Dreaded toxicity might be the social media reputation of Wizkid FC, but at the root of it all is love… lots of love and enviable loyalty.
Stan culture has ridiculously bad PR and brand identity. To most people, the entire purport of stan culture is premised on the idea that a celebrity, upon whom a fan base is built can do no wrong. That even when that celebrity goes wrong and he or she gets called out for it, the stans drum up waves of support for the celebrity and the narrative becomes skewered.
For most people like this writer, they can add context to almost anything in the realm of pop culture except the mad loyalty of stan culture. People like him cannot process the idea of certain people living and breathing their daily life for another person who doesn’t even know they exist. In the old days, some people would have deemed it creepy idol worship.
In the 70’s, certain people used to get watched by law enforcement for their obsessive tendencies as regards certain celebrities. If you opened a person’s house and you saw pictures of a celebrity plastered across their wall, you might ask questions. That’s not the millennial/Generation Z reality though – things have changed and the lines of questionable celebrity worship have become blurred. Celebrity worship is now a modern reality.
We grew up on the internet and social media nurtured us. That has helped aggregate our conversations and abridge the old gap between celebrity and fan. Channels of intimacy have been created by the internet for celebrities and their fans. These days, several fans of certain acts across social media live for Wizkid, the man born Ayo Balogun.
A cursory look through certain pages and you would see his picture on headers and personal effects. People would have hashtags like #WizkidFC in their bios while others have gone as far as to write, ‘I live for Wizkid’ in their bios.
Idol worship and the creepiness of it is now our modern reality – in truth, it’s no longer creepy. To us, it’s just life. While some of these accounts are bots, a lot of them are controlled by human beings like you and I.
A lot of these stans are this devoted and aggressive because they are young and very impressionable, but some of them also are old enough to understand the power and consequence of their actions. Yet, they rep another grown man and sacrifice a chunk of their lives to worshipping another human being – yes, it is worship and a very creepy obsession.
Nonetheless, the final part of that last paragraph is the conservative and primitive part of the conversation. Modern culture has evolved – the limits of celebrity worship are now close to non-existent except people incorporate physical abuse into the conversation.
Wizkid FC isn’t all bad – it would have been creepy in the 70’s, but not today. For us, it is a symbol of unique loyalty and the unique nature of love. It is a symbol of how celebrity identity can have so much power as to demand loyalty of a wide-spread group of people. Wizkid is not just an artist anymore, he is a movement.
How did this happen?
Music is an art form and some people have the ability to make art that drives the devotion of many. In people, different forms of art trigger sentiment and devotion. That’s why some people prefer certain genres of music over other genres. Peculiar to human nature is the concept of choice and preference.
For that reason, we choose a side – either we like it or not. Sometimes, choosing a side comes in the form of people. In Nigeria, Afro-Pop is the dominant genre because people want to dance. In the last decade, Pulse Nigeria named Wizkid the artist of a decade that saw Olamide and Davido also shine both locally and internationally.
The reason was simple; Wizkid had transcended the level of an artist into a movement. You might argue otherwise, but he is the pacesetter of an entire generation and the biggest brand in the most dominant genre to a people. Before any of his enduring peers like Burna Boy, Davido and Olamide gathered significant heat, he was already a superstar.
At the start of the 2010s, Wizkid had a ridiculous three to four year run where he was excelling even when he didn’t want to. It was in these moments that he was building an army that would later become Wizkid FC. Every hit became an anthem and his wins were celebrated by Nigerians who almost unequivocally love him.
— H (@Hamidadjado) May 3, 2020
The music was in him and he soundtracked our childhood and our youth. We looked up to him and he delivered. His story was relatable to us – a random middle class boy from Surulere who became a superstar. A boy who had become inimitable even by the greatest challenges and problems. Every song increased the connection certain people felt to him.
The love they had for his music became a love for him, the artist. He might not have realized what his song ‘Joy’ truly meant when he created it, but that’s what people feel when they listened to him – joy in its purest form. The joy he gave these people aroused a need for protectionism – they want more of this joy, so they seek to protect Wizkid.
In the same vein, they can’t understand why a lot of people simply can’t feel the same way they feel. In some ways, the love Wizkid FC feels for Wizkid is pure, but in other ways, it’s obsession. A lot of these people feel blessed to have Wizkid, who has soundtracked their lives while others are simply living vicariously through Wizkid.
When Pulse Nigeria spoke with Rexxie earlier in 2020, he was speaking about how he started making music when he casually reflected upon how every young kid with a dream of becoming a big star wanted to sound like Wizkid. At the time, Wizkid was under 23-years-old, but he had already become a symbol of different good things to different people.
By just hearing his voice on radio or seeing him do anything, he would become a trending topic. He was not limited by tribal divides either. He sings in different languages and people across the country would die for him.
This is the Nigerian version of those Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, The Beatles, NSYNC or Justin Beiber moments where fans would literally be fainting at the sight of celebrity.
The power of Wizkid FC
At some point, P Square, D’Banj, Tubaba and many others had the celebrity to drive people crazy. P Square got so big that women would faint randomly at their shows across Africa. During an episode of Loose Talk Podcast, music production maven Don Jazzy alluded to how he, D’Banj and Mo’Hits would look to P Square for inspiration.
We might argue that P Square never got the spotlight of social media like Wizkid has, but this is different. As a person, I never saw anybody want to kill for P Square. Across the country, many people would literally be willing to harm people for Wizkid.
During the fall-out from the infamous Loose Talk Podcast episode, What Is Your Shoe Size? Certain people stormed the Pulse Nigeria building to avenge comments made about Wizkid.
— Pulse Nigeria (@PulseNigeria247) May 3, 2020
Vybz Kartel – vibes
— www.KRAKS.co (@KraksTV) May 3, 2020