“We Did Not Ignore Our Local Artists” -Mayor Koijee Quashes Rumors; -Says Business Mogul, Not Govt, Invited P-Square

Since news broke about the megastar musical twin group P-Square being billed to perform during Liberia’s Bicentennial celebrations, tongues have been wagging, mostly criticizing the event planners and the government of Liberia for prioritizing foreign artists above local talents. However, providing clarity against the backdrop of the huge public backlash against P-Square being billed to perform at the Bicentennial while local artists are reportedly left in the cold, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee, who also happens to serve as Co-chair on the Bicentennial Commemoration Committee, says the Nigerian Afro-pop duo was invited by a businessman who took keen interest in the Bicentennial program and decided to invite P-Square as his own contribution to the event.

“We want to state accurately that what is being paraded on social media about our artists is not true. At no point in time have we ignored our brothers and sisters, to go and bring international artists to perform. What is being paraded is not true. This is the effort of an individual who is very happy about the Bicentennial and as their contribution, contacted the artists who have agreed to participate,” Mayor Koijee stated.

Making the clarification on Friday during a press conference marking the unveiling of activities for the Bicentennial Official Launch on February 14, 2022, Co-chair Koijee said the Bicentennial event is about Liberia, and as such Liberians must take ownership of the process.

“We want the full participation of our local artists, and even though there is a committee that is tasked with that responsibility, due to the sensitivity of the issue, we have decided to call an emergency meeting. We will get back to our local artists by today or latest tomorrow.

“We want the business people to join us. The bicentennial is being constrained by budgetary issues. We also want prominent citizens across the country to join us. If you have an artist and want them to participate, contact us,” Koijee affirmed.

He said the Steering Committee for the National Bicentennial Commemoration has engaged all sectors of the society to be part of this unique showcase of the country’s heritage, noting that Liberia was the first African country to test self-rule, and this is what this bicentennial is also about – celebrating nationhood.

The Monrovia City Mayor also disclosed that the Bicentennial Commemoration will coincide with Monrovia Day Celebration, to be observed from 12-15 February.

“As you may be aware, Monrovia will be commemorating its anniversary. It is time for the Mayor of the City of Monrovia to give a statement about the period under review, taking into account the vision and challenges of our administration. I am honored to receive a cross section of our colleagues from around the world, basically from America, Europe, Africa and Asia. They have confirmed their participation for this year’s Monrovia Day. Fortunately for us, the biggest event in the country is the bicentennial, so Monrovia Day will fall under the bicentennial events.

The clarification from Monrovia City Mayor Koijee regarding P-Square comes hot on the heels of rising criticisms from many facets of Liberian society.

Madam Kanvee Gaines Adams, a topnotch acclaimed gospel musician did not mince her words condemning what she sees as attempts to downplay local talents.

“Did I hear there are plans to bring P-square to celebrate our bicentennial anniversary?? What connection does P-square have with our Bicentennial?? Even me who lives in Nigeria has never been called or invited to their national events. What is wrong with us? And they’ll pay them thousands of dollars while the local artists get peanuts. Unacceptable!” Madam Kanvee Adams blasted.

MC Caro, an upcoming circular musical, who recently toured the United States of America and showcased her rap repertoire, was also angry and didn’t hold back, specifically attacking President Weah’s special aide Sekou Kalasco Damaro who had posted a comment that seemed supportive of the need for Liberians to invite other talents to their national occasions.

“Sekou Kalasco Damaro with all due respect, fakeness is when you wasted more than US$5K on Isaiah from Guinea when your brought him here to perform at the Ministerial Complex for some Muslim (we all Liberian) holiday but couldn’t drop 500 LD on Rocka$H Liberian Mandingo koloqua singer,” MC Caro fumed, noting, “that’s what fakeness is”.

Joining the fray again, gospel artist Gaines went at President Weah’s aide, suggesting that he recused himself from debates that concerned the artists, due to his close proximity to the presidency.

“Sekou Kalasco Damaro my dear brother, it’s a shame for a person in your position with close proximity to the president to encourage dishonesty. It would be better if you just watch us artists carry on this debate amongst ourselves but you supporting this sounds like President Weah is supporting foreign artists at our national occasion. This is wrong. July 26th,foreign artists. August 24th, foreign artists. President’s holidays foreign artists. Even President Weah’s first year in office celebrated foreign artists. We don’t get any day exclusively for ourselves. This is very sad. If Blue was an artist he wouldn’t be writing such but he’s just a promoter who benefits just as much as the foreign artists so what do you expect? We rise by lifting others not by castigating them. This is sad for us,” Gaines lamented.

Recently, DJ Blue Bernard Benson, owner of the Hott FM radio station, had railed against those criticizing the coming of P-Square to grace the Bicentennial celebrations.

“Stop this fakeness as if to say you are so patriotic. Government pays your own artist D12 $30K you complain. We brought a Liberian artist from America in December. How many of you came out to support? Tmark Slak Korpu organized an All Liberian Music Festival at Blue Fielld that not even 25 people attended. How many of you attended Bucky and Kpanto show this past December? The fact of the issue is when we genuinely start supporting our artists, P Square will not come to Liberia,” DJ Blue stated emphatically.

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