24 June 2012

Nigeria: 61 Years - and Still Bubbling

The life and time of Areafada will not be complete without mentioning his ups and downs in the social world and Nigeria. Anthony Ada Abraham, takes a look at his over 30 years stint in active social life as he clocks 61 Tuesday.

This is a foray into the life of a highly publicised celebrity who, despite a humble and affluent background, left everything to fight for the downtrodden in the society.

Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy turned 61 on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. What is sure and certain is that CB's birthday comes up every 19th June, but what is not certain is whether he is 61 considering his enigmatic personality.

However, one thing that is also very true about this persona is the existence of Charlyboy as a brand for the past 30 years with its core values of consistency, doggedness and tremendous focus.

Charlyboy's Press Secretary, Adoyi Abah Ali, speaking of is social activism, said: "Charlyboy is a manifestation of love, as he displays in his fight for justice". He reiterated that all through his career, Charlyboy has advocated for the rights of the ordinary Nigerian whose hope in the country is continuously eroded by the ubiquitous presence of corruption and social injustice.

His fight for justice and fair play in the country is renowned, even to through the point when the late legal luminary; Chief Gani Fawehimi compared him to the Late Aba mi eda, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, because of the former's consistent tilt to the rank of the oppressed".

Ali says this is a further proof that when Charlyboy appeared on the entertainment business scenein 1981, a lot of people did not quite know what to make of him as he wore heavy makeups and had his hair weaved.

"At that time, people were not too sure if he was male or female, as he had the feminine mannerism to go with it", Ali opined.

Ali had also quoted copiously, nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's book, Interventions, Cults (A people in Denial 2005), where he made a viable comment on the Charlyboy brand: "Once, a new phenomenon, an unusual social entity, erupted on the cultural scene of this nation. This phenomenon which appeared in human form soon became known for its outlandish mode of dressings.


Charly Boy's music has always been a national talking-point. Among the tracks on the album "1990" was "Big Bottom", a tribute to the female derriere. In most Nigerian states, the song was denied airplay on radio due to its somewhat rauncy lyrics.

The accompanying video was deemed as ahead of its time. It featured his wife Diane, where a woman with a generous backside who was a guest at Charly Boy's wedding, bents over during the ceremony, the groom turned around to stare at her bulky back-side, to the annoyance of his wife-to-be. The "Big Bottom" video was later banned from television and radio by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission on the grounds of obscenity.

As with The Kenny Everett Show, which featured dance troupe Hot Gossip, The Charly Boy Show was widely criticised for being overtly sexual - Charly Boy's dancers (known as "Charly's Angels") were often shown clothed in S&M outfits and brandishing whips. His political views also came under fire - as in the song "1990", he would slate Nigeria's military rulers who were accused of corrupting the system.

Charly Boy's most controversial act was in 2010 when he was interviewed in E 24-7 magazine with equally maverick television presenter Denrele. The article, which was captioned "Yes, I Love Denrele", featured publicity photographs which saw the pair in a couple of suggestive poses. As homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, the pictures sparked rumours that they were a gay couple, a claim they strongly deny.

In 2012, Charly Boy threatened to take legal action against two national newspapers (The Saturday Mirror and the Daily Independent), after it was reported that he is gay and a member of The Illuminati - an alleged notorious secret cult in Nigeria.

As he marks his 61 birthday and still looking young and active...e-train wishes you more years ahead...

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