By Alex Roberts
I’m swirling my second drink, both of which were needed to wrap my mind around what I have read across the last 36 or so hours regarding the Big Brunch and all of the weirdness that transpired (don’t judge our editorial team for day drinking, such incidents as this one bring about migraines from repeated slapping oneself in the head). It is a story of woe, hypocrisy, systemic failures, pandemics and the most juicy of terminal dumbness.
I don’t know about you, person that I’m deeply hoping is procrastinating at their office whilst reading this little screed, but I for one am the easiest lay in the world for stories of moronic happenings, particularly when they affect the music industry of this Kampala.
As such, my popcorn was rendered buttered hours ago, and I have just added ice to the aforementioned drink (a White Russian, if you’re indeed curious).
Very quickly, let’s get the formality of reviewing the events out of the way:
On Saturday, December 12th, at the fabulous Jahazi Pier, the Big Brunch event was held featuring Nigerian musicians Omah Lay and Tems.
By the next day the musicians and some of those involved with putting on the show had been arrested.
The defendants are now due in High Court for a follow up court appearance (via video link, of course) on December 16th (tomorrow) to face allegations regarding: “negligently doing acts likely to spread an infectious disease C/S 171 of the Penal Code Act.”
Are we together?
Dear Lord where to even begin on this one, there are so many decrepit angles to take, all cutting slightly deeper than the last. Let’s begin with the obvious question at stake- why, oh why was The Big Brunch given permission to hold an event in the first place during this age of COVID-19, only to be promptly arrested post-performance?
Was there some sort of a time portal in play with this concert- one that endowed the hours of the show itself with some sort of supernatural hue, one that keeps COVID-19, gonorrhea and entitled fuckery at bay until after the curtain call?
What small-minded fuckwit signed off on this idiocy? No, it isn’t a good idea to hold a concert during a deadly pandemic that is spiraling out of control, so why was the go-ahead given? Did the co-signing officers recently awake from a 11 month coma? Did the bribes they took prior to Coronavirus induce said coma?
Speaking of bribery- shall we pretend that this was not some sort of bastardization of capitalistic ideals?
Well I for one, being the wide-eyed innocent that I am shall choose to look a different direction, and not towards a police Captain currently banging his mistress in a hotel in a nameless Kampala suburb. No, of course there are no such realities, this was a wholesale example of police action at its very finest. Those responsible have definitely been arrested, there are no eye brows to be raised and the music industry of Kampala is (and has always been) on decidedly equal ground.
The question I keep hearing is why the artists- why indeed. According to some, it’s as if Tems and Omah Lay personally flew in, built the stage, set up socials, passed out flyers on hand-made paper in Kololo, Muyenga and Buziga and delivered large bags of cocaine as tribute to whatever higher power was needed for the go-ahead.
They get the headlines, but what of the organizers? Sure there were some arrests but will any reputations bare the stain of a ‘COVID super spreader’? Something gives me the deep-seeded doubt that it will. Entitled folks always manage to get away with it. Just as these artists will somehow wind back in Lagos a week, the organizers will skate somehow free for the most part, probably with the exception of one mid-management fall guy who will remain remanded until mid 2025.
It is an ugly to do all around, with no correct parties involved and everyone eating more than their fair slice of the idiot cake.
My guess is that cake tastes like the 100,000 UGSh it took to merely get into this fuckery fest in the first place. Which brings me to my next point- is anyone else sick with this rich kid bullshit when it comes to concerts in this region? As in these guys organized a concert during a pandemic in which most of us aren’t allowed out past 9PM (for there are most certainly NOT bars that go all night anywhere in this Kampala) and then *ALLEGEDLY* proceeded to get an illegal form of legal clearance only to be declared illegal again.
Is this some kind of classism comeuppance finally falling at the feet of those who jet set around to only bourgeois events with gate fares the cost of an average family’s weekly shopping?
It isn’t much of a surprise that this is the type of event such things would happen at- as though the very attendees think that those two crisp 50K notes will exclude them from spreading any particles of their own. Fuck a mask, right? In Munyonyo, at such places, things continue as they ever did- just lock the gates and hope the cops got what the envelopes.
One last little question at the end of my screed, would anyone have even shown up for a Ugandan artist- or would the ticket costs have not hit the necessary levels of excess to warrant a trip down near the Lake for such exclusivity.
Maybe I’m just another angry and sequestered journalist who wants to go to a concert in a time of normality, and is morbidly ill from the blame always falling squarely at the artists’ feet when shit hits the fan.
For me, the Big Brunch Afrobeats Edition is the perfect encapsulation of all that is wrong with the modern music industry- privilege talks and rich kids walk.