Robes to Rhythms: Portable’s Controversial AGM Encore.
By. Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.
In the aftermath of Portable’s unexpected appearance and performance at the Nigeria Bar Association’s Annual General Meeting, one cannot help but ponder the rather intense reactions it has stirred. The critiques, the disapprovals, the raised eyebrows – they all seem to suggest that our noble legal profession and this boisterous musician exist in separate universes. But, dare I ask, why the commotion? Portable is human, he employs lawyers and may be better than some privileged power holders today.
Let’s set the stage: Lawyers, typically seen as paragons of dignity, grace, and professionalism, gathered for our Annual General Meeting with a break for social respite and camaraderie in the event schedule and, Portable, an artist known for his energetic tunes and sometimes raucous persona, taking the spotlight at the social moment of the programme, not the AGM. It was, admittedly, an unexpected choice. Yet, it was precisely that unexpectedness that made the evening memorable.
Whether it would have been more appropriate or that we would have been more accommodating of a choice of a different performer is largely a matter of perception bias, after all, the themes and visuals of Portable’s artistry find expression in the songs and videos of some of our more beloved and celebrated artistes; from the glorification of sex and vulgarism to lewd lyrics and the culturization of hemp and other ‘highs’. Really, what song or artiste, pray tell, is best suited to a gathering of lawyers? A bard harping away a melodious Ode to Lady Justice, or a symphony of Orchestra’s harmonizing melancholic notes punctuated by a dirge of the themes of our legal advocacies? You will explain tire!
While some may argue that our legal gatherings should be characterized solely by solemnity and decorum, it’s worth considering whether such rigidity is entirely necessary. Lawyers are human beings too, with lives beyond the courtroom. Isn’t it refreshing, even heartwarming, to see barristers, solicitors and advocates momentarily cast aside their robes to groove on the dance floor in an event whose central theme is not deviated by said performance?
Rather than harsh judgment, we should appreciate the versatility of our legal community. The presence of Portable, despite initial skepticism, allowed lawyers to show their fun-loving side, indiscriminate character and remind the world that behind the legal jargon and courtroom drama, we are people who can let loose and embrace the joy of the moment.
I admit that amidst the rancor that trailed Portable’s performance, the only time I had my heart in my mouth was his theatrical climb up a sound installation and dry humping of metal. For one, I am grateful on behalf of the NBA and my colleagues that he did not fall and break his bones or back. That would have been a real tragedy for our meagre purse as a group given the slew of suits and claims for damages that would have followed from the camp of arguably Nigeria’s most controversial and controverted musician.
That said, in a country fraught with serious issues and contentious debates, perhaps we should cherish these instances of lightheartedness. Portable’s performance was a reminder that even the most prestigious gatherings can benefit from a dash of spontaneity and laughter. So, before we rush to condemn, let’s savor the fact that our noble profession, too, has a capacity for surprise and a knack for the unexpected.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a Legal Practitioner and the Managing Partner at Law Corridor.