The 3rd of June 2022, will forever be one of the days I will always remember. It is the day I finally attended a live show after four good years. It was certainly the kind of experience that awakens you and is awesome at the same time. There were so many emotions involved, both good and bad. This bold move was influenced by the love for the Nigerian star, Burna Boy, The African Giant himself. I had told myself there was no way I was going to miss this show, and I remember screaming with joy with my little sisters as we set out for the journey. As I couldn’t wait to get there, I kept imagining what it would all be like, from arriving at the venue, the atmosphere, the songs Burna Boy would perform, bumping into old friends from the music industry. The whole thing. I was excited and was sure it was going to be an awesome night…I mean it had to be!
Upon arrival, everything seemed smooth. From entrance into the venue, to securing a perfect spot, which was at the front. But, as more people trickled in, the view to the stage started to get blocked. I made an attempt to ask the gentlemen who was on my right to kindly move a little, but he bluntly denied. Next to him was a lady who seemed empathetic, until I asked if I could trade positions with her and to my surprise she went cold on me. My little sister Mufaro helped me move to a different position, but it was of no use as there were too many people behind me. There came another good soul, who pushed me to what seemed like a good position but fortunately or unfortunately, it was too close to the speakers. I truly felt like my chest was going to explode and ears blown out. It seemed all was going south fast.
The disbelief of all these happenings hit me. I felt like I was having some sort of panic attack, and as I sat there watching people enjoying, dancing and singing along to Jah Prayzah, I started to feel dizzy and disoriented. At that instant, I wanted to go home. I could see Mufaro singing and having a great time, and when she came to ask if all was good with me, I could only lie and pretend I was fine. My wish was for her to have a good time, but I still could not get around the thought of someone just selfishly and blatantly denying another person a clear view. I suddenly felt so ridiculous for leaving home. I felt invisible, dehumanized and degraded, and as all those emotions rose, I could feel tears filling up my eyes, but then again, I did not want to breakdown in front of a bunch of strangers.
Extreme anger took over me and I signaled Mufaro to come over to where I was. I reversed my chair and told her I wanted to leave. I did not bother to ask to be excused as I didn’t care if there was anyone in my way. I wheeled myself to the fence and I broke down. I felt as if I was being robbed of my right as a human being and felt extreme inferiority.
At that particular moment, Jah Prayzah’s band started playing ‘Wenge’, which is one of my favorite songs from him, and this broke me even more. Mufaro hugged me so tight and we cried together. She helped me calm down by counting to a hundred and at that moment I told myself to get it together and take another shot at enjoying this show, not just for me but also for my sibling. We went on a quest to find a better spot but to no avail. I realized I would only be able to see the stage through the screens and I had to make peace with that for the sake of my sanity.
This night had to count. I was not going to let anyone or anything to ruin the day I got to breathe the same air as Burna Boy. We went to the back and sat next to a gentleman who was also in a wheelchair. He shared the same sentiments of how he was annoyed by people blocking his view. The performances were showing on the screens, but we could barely see and had to constantly ask people to shift out of the way.
At this point, I just had to be grateful for any glimpse of Burna that I caught, and that is how I finally got to enjoy. I danced and sang along, and forgot about the extreme cold for an entire hour. Burna Boy’s performance was amazing. My love for him grew even more, and I still hope one day I get to see him with a better view.
To be continued…