The world is buzzing with the story of MohBad, whose real name is Ileroluwa Oladimeji Aloba. It would have been heartening if he had made headlines as the next Michael Jackson of his generation or had the opportunity to perform at the world’s biggest concerts.
Unfortunately, it was his untimely death at the age of 27 that captured the headlines and ignited discussions.
The death of a young person naturally brings sorrow, pain, and agony to loved ones and, in his case, to his fans who had followed and enjoyed his music. However, this “Imole” (meaning “light” in Yoruba) shone brighter after his death.
Many people, like myself, only discovered him and his works posthumously. Over the weekend, I spoke with two family members living abroad at different times, and they mentioned their plans to join protests organized in Canada, the US, and the UK to seek justice for his “killing.”
They admitted to never having heard of Mohbad until his death but were compelled to explore his music, which had become more familiar than the artist himself.
As people mourn and demand justice, allegations and counter-allegations continue to surround the circumstances of his death. Unfortunately, “the dead stay silent,” and there is no Mohbad to tell his side of the story.
The only certainty is that the world has lost a talented individual. His son will no longer enjoy the love of his father; his wife has been widowed, and his parents are denied the joy of having their son in their old age.
Regrettably, many stories have dominated the airwaves, social media, blogs, and public discourse in the nearly two weeks since his passing. Some of these stories sound ridiculous and unbelievable, and it’s evident that some storytellers are insensitive to the memory of the deceased.
I’ve come across videos accusing MohBad’s closest family members—his wife, mother, or father—of being responsible for his death. While there may be cases of negligence and inadequate care toward the artist, outright attacks on his family are highly insensitive.
As my people say, “at the death of an elephant, all manner of knives will surface.” A number of people have taken on the position and role of law enforcement agencies in their narratives of this tragic incident. Stories have been told to justify allegations and counter-allegations.
It’s impossible not to notice those who are sharing videos and influencing the narrative solely for commercial gain. Many opportunists have emerged, including a clown who claimed the power to raise the musician from the dead, as seen in a video.
Without a doubt, it would have been better if MohBad had had the opportunity to tell his story to the world through various channels so that people could have learned about his creativity, struggles, and achievements while he was still alive.
In the midst of all the stories told for personal gain, selfish motives, genuine concern, and frivolous interests to gain followers, there is no MohBad to confirm or dispute these stories.
Everyone is now sharing stories that may be far from the truth, but the storyteller is no longer here to validate or deny anything amidst the noise. Death naturally robs people of the opportunity to share their last-minute experiences before their final departure.
So, what transformed this relatively unknown young man into a global phenomenon upon his death? Though he told part of his life story about struggle and fear, not many people who are now at the forefront of telling various versions of the story clearly understood him.
Even though his own narrative of his struggles and fears is still enveloped in secrecy, the clarity needed to unravel all the mystery behind his struggles and life battles is still shrouded.
The lack of clarity in his story left the narrative in the hands of charlatans, who are now exploiting the situation for their own gain and interests. This is a lesson for the living.
Mohbad lacked professional public relations support to manage his brand while he was alive. He did not have the strategic PR backing needed to showcase his creativity and project his image and brand to the many people who became his followers after his passing.
If he had told his story as a musician, utilizing the power of public relations to build his brand and connect with his audience and fan base, his uniqueness as an artist, his musical style, his background, and his journey would have been better understood.
Sharing your story in a compelling manner, reflecting what matters most to you, reduces the chances of misrepresentation, distortion, and outright lies that dominate the public space.
Leveraging the power of public relations in the entertainment and music industries is crucial for artists, musicians, actors, and other celebrities to build and maintain their public image, raise their profile, connect with fans, and promote their work effectively.
It’s essential to engage public relations professionals who can package your image, establish your credibility, and generate the needed awareness for your brand.
Note that public relations in the entertainment and music industries requires creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of your target audience. Don’t just release good music; be present with the music, as even legendary artists like Lagbaja were well-known for their unique genre of music.
Lastly, building and maintaining a strong public image is an ongoing process, and an effective public relations strategy can profoundly influence your success in the highly competitive industry while you are still alive. Be known now, not just when an unfortunate event occurs.
- Mayowa, a fellow of the NIPR, is the COO of StepCraft Nigeria Limited, a public relations consultancy firm