4 Nigerians Explain How Their Creative Career Paths Affected Their Relationships With Their Parents

Inkblot Productions | Inside Life
December 8, 2021

It’s a tale as old as time. A child tells their parents that they don’t want to study one of the courses that Nigerian parents think is prestigious because they want to pursue a career in the arts. The parents forbid this because they believe the “studying arts in the university to poverty” pipeline is real. The child insists on following their dreams, causing a rift between them and their parents. Sometimes, they reconcile. Sometimes they don’t.

The 4 Nigerians we interviewed in this article have stories similar to the one above.

David, 30

I was a strangely precocious child who always knew what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a singer So pretty much every decision I made was something I believed would put me on the path to becoming that. I was a member of the choir all through secondary school and went to art class after Junior W.A.E.C so I could study something music-related in university. My parents only started paying attention to my career path when the time came to choose a course for uni. They made it clear that they only let me go to art class because they assumed I wanted to study law. At first, I thought they’d just complain about it for a while and let it go but they never did. The ultimate showdown came when they threatened to throw me out. I called their buff because I didn’t think they’d actually do it, but they did. I went to go live with my aunty, who I stayed with all through university. She paid my tuition too because my parents refused to do it. It’s been 13 years since all that but I still haven’t forgiven them. They attempted to apologise once but let slip that they still didn’t agree with the choice I made so I shut it down. My music career is going good. I don’t regret my decision at all.

Beatrice, 25

The thing that annoys me the most about my father is that he has made a conscious choice to not understand. And it’s not even that complicated. I’m a freelance writer and I’ve explained, countless times, how freelancing works (getting writing jobs and making money), but he just says that I “better not be doing yahoo.” I working from the living room one day when he passed and left a snide comment about how I should go get a real job, and it made my blood boil. Blinded by rage, I said terrible things to him that day, and we haven’t spoken in months because of it. I know I should apologise, but I won’t until I get one in return. With the way Nigerian parents function, I’m not holding my breath.

Yinka, 27

I’m not trying to engage in the Suffering Olympics but I feel like my case would’ve been easier if I wanted to be an actor or singer. That way, I could point at Ramsey Nouah or Burna Boy and say I’m trying to get to that. But I want to be a dancer. Convincing my parents to let me study Theatre Arts was a year-long struggle because according to them, “the only successful Nigerian dancer is Kaffy and she just got lucky and is still struggling!” Part of me feels like they only agreed because they wanted an “I told you so” moment in the future. I won’t lie, my dance career isn’t even close to being what I hoped it would. I’m mostly in music videos as a backup dancer / make video vixen and the money isn’t great. My parents and I are cool now but they still judge me for the path I’ve taken in different, not-so-subtle ways.

Daniel, 35

Let me just start by saying that I have no plans to patch things with my parents. I wasn’t a child when I decided to become an actor. I was 26. So the fact that they couldn’t accept and support my decision hurt me in ways I don’t think I’ll ever get over. In fact, the one thing powering my drive to make it in this industry (despite how hard it is) is so I can shove my success in their faces. Is this petty? Yes. And I truly don’t care.


If there’s any creative out there who has experienced this, they’ll relate strongly to the protagonist of the upcoming movie, Superstar, a girl named Queen (Nancy Isime) who gives up everything, including her relationship with her parents, to become an actress.

Do all her sacrifices end up being worth it for Queen in the end? Find out when the movie comes out in cinemas around Nigeria on the 29th of December 2021.

Sponsored by
Inkblot Productions

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

December 2, 2019

There are a lot of power-drunk people in Nigeria, with bouncers ranking very high up on that list. To be fair, you’d be power-drunk too if you were built like a trailer and had the ability to stop anyone from entering somewhere they really want to be. So, if you want that kind of power, […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

More from Inside Life

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X