Nigeria: Increase in number of music videos banned for erotic content

Michael Ugwu, the chief executive officer of Iroking, an online centre for afrobeat and Nigerian music, said there has been a large increase in the number of music videos being banned for broadcast in Nigeria.


“Artists have begun releasing videos purely for the internet to get round the censors. I have seen the content of both music and movie videos get more and more racy,” Michael Ugwu told the British newspaper The Guardian.

Nigeria’s state censors banned the single ‘Head Swell’ which was released by the popular artist Iyanya in August 2013. It has been available online only, where it was viewed 290,000 times during the first three months on

The hit single ‘Alingo’ by P Square, the identical-twin music duo signed by the American star Akon, was also censored for Nigerian tv.

Nigerian music industry figures say that the move towards more sexual content is an inevitable part of competing in a crowded market and catching up with global trends.

Church figures, on the other side, have been among outspoken critics of the new trend.

“There is a tension between African culture and this new wave of modernity and naked bodies,” Michael Ugwu told The Guardian: “People are pushing the envelope, but it’s not just happening here in Nigeria, it’s everywhere. This kind of content has been aired on channels like MTV since the 1980s.”

“What’s happening in music videos and movies in Nigeria would be considered normal in the UK or the US,” said Tony Tagoe, a Ghana-based former artist manager. “It is just that in countries that are very religious, where churches and imams have a strong influenced, they are noticed more.”

The Guardian – 10 September 2013:
Nigeria’s film and music industry falls foul of censors
Censors tackle ‘pornographic’ content in pop music and movies as religious leaders and media speak out. Article by Afua Hirsch – 24 october 2013:
Nigeria: Filmmakers protest ‘double-censorship’

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