If there is an award for the most undeserved title of the year, then Yemi Alade has already won. I’ll suggest she wins it every day till her next album.
That title, Mama Africa, is the name of her sophomore album, an album that has the lady feature artists from around the continent—if the continent had only eastern and western regions. How exactly has the lady who became famous as a lovelorn woman become this African Union poser? One word: 'Johnny'. That song became a hit around the continent. I recall women of different ages dancing vigorously to the song one evening in Accra.
What to do with this new found fame than to consolidate it around the continent with a self-given title?
Problem is, Ms. Alade is neither a great vocalist nor an imaginative songwriter; she is nowhere near the original Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba. An average artist through and through, Alade won millions over because she’s beautiful, relatable, energetic, and arrived with sass. She is genuinely charming. To a degree, she was and remains the epitome of the Lagos girl in the Nigerian imagination. Men want her; women like her.
That image is absent on the cover of Mama Africa, which shows an unsmiling Yemi Alade with hairdo that is clearly meant to conform to a dated idea of Africa. But of course the Ms Alade persona is a sensual, funny one. That was the persona fans around the continent connected w ...