Leadership (Abuja)

18 November 2012

Nigeria: Disability Is Not a Curse - Crazy Legs

Mc Bad mouth and DX are physically challenged people but with great abilities. One is a comedian and the other is a dancer. Their group known as Crazy Legs was formed 7 years ago. Anthony Ada Abraham and Moses John write on these budding artistes who say disability is not a curse.

Nigeria is a country blessed with talented young men and women, with many of them living with disabilities. Looking at how it has been with such group of people especially Crazy Legs since they started in the industry, it is evident that life, for them, has not been a bed of roses.

According to them, "So far, the level of acceptance has been poor because of the high level of discrimination against people with special abilities in Nigeria. When we go to shows, without giving you the opportunity to express yourself, they bounce you out saying, 'sorry we can't allow you come in'. But we thank God, things are going very well in Abuja. We have some fans and it is increasing. A lot of people recognise our talents now and we thank God for that", they said.

Though they might look funny in what they do,they are not ready to quit. When asked why they decided to delve into the entertainment industry. Crazy legs were so emotional because they believe it is another way of making life easier especially sending a message across to the world.

"We chose the entertainment industry as a medium not only to entertain but also to be able to pass across a message to the public. We want to tell people that disability is not a curse, but its either medical or natural. So if disabled people would be given the opportunity they can also perform more than the able-bodied. That is why we chose the entertainment industry as a medium to know that there is ability in disability."

On what the government can do to making sure help comes their way towards the pursuit of their dreams of becoming one of the biggest in the entertainment industry, crazy legs said they need attention and recognition.

"We have an association for disabled artistes in Nigeria. And we are saying that rooms should be given to disabled artistes. Nigeria is discriminatory against people with disabilities. Nobody want to be associated with people living with disabilities. Our buildings are constructed with architectural barriers which is a disadvantage to the us.

All we are asking for is to be given equal rights. For instance, when you go to some schools, you see some disabled students attending lectures on the third floor without a lift. All these things are what we are saying that disabled persons should be given equal right. When you go to marry any girl as someone with disability, you will see that the mother will call the girl and heap insults on her for bringing such person home. So, all we are asking is to be given us equal right just like the able bodied in the society."

They stated emphatically that the entertainment industry has been good in some ways since they ventured into it but the acceptance is what they are battling with.

"So far, it has been great. We are getting the pains and gains which is also part of the business. We attend shows and are happy the way people accepted us today; we appreciate it. But we don't always expect that people would accept us. While others would accept you, some will kick you out."

Looking at the formation of their weird group which comprises a dancer and a comedian, they said they are brothers and had come a long way.

"DX has been with me for ages, we are from the same state. There was a day we decided that if we packaged ourselves very well, we can show the world what we really could do. There was a day we went for a show at the Hilton and the organizer told us that he would not allow us to perform because we are cripples. But when we had the chance to perform, he came to us to say, 'sorry guys, I didn't know you were this good'.

On themselves, they said, "Our group is a family one; we love ourselves so much; we share everything together. We have always been there for each other as we are one family. Sometimes, people wonder what is wrong with us because one has legs while other doesn't have legs at all but we have been together for about 7 years now."

When asked what they were aiming at in the next 10 years, their response was simply for them to be accepted by everyone around the globe.

"We have been trying a lot to get into big shows in Nigeria, we are trying to take over the dance and the comedy industry, making people understand that disability is not a curse. We want to use our disability to pass a strong message to people living with disabilities that you can be what you want to be, if you work hard towards it; you will be where ever you want to be if you so desire.

They said, "Our message to the physically challenged is this: I don't like anyone to call them disabled because no one is disabled, this is because the greatest disability is the disability of the mind. And when you are mentally disabled, you are gone.

First, I just want them to believe in themselves. Don't ever let people get you discouraged because as soon as you allow people do that to you, your confidence is gone. You have to be focused and believe in your dreams; Disability is not the end of the road, but what you do with it. For those who look at us as 'never-do-wells',they should be ready because we are going to shock them. May God bless you for this love."

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