Following the uproar surrounding the planned and later cancelled anti- government protest march by the popular Nigerian artist 2Face, many who didn’t know much about him are curious as to why there is so much interest in or negative opinions (depending on which way you see him) against the man that many see as an icon and a legend of the Nigerian Music and Entertainment Industries.
A cheeky post I placed on my Facebook wall “Please pardon my ignorance, but other than “African Queen” what else did TuFace sing….? ” brought an avalanche of comments, protests, factual and fictional stories of his raise from grass to grace and even quasi-autobiographies, and then insults, abuses and even curses from both die hard fans and supporters – many I’m sure would have happily lynched me had I been standing in front of them.
However, on reflection and after sleeping on the post, the many comments posted – and its overwhelming aftermath, I decided it will be a shame and a complete waste to limit the barrage of information provided to a facebook page.
One of the conclusions I reached after reading many of the comments is that Nigerians as a whole can be just as fanatical about the politicians, football clubs as of artiste they support and in their eyes can do no wrong – although I also realise that many of those who bombarded my wall with what was akin to declarations of undying love, adoration and scary devotion to the man 2Face are the same ones who refused to see why someone like James Ibori would also have his own die hard supporters. Hypocrisy and double standards at play?
Early days: Plantashun Boiz
Anyway, before I digress, we are made to believe that 2face, born Innocent Dibia started in the industry as part of a trio Plantashun Boiz made up of Blackface, Faze and of course 2Face. A source that was close to the group in the noughties claims Blackface and 2face attended IMT in Enugu together during their tertiary education.
After their education, the duo travelled down to Lagos but as 2Face had no family in in the city which he was coming to for the first time, lived with Blackface in his uncle, Sam Ahmedu’s house. We are also informed that the group “Plantashun Boiz” was started by Blackface and 2face long before Faze joined them even though 2Face was always against this move.
Blackface, we are told, was the leader for whom 2face had a lot of respect unfortunately fame has changed all that now.
According to Entertainment Journalist & PR Consultant Dare Gbadebo, who followed the group at the beginning of their career before they became famous, it was Blackface who came up with the name 2Face, because he had a habit of jumping from one music group to the other. But Blackface fought to make sure the group stayed together and eventually make it together. The group went along and recorded modest success before their enforced split.True to his nature, 2Face eventually betrayed his friend and the group. If there are other factors that led directly to the group splitting, these are not publicly known.
The song African Queen that launched 2Face to the world scene was originally written by Blackface for “Plantashun Boiz” but he (2face) left the group and took the song with him. The group had recorded a number of albums together and he was the best of them musically, although not the most perfect. Faze had a better voice, but 2face was the better singer of the two. Blackface wrote most of the songs they recorded while they were in a group.
But 2Face felt he was better than the rest and believed he could achieve success by himself. Some sources allege that he was tired of sharing the proceeds with two other people and wanted to make his own money for himself. So he moved out of the 3 bedroom flat the group shared in Festac and went about searching for a solo records deal. Eventually he ended up with Kennis and recorded the song African Queen which catapulted him into stardom, with them and he has gone on to enjoy international success and superstardom while his former partners were left behind and still struggling for relevance in the industry.
It would seem that many fans of the original group have not forgotten or forgiven 2Face for this act and still hold it against him even though it occurred over 20 years ago..
But aside his alleged treachery and subsequent rise to super stardom, many issues that people have with 2Face is due to his political association with the highly corrupt Jonathan administration and his very colourful personal life. At just 41, 2Face is the father of 7 children borne by 3 different women. All of them were borne out of wedlock including 2 by the woman whom he later married.
He also reportedly enjoyed quite substantial largesse from the past PDP government including the gift of 1 brand new Toyota Prado SUV from the then governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr Godswill Akpabio and a brand new Chevy Corvette presented as wedding gifts at his wedding by the then Senate President David Mark in 2013 although the latter has gone on record to deny this. The governor also sponsored the attendance of 20 people to 2Face’s wedding that took place in Dubai. It is however, not known if 2Face is fully registered or swears allegiance to any specific political party.
Commentators and critics believe that as an individual who enjoyed such generosity from key members of a government that has turned out to be indirectly but highly responsible for the dire economic situation facing Nigeria today by their unscrupulous looting of the nation’s treasury and widespread corrupt practices, 2Face lacks the moral fibre to stand up and protest against the current government for failing the masses.
Many also believe that as a man with questionable family values, is the wrong type of role model for young people and children.
International success and recognition
However, what ever allegations (falsely or justified) of treachery, blackmail or lack of sound moral values that might be levelled against him, nothing can remove the fact that Innocent “2Face” Idibia has risen from his small beginnings to become one of the greatest entertainment icons that the country and indeed the continent Africa has produced. He is reportedly highly respected by many contemporary Nigerian artistes and has many friends in top government and other high places.
His music has enjoyed worldwide recognition which can be evidenced by the number of high profile local and international Awards and accolades he has been presented:
1xMTV Europe Music Award,
1xWorld Music Award,
4xChannel O Music Video Awards
1xBET award for his musical work,
4xMTV Africa Music Awards,
1xKORA award, and numerous additional nominations.
His rich pool of work include African Queen, No Shaking, Nfana Mbaga, See Me So, 4 Instance, Enter the Place, Implication, Only Me, Rainbow, True Love and many more hits.
According to top entertainment personality DJ Abbas, “He is an African music legend without a doubt. 2BABA is in a special class of his own”
And another top UK based DJ Omo Whyte said of the star “2Face’s music proved that Afro Beats could be acceptable as mainstream Urban Music in the UK. He set the pace and others like Tony Tetuila, P Square, Faze, etc.. followed. He is a great icon”.
And I, starting with a simple cheeky comment on Facebook, ended up with an education on the man they call TuBaba.