Sunday, February 21, 2010
"NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO BEG ON THE STREETS" - MICKEY DREAD
If ever you should meet Micky Dread (Michael Olawale Odesanya), you would definitely want to ask him the same question I asked him, “What is it that makes you so happy?” I couldn’t help asking him this because his wheelchair couldn’t contain the amount of life radiating from him and you would definitely wonder how he manages since he must sit there.
But that has not deterred his movement or his liveliness. Together with his full time job he is now ready with his album. Boasting of the support of Hon. Abike Dabiri, Governor Raji Fashola and former Governor Bola Tinubu, he held a highly successful launch ceremony at the Island Club, Onikan on Sunday, September 27, 2009. We talked about his music and so many other things. Just read though…
What kind of music do you do?
I do a fusion of Reggae and Hip hop but I came from a full Reggae background. I used to wear dreadlocks before that’s why my stage name is Mick Dread. I used to be with Majek Fashek, Ras Kimono and Evangelist Buchi in a group called Floating Buker, but with time everyone went their separate ways. I am presently the clerk of the Shomolu Local Government Council but the music fire has refused to be quenched and I am brining out an album entitled, No Biz Like Showbiz.
When particularly did you start music?
My music dates back to my university days in Unilag. I graduated from university in 1990.
That’s almost 20 years now, what have you been doing since?
What makes a valiant warrior is knowing when to advance and when to beat a retreat. At some point, the musical industry was just in a droll, most music artist were going hungry and others were leaving the country or quitting music entirely. I had graduated from the university then with a degree in Political Science so I got myself an employment with the Lagos State Civil Service Commission but the musical bag refused to go away. So, I and my brothers decided to form a record company. It is called Factor Records and with the help of people like Senator Abike Dabiri, we are putting my songs out.
What have you been your gaining from music since then?
What I have gained from music surpasses financial gain. You could make me the governor of Lagos State today and I might feel as happy as I feel doing music. I have gained self esteem, self fulfillment and happiness. We shouldn’t always quantify gains materially, it is not good for the society. I had never been too committed to material gains, if they come it’s okay but one must be at peace with himself and his God. I have a good job and it is paying the bills.
Why are you just releasing an album now after all this years?
One is that I now have a pedestal which is Factor Records, there wasn’t one before and I am not one to go about begging record label executives to listen to my song. Probably, if others had come earlier, we would have been out since.
I am from a warrior clam in Ikorodu and one needs to hold on to some self dignity. Maybe all other of my mates in music have put out something but that’s their time and now is my own time.
What is it that makes you so happy and proud?
If you look at the way I grew up. You will understand I don’t ever remember walking with my legs. I believe there is a God somewhere, but where he is, I don’t know and I don’t want to bother myself to know. He has a pet project and plan for his own creation, earth. When you consider the fact that around the age of five, I had to be taken to a special school – Modupe Coal Memorial School (a special school for the handicapped) where I did my primary school then I went to St. Finbarrs College before proceeding to Unilag.
I had all my education on one street and during all these travails, I have always experienced the grace of God. There will always be somebody there to help me at my point of need; I don’t worry about anything and when you consider this, you will understand the kind of radiation that comes from me. You only see me wearing a weary look, probably when I am hungry but apart from that, I am always a very cheerful person. I believe a lot in God but I am not Christian or Muslim.
Being in this condition and being self sufficient, how do you feel when you see other challenged people begging on the streets?
Begging is a lazy man’s way of making ends meet. Being reformed (because I am not deformed) should not make one lose the drive to survive. It should not make one conclude that his needs must be attended to by others because everybody has a problem.
