To promote music and keep it alive, artists devise the most interesting stunts. While some create campaigns that build a great relationship between them and the audience, others push controversial, offensive and even morbid narratives.
We look at some Afrobeats artists who took their PR Stunts to the extreme.
On August 14, 2015, Skiibii Mayana was pronounced dead in a now-deleted IG post by his former manager, Soso Soberekon. Wizkid, Davido and other celebrities sent their tributes and condolences, but less than 24 hours later, Skiibii’s former record label, Five Star Music debunked the news, stating that their artist was hale and hearty.
Although Skiibii initially claimed he had a medical issue that made him blackout, he later revealed that the promotional stunt was Soso’s doing. This threw the once sympathetic public into a rage. Even Falz snuck him a diss on Soft Work: “You fit fake your own death, you still fit no blow”.
Kogbagidi is the show promoter credited for discovering Portable. In 2018, he faked coming out of the closet after Snapchat videos of him and Bobrisky getting cozy together circulated online. Later, he revealed in an interview that it was a stunt to promote Whine 4 Me by Kadex — one of his artists. He laughed the tasteless joke off as a “normal thing”.
When the Chibok kidnapping and #BringBackOurGirls campaign was hot and at the top of every news story in 2014, a singer and self-acclaimed virgin called Adokiye offered to give her virginity to the Boko Haram terrorists in exchange for the kidnapped girls. Although her statement went viral, she didn’t enjoy much attention as a person. Neither did her music.
In April 2017, KCee shared a photo of banded $100 bills on his IG page and claimed he made all the money in a day. Unfortunately, a guy in America called him out for stealing his photo — which he’d posted two months before KCee — and lying to the public. In an interview, KCee stated that it was all part of the PR plan he cooked with his manager to promote his new song, Desire. Apparently, he’d reached out to the American guy for permission to use the image but got no response.
Hmmm, Mr. Ojapiano.
On November 14, 2023, a tracklist for Teni’s sophomore album set to drop on November 17 went viral due to the lineup of heavy hitters like Bruno Mars, Burna Boy, Justin Bieber. Apparently, it was a fake concocted by overzealous fans. But neither Teni nor her team has addressed the situation so far. Instead, they’ve rode the wave to build anticipation for the album.
Good or bad PR may still be PR, but when the album finally drops, will it be worth the hype?
Later that November 14, Fave also became the talk of the internet. On November 9, she announced a $2000 competition, inciting graphic designers in her audience to create the artwork for her next single. She announced a winner, but the public, who were disappointed with her choice, became convinced that the competition was just a stunt to create a buzz around her upcoming song.
In June 2023, a “Where Is Ladipoe?” hashtag popped up on X and IG before taking to the actual street. Some “loyal fans” protested and marched to the MAVIN Records Lagos headquarters to demand for Poe’s whereabouts. Next thing we saw, Layi Wasabi had abducted the rapper. Guy Man dropped a few days later.
I wonder how much the fake protesters were paid.