Azeez Fashola, popularly called Naira Marley, recently released a song titled: Soapy. The song was accompanied by a new dance, which has attracted different reactions from the public.
Some of his fans don’t see anything wrong with the new dance, while some others have expressed their dissatisfaction with the dance that, according to them, is suggestive of a man masturbating. For instance, dancer, Kaffy, made her views known on social media, but this was followed by criticism from Naira Marley.
According to Naira Marley, the veteran dancer’s dance styles were ‘old-fashioned’ and no longer ‘in vogue’. Like Kaffy, award winning choreographer, Nonso Asobe, also known as Donflexx, has also criticised Naira Marley for the new dance.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, Donflexx described Naira Marley’s ‘Soapy’ dance as promoting immorality.
He said, “The ‘Soapy’ dance wasn’t created by any professional dancer; there are loads of trending dances that have been created by professionals. It was created by an artiste that is trending at the moment. Many people love him and his music as a brand; what I don’t appreciate is the signature dance which looks like a man masturbating in public.
“It is not presentable, it is disgusting. I don’t support that because it would have a negative influence on the younger generation. People who are not professional dancers may see the dance as fun but basically, it is not something to condone or accept in the dance world.
“If we (dancers) don’t talk about it, people would just assume it is part of our dance style which may affect our image as pioneer dancers. It may affect the image of our profession. There is nothing creative about the dance; I don’t support it because I can’t find myself doing such a thing; it is obscene and disgusting. I wouldn’t even see that as a dance.
“I am not criticising the artiste or his music, but the dance itself; it shouldn’t even trend. Unfortunately, it is becoming a trend, but it shouldn’t even trend in the first place. As the song is trending, people should be aware that the dance is disgusting, even though, we are not discriminating against the song.”
Kaffy and Donflexx were trolled online for speaking against Naira Marley’s ‘Soapy’ dance.
However, there have been several sexually suggestive dance styles in the past that have trended without anything negative being said about them. Speaking on this, Donflexx addressed it as a misconception, noting that there a difference between sex appeal dance and a dance like the ‘Soapy’ dance.
“I want to inform people about fun/sex appeal dance; it is popularly known among was adults. Twerking is a fun/sex appeal dance. People go for training to acquire the twerking skill; it is not disgusting to the eyes. The ‘Butterfly’ dance is also a sex appeal dance. Even if you come on stage to present it, people would find it interesting to watch. Compare that with ‘Soapy’, which no one would find interesting to watch on stage; viewers would be disgusted.
“Even the ‘One Corner’ dance wasn’t created in Nigeria; it is an African dance that was created in another country and it only became a trend in Nigeria. Even artistes get beautiful models to create that sex appeal effect in their music videos. ‘Soapy’ appears gross,” he added.
Speaking about what influenced his style of dance, he described his environment and the kinds of songs he listened to as the major influence behind his dance styles.
He said, “Music and my environment influence the kinds of dances I do. No music artiste would shoot a video without dancers there. Social media is also a current trend by which dancers have a platform to show their talents. A lot of musicians use dancers on social media to promote their songs.
“Popular and talented dancers know how to keep up with their brands and stay relevant. If I post a video of me dancing to a Nigerian song on my page, it means I have been paid by the music artiste. Dance has been lucrative enough for me; I have been consistent with my art. If I wasn’t consistent with branding myself, I wouldn’t be able to get the lucrative opportunities I have now.
“Some dancers find it challenging to get their parents’ permission to become professional dancers, but that wasn’t the case for me. My parents were in support of my art; the only challenge I had was trying to balance my education and dance when I started initially. At the end of the day, my parents always respected my decisions. Although they were sceptical while I was still a student, they became convinced when I gained international recognition. I was able to make ends meet and put food on my table.
“Some dancers may feel underappreciated sometimes if they are not disciplined and well-grounded. It comes with branding and the way you present yourself on social media. Personally, no artiste would want to underpay me because of the way I have branded myself.
“Some dancers act like they don’t have a say in any contract they are going into; they don’t value their art and profession enough. Dance can improve in so many ways in Nigeria; we need platforms for dancers to be able to brand themselves. Kaffy recently held a dance workshop to nurture dancers to brand themselves. Dance is a serious business as long as there is a criterion.”
Saturday Beats reached out to Naira Marley via his official email address on his Instagram page but he had yet to respond as of the time of filing this report.