Very recently, i shared a number of controversial topics on my whatsapp status. The reaction i had, both positive and negative pushed me to do this post. On a larger, global scale, i think some impact can be made. A lot of us claim we are christians. But how many times have we questioned the status quo? How many times do we look around and think that enough is enough? Or because pastors say, it is final ? How many times have we said NO, when it was expected of us to say YES? Should it always be the usual humble guy saying yes to the pastor? Often, i’m able to shake some tables, i dont intend to stop. I have gained friends and foes alike but hey, the truth is only one, All others are variations.
Fadama is a suburb of Accra known for its often rowdy boys and slam living. ( *known for* don’t come and kill me ). I stayed there for a short while, so i know what i’m talking about. It is surrounded by Lapaz, a busy suburb showing little or no mercy to its young inhabitants. Life here is hard for the young unemployed Ghanaian. It’s survival of the fittest indeed. Some of the nation’s most popular scammers hail from the surroundings of Fadama, Lapaz and Abeka. It is a fact. Some notorious criminal motor riders, gym enthusiasts, bouncers etc all hail from these trio of communities. Diluted with branches of lots of betting companies, fried rice sellers and the popular prostitute joint – Bigot. Notable popular great mentions are Las Palmas restaurant, Sweet Bite food center, Sakora park, Fadama mosque, Chief Imam’s residence etc. It’s a mixture of pleasure and pressure in these parts and you better make your stance known from scratch.
For a young man to succeed on a positive line in these communities is possible but difficult. When all your friends are doing something menial or dubious to make it and you decide to go against the tides, know that you’re in for hunger strikes. When they blow, they will treat you like thrash. “Blow” is a term they use to mean, when they start making big monies from either scamming, robbing, or other dubious means. Now let me jump into the subject of today’s controversy. We all know Kuami Eugene, he is a celebrated highlife and hiplife singer in Ghana and beyond. Kuami started out as a hood boy living the usual Fadama life. I decided to be very objective and blatant on this one because of some castigation the young man has been receiving in the Christian circles lately. There are fingers pointing at the young man that he neglected the church and did secular songs. People are against him because his vocal prowess are just too good to be used outside the church. During the festivities he was all over performing shows and making waves. A lot of people were angry that he could be doing way better in church, or let me say if he remained in church.
I know for certain that Kuami Eugene started out in church. He was a music director. He has albums and singles to the glory of God. He has flyers showing his works, with his choir. He’s even done some gospel music freestyles which went viral and had people all the more questioning why he isn’t using his gift in the church. All those years that he was trying to come into the limelight, there was no castigation until now that he’s solidly rooted in the limelight. To me that is hypocrisy. The ordinary Ghanaian only knows to add their voice when it’s usually a negative subject. And i say emphatically, no one should point fingers at the young man. No one should castigate him. No one, especially church people should throw tantrums at him. This isn’t “let him who has not sinned before throw the first stone”, this is “mind your business you hypocrite”.
Where was the church when he was a hungry and lanky lad roaming the streets of Fadama? Where was the church when he went days without food? Where was the church when he needed help and mentorship? I’m sure he made attempts at some adults in the church for help, but got the usual “God will do it” response. Now, God has done it too, you’re jabbing at him for going into the secular circles. A lot of people are not serious. The way some Christians can postpone their responsibilities even baffles the devil. The way some can hand over the biblical responsibilities on the Holy Spirit surprises the Holy Spirit himself. They have money, but to share for your upbringing, they’d rather contribute for your funeral organization. As a fellow church musician, i have had my fair share of church nonsense. The issue of familiarity cannot be swept under the carpet. As a church musician, you’re expected to be at rehearsals, at revivals, events, whether they concern you or not. Weddings, you have to be there, whether invited or not. And you’d do all these and be given Alvaro and pie at the end of the day. If outsiders were invited, they would receive fat envelopes and all you get most times is “God bless you” from a fat man. Isn’t it shameful that, you’ll be sidelined when it’s time for major events, then they’d invite outsiders to come and do what you can even do better. Same way, they’re given fat envelopes. When they want outsiders on events, they print out customized letters and send via envelopes to them. When it’s you, a whatsapp text is enough invitation. The impudence!
