The Naked Truth: Brymo’s Heya! is a Well Thought Out Exercise in Self Realisation


Wait, ayam not understanding. You people said Brymo stripped naked for video? As in…una see yansh? And…did you people see anything else???? Noooooo! Has one of my favourite Nigerian musicians started running mad? I know they said s3x sells , but surely Brymo must have known they were referring to nubile, young women and not necessarily his own bum bum? But why are village people like this? Who did this to my dear Brymo?

I was really reluctant to watch this video or even listen to the song. It didn’t sit right with me that Brymo, an excellent artist and musician would sink to the point of nudity to give his single commercial awareness. Naming an album Klitoris is one thing, but nakedness? I’m not going to lie, I had misgivings.

The video starts with Brymo emerging from dark water into a sparse wasteland. Yes, he only has a leather apron shielding his most vulnerable parts but instantly, it is clear that there is nothing sexual about this image. This is a man stripped to his barest form; all I can see is vulnerability in a post-modern world.

And then Brymo opens his mouth and I forget the controversy enveloping the video, and only remember the reason I love this musician so much. His strong, masculine vocals stretched taut over the lyrics of this ballad makes you stop and think. Of pain, of regret, of waste, of his words.

Everybody say them dey go their way
But I no think say, say we dey block each other way
Lai Lai, y
ou no go hear the people say,
Say na our ignorance dey make life hard
Some dey talk and some dey walk and time just dey pass us by.

You hear the opening lyrics and suddenly, the nakedness makes sense. Should he be draped in the trendiest threads while discussing how we are responsible for our own suffering? No, this concept is ingenious and sets the tone for the song perfectly.

The second verse goes on to explain even deeper: we all have needs and wants, expectations from our partners, lovers, and even our country. And actually, the people we love want the same things in return. But we don’t stop to think of our role in the dysfunction. Don’t stop to think that we are complicit in the decay. And so, some dey talk and some dey walk and time just dey pass us by.

Yes, the controversy is loud, and rightly so. But if all anyone gets from the video AFTER watching it is that “Brymo was naked in the video”, then the rot we are in is deeper than I thought.

Brymo himself represents his video thus. In an e-mail to Pulse Nigeria, the artiste said,

“I decided to appear how my forbears dressed before the arrival of civilisation to Nubian continent.

“We have all seen the costume in many movies, “Heya” was my own representation of that age; A bushman in the city, that’s my image of most black Africans of today. Although we reside in cities, we are still villagers in our thoughts and actions”

And there you have it, ladies and gentle moi-moi. I would love to hear your thoughts though, so please watch the video and let’s know what you think!

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