I had never heard of the fellow called Skiibii before the news of his ‘death’ trended on Friday 14th August 2015. With such a horrible moniker for a real name, one could not care really what his name was, truth be told. But within a couple of hours, the name Skiibii became the most popular name on cybersphere in Nigeria, giving the artiste a desired ‘Five Star’ Fifteen Minutes of Fame.
It was first reported by blogger Linda Ikeji on Friday morning that Skiibii had passed on; news she said she confirmed from the Five Star Music spokesperson, Soso Soberekon. Since it was supposedly a valid confirmation by Linda Ikeji, Nigeria’s top blogger, it was only a matter of seconds before a sympathetic buzz started about the artiste’s ‘death’. I read about it like everyone else and since I did not know who the guy was, I mumbled a sympathetic prayer for his soul and moved on with my business.
But the initial picture released of the dude on the floor had me a bit disturbed then as to why someone who just died, with the blood barely cold in his body, would have that kind of bizarre picture immediately posted on social media. It didn’t make sense to me and I told a friend next to me that whoever released that picture deserved to be flogged.
To me, it was in bad taste and would also be the last picture anyone would remember of the artiste in years to come; that is if anyone would bother to. Perhaps being a slow news day, many people started putting up profile pics of the dead Skiibii, as is wont with such trends. But Linda Ikeji came back a a few minutes later to report that Skiibii was not dead, with barely contained disdain in her write up. She suggested that it was a publicity stunt and that was when people began to really look at the case with ‘another eye’.
The press statement from Five Star Music, refuting the death of the lad did not help matters. The damage had been done. 98% of the people believe it was all a publicity stunt. And that notion will be hard to dispel. I have my suspicions too that it is a publicity stunt, engineered to shore up the buzz of a new artiste trying to blow. And why should I not think so? First, the initial picture of the ‘dead’ lad on the floor, at close inspection, gives away the stupidity of those who were around the artiste when he was thought to be dead.
So, in their village, when a person slumps and dies, the first thing they do would be to snap pictures? There was no one smart enough to attempt to resuscitate the lad, by tearing off his shirt, removing his shoes, even stripping him to his boxers just to ensure that he had a fighting chance of resuscitation? The only thing the dense persons near him could do was to snap a picture and even ‘conveniently’ have the head of the ‘dead’ artiste away from the centre table?
The dude was even half-laid on the rug! Secondly, the coincidence of the artiste having a new single released just a couple of days before his ‘death’ and even being on a top radio station in Lagos the day before to promote his single, was just too close. Haba! Of course, one can safely say this because he didn’t really die as reported and this leaves room for such conjecture which points to a gradual summation of a publicity stunt ill-executed.
Thirdly, the other clue Linda has already pointed out in her blog, the coincidence of Skiibii wearing the same gear he had on two weeks before in a picture and still having the same gear on on the day of his death to the last thread and belt! Haba! Well, I guess we now know that he likes to re-rock clothes? The Five Star Music statement did not say which hospital Skiibii is admitted presently. For the public to believe that this was not a ruse, we need to know the hospital, the name of the doctor who is treating him, the nature of his illness and how it happened. That is how such is done elsewhere. This is a matter of a huge credibility problem for the artiste and even Five Star Music as a company and treating this with kids gloves has the potential of destroying careers on that label. For now, this smacks of a publicity stunt gone awry.
While I do not wish the artiste any ill luck but the best of his health, if indeed my doubts and those of millions of people are dispelled, it is instructive to note that it is not in anyway wrong to ask these nagging questions. There are lessons to be learned from all of this. Celebrities, especially those in the music sector in Nigeria, have degraded the art of PR to the most asinine of stunts and stories over the past couple of years. They throw lies out to those gullible enough to believe them and laugh in glee when such lies trend. Na una all wey dey believe come be mugu! It’s time we begin to question these stories and shame such persons behind such when they are found to be fake. Going back to this Skiibii in question, it would be safe to say that something really may well die in his world, with the negative angst this story of his has generated. His career. It’s Dead On Arrival. It’s his brief now to get a life.