well and good...other intl stars that came down here and still performed dont have two heads oh!

    Monday, September 15, 2008 at 5:00 am |
    The LEO Club (Youth activity of the lions club international) would storm Ghana National Association of teachers’ hostel in Accra Ghana from 17th to 21st September 2008. The media/sponsorship head of Leo Youth Exchange Programme&1st runner up, Mr. Leo Nigeria Leo Chaste Inegbedion,
    Olumo rock as youth exchange beckons
    1st runner up MR LEO NIGERIA
    Said the event was conceived annually to foster and build a relationship with other Leo clubs in the western region of Africa beginning from Ghana.
    According to him, the Youth Exchange would feature the visit to the Parliamentary House, Regional Minister, Ambassador of Nigeria to Ghana, media houses, interactive sessions, media exchange and to crown it up: A SUPRISE Bash for MTV Base/Multiple Award winner & a role model for the youth' Tuface Innocent Idibia on September 18th 2008 a Trio initiative of My Funky birthdays, Creative5World& Leo Club District404B.
    Eni Balogun (Lise), Dele Momodu (Ovation), Deolu Adeboye (wisemen) Femi Aderibigbe (Nigezie) &Uche Okonkwo (CNBC) has been contacted to deliver a presentation on “art of entertaining to empower”. Over 13 Leo club in Ghana, Leos and Lions from Nigeria would be present attest Leo Kunle Akinremi DC International Relations.Ghanian artistes such as batman,tinny,vip& a host of others have been invited with a special rendition of "yanga dem& tuface hit track" by OSHO*A Quo vadis act & Miss Telecom Nigeria.
    Today on STV, STV&Rhythm93.7fm, CNBC Africa, Nigeria Telecom news weekly.
    Soundcity Blast,Financial Standard, Ovation,Citypeople,Applause Mag. , Chat street,0700 smat nos,Lise Beauty range, ,Logica promotions,TV3 Nigeria& Ghana,Nigezie,ChannelsTV,QuoVadis, Golden Tulip Hotel Accra, Dynamix Mag.,Jimbrooks,BankPHB ,Fayrouz, Wisemen Apparel,Clothsense, Stanbic IBTC,ZAIN,and IHS have been contacted for Mentoring support.
    Nigeria Ambassador to Cuba, Lion Sen. (Amb.) Segun Bamigbetan Baju has endorsed the event.

  12. dats so sad... actually listening to her right now... i ca imagine ow u feel...