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Does DJ Cuppy win an award for just being DJ Cuppy?

By Sam Adeoye
15 May 2021   |   3:04 am
A long while ago, Nigerian Twitter mounted a resistance against DJ Cuppy. Now, when we say Nigerian Twitter, we mean the lot of ‘fans’ and critics who sit behind nicknames and periodically feel compelled to clip a wing or two...

DJ Cuppy

A long while ago, Nigerian Twitter mounted a resistance against DJ Cuppy. Now, when we say Nigerian Twitter, we mean the lot of ‘fans’ and critics who sit behind nicknames and periodically feel compelled to clip a wing or two — and no wing needs to be clipped more than those belonging to celebrities and influencers who may be guilty of over-do.

Over-do, according to Nigerian street lexicon, is excessiveness. A tendency to appear too perfect. An appearance that you might be getting high on your own hype, believing that you’re somehow better than the rest of us.

And when such malady is suspected in a celeb, it must be quickly rooted out. How? By urgently proceeding with quite a public evisceration of said influencer — whether they’re on board with this treatment or not.

In which case, how does a person survive on the other end of this treatment? To get an idea, let’s quickly go back to DJ Cuppy aka Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola.

Cuppy, as you might have heard, is the millennial rich-kid disc jockey and singer who recently starred in a social media saga opposite the much-loved rapper, Zlatan Ibile.

Cuppy had featured Zlatan on a track that had become a hit record. Then, Zlatan unfollowed Cuppy on social media and (perhaps) blocked her. Nigerian Twitter believed Zlatan shunned Cuppy because Cuppy had refused to pay Zlatan for his work on the song.

Consequently, the army of largely anonymous social media commenters got a little surly in the direction of DJ Cuppy.

They tweeted things in this vein:
As rich as Cuppy is, she still doesn’t want to pay her bills.
Rich people always think they’re smarter than ordinary folk.
Cuppy, pay Zlatan now!

This ‘controversy’ only piped down when Cuppy, having finally decided to end what she termed as a mischaracterisation campaign, introduced lawyers into the conversation.

But that wasn’t the first, nor has it been the last, of DJ Cuppy’s verbal ping-pong with her nit-picking social media ‘fans’.
For instance, you’d recall that blistering assault on her Pepsi endorsement deal in September 2020. In that situation, some Nigerians had demanded that Pepsi replaced DJ Cuppy with DJ Switch. Why? Because “Switch is more talented.”

Then, there was dress-gate, about a red dress she’d worn for a stage performance. The conclusion of Nigerian Twitter was that the silk was less than flattering.

While other celebrities may see the occasional cut-eye from the general public, Cuppy lives under the relentless burn of judgemental glares. The perennial hazing to which the 28-year-old is subjected obtains fuel from her being a billionaire’s kid, of course. It doesn’t matter to her multitude of detractors that Cuppy was born rich by no fault of hers.

Still, her art is routinely maligned just because she’s loaded. Her critics insist that she’s only playing at being a DJ because her family money can fund it for her as a pastime. This hobby of hers, they contend, is a career that any of Nigeria’s 70 million youths will kill to have.

However, if we’re to search, wouldn’t we find at least two rich young Nigerians who’d tried to buy their way into Afrobeats glory but have spectacularly flamed out? This should prove, even if unscientifically, to Cuppy’s naysayers that while inherited wealth could pay for a head start in business and the arts, it has never guaranteed success.

Besides, she could have taken any job she wanted, maybe even as an executive in any of her father Femi Otedola’s companies. For this, her business and economics degree from King’s College London would neatly serve. Or, by flashing her master’s in music business from New York University, she could have attracted investments in her own record label. But she just wants to be a DJ—one that has now played at high end events organised by the likes of MTV Africa Music Awards, the Financial Times, and Christie’s Auction House.

Meanwhile, Cuppy’s childlike personality, gentle charisma, and staying power—crucial to her fame — cannot be bought for a billion dollars.

Sadly, you could tell that this constant slamming sometimes takes a toll on Cuppy. As she’s said in some of her Twitter videos, people need to understand that all she wants to do is make music. That’s all.

You can also sense that she spends a good part of her days tuning her mind so she can shake off the vicious putdowns that just won’t go away. In a “Twitter rant” she posted in April, she said this: “I love my fans and I’m happy with the kind of fans I have but the idea is not [to earn] praises. It’s doing [music] because I want to; doing it because I think it’s important to do what I do.”

Thankfully, once in a while, in the middle of the demoralising chatter that’s directed her way, some friendlies show up and send her flowers for her positivity.

In the wake of the Switch vs. Cuppy song and dance, a Zaddy Ajala (@UNCLE_AJALA) said on Twitter: “DJ Cuppy’s attitude towards online trolls, bullies and hateful comments should be studied.”

Another person, Yon (@YomYom_) tweeted: “Everyone should learn to handle things online like Cuppy! EVERYONE!!”

Cuppy’s tranquil attitude, it turns out, may be the strongest defence she can muster against those who think she doesn’t deserve her career in entertainment.

For one, she’s not Tiwa Savage, the award-winning singer and master of the snappy 280-character-or-less retort. Ms Savage demonstrates steadily that any celebrity worth their name must be willing to overlook crowd judgment or give back verbal assaults as hotly as they’re received.

Neither is she Davido, the raspy-voiced international star who from the get-go has proudly owned the fact that he’s born into stupendous wealth. He called and still calls himself OBO (Omo Baba Olowo: a rich man’s son). He sings about having a bank balance of thirty billion, which, either in naira or dollars, is still a boatload of money. It’s a pre-emptive strike that against I’m rich, deal with it.

Cuppy’s option is to be imperturbable and this attitude has become her signature.While she may not be the first female DJ in Nigeria, she is the first to be figuring out publicly, and in real time, what it may take for young celebrity to keep a decent head on her shoulders while guarding herself against ceaseless assaults on her work and psyche.

Although she could be a happy-go-lucky youngster who sometimes jets off to Italy for a casual lunch, she proves, again and again, that having tons of cash doesn’t automatically buy one a licence to act rotten.

And as Twitter user Thug (@tolagraffiti) once wrote: “Cuppy is the most unproblematic person on the internet.”This is why she deserves her flowers and perhaps a golden plaque for being the model of a powerful yet mature person of the internet era.