Begging has never been completely attached to disability. People simple appeal to that ever available culture within black people – it doesn’t thrive in Europe or overseas because the people are more individualistic while we are more criminal so you could easily appeal to the conscience of others. Do you know that most of these so-called beggars have very fat bank accounts but they would continue to appeal to our conscience and religious guilt? Alms giving is one of the pillars of Islam but when those alms should be given on the road or otherwise is what the Islamic teaching has not yet expatiated upon. 99 percent of these beggars have Islamic background, and they appeal to people with religious sentiments and people give in order to receive blessings from Allah. But begging is now a cankerworm that has eaten into our society because it is not restricted to people with disability alone that’s why I said it is a lazy man’s way of trying to make ends meet. It kills the dignity of mankind. I am not in support of begging because man was born with dignity, pride and self esteem. God gave everybody one talent or another. There should be a constitutional and legitimate punishment for it both the beggars and those assisting them.
When did you buy a car?
My first car was bought about six years ago but this second one was given to me officially by the Somolu Local Government Council because I am the clerk of the council. I simply transferred the driving gadgets from the first one to this one and gave the other one to my wife.
You are married?
Of course. But I am not married in the sense of signing a marriage register. I cannot sign away my God-given freedom, but I have a beautiful woman and three beautiful children at home.
But when you say marriage, no, I am a product of a beautiful polygamous setting and nothing says I must not be polygamous. But when you go and marry and then continue to keep other women, that is when you are committing the crime of bigamy.
If you love your woman and she has three beautiful daughters for you and you love her, why won’t you marry her then?
I love her a lot but I won’t marry her because that is un-African. If you show me the marriage certificate of Adam and Eve, I will get married. There’s a verse in Malachi that says that it is better for you not make a vow than for you to make one and break it, for your father in heaven does not tolerate liars. Why should I sign and say, “Till death do us part” and then start keeping other women? A typical African man would spend millions of naira on a wedding and then continue to keep women outside. My woman is my woman and I love her but it does not stop me from keeping other women outside, that does not disturb the relationship.
Is your woman aware of this?
Whether she is aware or not is not the issue. All she should be aware of are the children and the home and I, their welfare which I am more than capable of taking care of.
What if she keeps other men too?
If she keeps other men, she is relieving me of many responsibilities. There’s a wisdom in the African system because people will come to tell you that Jesus Christ said “One man, one woman” but they will never open if for you in the Bible. And I will open ten places for you where the true prophets of God had more than one woman – Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Gideon and so on. They all kept more than one woman.
Let’s go back to your music, how many songs are in the album you are bringing out?
There are four songs.
Is that not rather small for an album?
It is not because the taste of the pudding is in the eating. There is no need to just lump a bump of songs together in order to have a full album and in the end all you get are two or three good songs which people would remember and the rest are trash. I don’t believe in that or that one must bring out one album every other year.
What are the songs?
“No Biz Like Showbiz”, “Pass the Love”, “Khaki Man Fashion” and “Lovers Honeymoon”. The first one talks about entertainment. It is a very beautiful and legitimate business where you won’t have to dip your hands into the government coffers or have the EFCC after you. The second one deals with type of leadership we have had in this country. The third one is “Lovers Honeymoon” is about love. I love women and women love me. “Pass the Love” is a rehash of the song I did for MTN during the last Street Soccer competition, I was the official theme singer and I did this song. It encourages us to show love.
How old are your children?
The eldest Aishat is 10 years old, the second, Opeyemi is 8 and the third, a boy Orija is 6.
Is Aishat not a Muslim name?
It is. I named her after the first daughter of our president, Murtala Muhammed. She is like a godmother to me and I had to name my daughter after her in appreciation of all she has done for us.
How did you meet most of these your sponsors?
I first met the present governor, Governor Fashola, during his campaign to become the governor of Lagos State. Then again during the MTN Street Soccer competition when I performed before Rio Ferdinand. Former governor, Bola Tinubu, will be the chief launcher while Honourable Abike Dabiri is representing my constituency - the Egbeda zone at the federal level.
What are your final words?
Wherever you find yourself, instead of grieving, remember that the rose has a thorn and that every dark cloud has silver lining which is more prominent than those of others. For every challenge, there is a blessing.