All over the world, popular artistes are paraded with heavy security details. They have bodyguards who watch the audience keenly and promptly sweep in on the enthusiastic audience, some of whom can really get hysterically in the euphoria of exciting stage performances. Some artistes have the tendency to jump on the audience as part of their performance styles. The generous ones even throw their expensive wristwatches and other jewelries on the audience who are often thrown into pandemonium as everyone tries so hard to be the lucky owner.
For female artistes, reports of sexual harassment and assaults during performances have been recorded. Some female artistes are well guarded by their security men and it is often hard for an excited member of the audience to break the artiste-audience barrier. “How is the audience at risk during performances?” you may ask. There are many ways. Depending on the venue and how the organisers manage the crowd, the audience may not enjoy the comfort and security promised before the show. Greed may take a better part of the organisers of the show and the capacity of the venue may be stretched beyond its limit. Another thing is that the artiste is permitted to make an outrageous entrance into the performance space. He or she may choose to arrive in a parachute directly on stage or land on the audience who only had their attention fixed on the stage.
For instance, any one who is going to watch Lady Gaga’s performance should be prepared for all sorts of grotesque theatrics. She may decide to launch herself with broken bottles, hands dripping with blood or an enormous cracked egg shell. Performance styles vary from artiste to artiste and it is noteworthy that the temperament of the individual members of the audience is different. For instance, the VIP and the VVIP sections of the audience are often dominated by the elite audience who like to have comfort while they enjoy the live performances. Some of them are unreserved and show this in the way they respond to the performing artistes. Some wave their hands while others are often thrilled when the artiste pulls them to the stage to dance with him.
Here is where the danger lies. Some men go to performances with their wives, mostly on the wives’ insistence or persuasion. Once the artiste spots a woman that catches his fancy, he pulls her up and begins his dance. Reports of men storming out of performances with their wives are becoming rampant. Recently, D’banj performed to the offense of a man whose wife he selected from the audience.
Some people are generally stage-shy and do not like being picked. Some wives are afraid of the battle that will ensue when they return home. Their husbands will begin to question their motives for dancing with an artiste whether it goes beyond what meets the eye. To avoid this ugly scenario at home, some wives simply refuse to be pulled to the stage while some artistes still insist on married women.
Although there is no known law that regulates the manner in which an artiste can thrill his audience in Nigeria, a little discretion in this area may be desirable. In the twinkle of an eye, an artiste may establish a relationship between him and the woman he pulls to stage. Many men have reasons to fear the artistes. For one, some artistes have questionable character and a sweeping record of womanising. No man wants to part with his money and his woman for just a live performance. Another reason is that many Nigerian artistes are selling the sex symbol more than the music. When a man goes to a performance and he sees the six-pack that renders his chest feminine, he will be threatened if perhaps an artiste like Iyanya begins to wind his waist suggestively in front of his wife, singing, “All I want is Your Waist”.
The argument for some is: Why should a man take his wife to a performance and sit in front? It is a matter of choice how anyone chooses to be entertained. Not everybody likes to stage at home to watch videos and musicals. Some like to experience the artistes as they are aware that it is the only way in which the artistes are most likely to be rewarded financially for their hard work and ingenuity. Still, some will share the experience with their friends and neighbors as though they have automatically entered into the artistes’ friends list.
In western culture, fans are catered for in more ways than one. There are ambulances parked at the performance venues in case anyone gets injured or even faints by merely touching the artistes. We have heard of female fans who attempted to sexually assault some artistes in Nigeria but it is more common to see artistes stepping out to grab women to the stage. There are a million ways of sustaining audience’s interest during performances other than grabbing women to the stage. Why not grab a man who will challenge your skills for good? Or discover fresh talent while performing? We leave the artistes to decide what they can do to make their art better and not bitter.