There are a lot of people in the church who are serving well. They do not beg for so much. Drummers, band singers, band players, instrumentalists, ushers, are doing so well and they barely get recognized or appreciated for their efforts, but believe you me, they run the church. Yet, deacons, pastors and reverends will receive fat cheques as salaries, some have special appreciation days like Pastors Appreciation Day, Deacons Day, and others where they are specially gifted and rewarded in cash and kind. The drummer does not complain from the backache he’s developed from sitting long hours on a chair without a backrest. The keyboardist doesn’t cry from the waist problem standing long hours to balance himself while playing. The guitarist has to bear the pain from using his fingers to make sure we get a good dancing session during praise medleys. Yet, they walk long distances often carrying instruments they bought with their own monies, at times, even deep into the night, ignoring their security and that of their gadgets. Some of the instruments and gadgets are delicate. It isn’t safe to be in public transport with them, so you have to resort to taxis and ubers. Sustain pedals, sticks, pluckers and strings all need to be catered for, all from their own pockets. Some are just students and fresh workers. How much are they earning already before all these unexpected expenses? So is it fair when church folk say these class of servants do not deserve pay nor salary? It’s not like it’s a must, but that small 30 -100$ will go a long way to support in a form. When it’s unexpected, dash them something. It goes a long way to motivate them.
Do not be mistaken, the church has money. The church makes money. If not, it won’t still be in operation. Already, most churches are not taxed so they barely contribute to national development. There a number of commendable projects being undertaken by the church such as scholarship schemes, schools, etc. They are all good. But can we take a look at another angle? MENTORSHIP. There are a number of brilliant entrepreneurs in church. There are a number of skilled personnel in the church. Take a keen look, they all eventually get to see their full potential outside the church. A lot of great musicians started from the church. Where are they now? so it isn’t surprising to see Kuami Eugene, Kidi, Becca, Kaakie, Adina, Wendy Shay and the rest in secular circles. Most times, it is not their faults. They’ve been hungry for a long time. Imagine you were in their shoes and NAM1 approaches you with some 50,000$ deal, who in that condition wont fall ? Tell me who? Definitely not me though. You can’t blame them, for someone to talk about the saving power of Christ, and all of a sudden, talk about the killing power of boobs and nyash of their girlfriends, it’s shocking, but again, you can’t blame them.
Most times, you realize what we desire from adults in the church is someone to talk to. Someone in our field to show us what to when faced with what issue, but there’s none. It’s why i admire the Christ Embassy and Lighthouse Chapel so much. From knowledge, CE has studios, a multimedia company, a PR firm that works on its in-house musicians. And so as a musician, from start to finish in your career, the church has got you covered. That is a solid record label you’re under. What more could you ask for? But for some yaanom churches, even for drum rehearsals, you’d have to wait for someone with the keys to finish preparing dinner for a family of 9 to come to the church premises 3 hours later before you can get 15 minutes to rehearse. The Christ Embassy has groomed and continue to manage the brands of E-Rock, Sinach, Frank Edwards, Ada, and many others.
Can’t the church have some business network club to connect young ones to adults in their fields for mentorship? Can’t the church hold pitch competitions so competing entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to church boards to earn investment? Can’t there be governing bodies monitoring progress and incubator periods, so that successful winners can get to also invest in another entrepreneur in the next five years? Can’t we open donation accounts specifically for church agricultural projects so that entrepreneurs in that field undertake the projects and get paid? It looks like it’s only weddings, funerals and outdoorings we spend on in church. But everyone is expected to bring fat offerings during thanksgiving, including the person who can’t afford three-square meals a day. Including the unemployed graduate of 4 years who’s depressed and has nothing to write home about. Including that lady who lost her husband and got sacked from work for two years.
In conclusion, the same way the church is searching for lost souls, the world is also searching for loose souls. You may be an upcoming singer reading this. Your church will watch you hustle hard. If NAM1 brings you that 50,000$, trust me, your ancestors will whisper in your ear to say yes. Your mind will change without you seeing anything for the next ten years. Church talents are most useful outside the church. Session boys all over Stonebwoy’s stages. A lot of media persons now shooting secular concepts. Will you blame them? You’re only useful till it’s time to pay you. The church should sit up and stop being lazy. like how they pretend they dont do politics and so let unscrupulous people assume political positions only to come rule over them with bad governance, then the church jumps up to complain again. What harm will it do if spirit-filled religious people assume positions and turn things around, the God way? What harm? But yet again, they’d sit and hope God comes down to rule them. SMH!!