Why Nigerian Musicians Reduce Their Ages
Kiss Daniel is in the news these days. First, he announced a debut album which will he released in May. The buzz died down and that positivity vanished with a new story growing in its place.
Kiss Daniel has another story in the media, and this time there is nothing to celebrate, only a show of shame. The singer’s age was fabricated, with a good 7 years struck off his official age to make him 21. Daniel graduated from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, with a degree in Water Resources Management and Agrometeorology (Water Engineering), which took him five years to acquire in 2013. He pegged his age at 18 at the time of graduation, implying that he gained admission into the tertiary education institution at age 13. Last week, he celebrated his 21 birthday.
After people began to poke questions on social media, his Wikipedia page was altered to reflect he was 28 years old. But that has changed. Kiss Daniel wears his 21 years tag as a badge of honor.
The same case has been mentioned about Korede Bello who is chilling on 20 years. The Mavin singer has always claimed to be a very young man. Two years ago he shocked everyone that he was 18 years old. This year he celebrated his twentieth birthday. There are however who say they have known the singer since 2009 and it wasn’t possible for him to have been fourteen years old then. Korede Bello still insists he is twenty, with his managers going great lengths to corroborate his age.
The concept of this age change is called Age Fabrication.
Age fabrication occurs when an individual deliberately misrepresents their true age. This is usually done with the intent to garner privileges or status that would not otherwise be available to the individual. It may be done through the use of oral or written statements or through the altering, doctoring or forging of vital records.
On some occasions, age is increased so as to make cut-offs for minimum legal or employable age in showbusiness or professional sports. Sometimes it is not the people themselves who lower their public age, but others around them such as publicists, parents, and other handlers. Most cases involve taking or adding one or two years to their age. However, in more extreme cases, a decade has been added or subtracted. Official state documents (such as birth, marriage and death certificates, the census, and other identity documents) typically provide the correct date.
Although uncommon in modern Western society, it is still possible for an individual not to know his or her exact date of birth. Such an individual may arbitrarily choose a date of birth which after later research is found to be false. This situation should not be considered age fabrication as there is no obvious intent to deceive on the part of the individual.
Subtracting time from one’s age is often known in English as “shaving”, while adding time to one’s age may be referred to as “padding”.
Age fabrication is prevalent in Nigeria. We run a culture where people are extremely conscious of their age. Even without any gain in sight, people shave and pad their ages to obtain validation and admiration. When there is gain to had, the ages are mostly shaved to fit into the requisite age bracket. You can walk into any immigration office in Nigeria today, forge documents at the nearby business centre, change your name, place of birth, date of birth, pay exorbitant prices instead of the official price for an international passport and within hours you have completed the whole process. A new passport, a new person – and a younger man. Age fabrication is common in the music industry. Many singers subtract at least one year from their actual age so that they can appeal to a younger crowd, and beat the discrimination that comes with increase in age, or for publicity purposes. This occurs mostly among pop artistes who appeal to a young demography.