As the rise of Afrobeats over the last decade continues to cast a spell of influence on Nigerian youth, there is a growing trend among the youth to join a movement that idolize their favourite celebrities.
One artiste that has effectively used his music to create a movement in this generation is Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley. Naira Marley started making waves in the Nigeria Music scene after releasing hit track “issagoal” ahead of 2017 World Cup that became the official Nigeria World Cup Anthem, amassing him a lot of airplay and attention by lovers of the genre.
His fanbase seem resolute to their idol, even though Naira Marley has frequently evoked controversy due to his advocacy and involvement in Internet Fraud (yahoo yahoo), gangsterism and delinquency in his music and lifestyle.
After his accusation and detention for allegedly involvement in Internet Fraud by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), his court trial made him more popular, hereby increasing his fan base among the youths to the point that Naira Marley’s strong cult-like following is already becoming a fast rising movement.
Just like the followers of Wizkid and Davido are called Wizkid Fc and Davido Fc respectively, the followers of Naira Marley are known as “Marlians” coined from his stage name “Marley”. One of the easiest way to identify Marlians anywhere, is that they wear no belt, they have “no mannaz” and have “marlian” attached to their names on social media.
Marlians can be likened to a cultlike movement in Nigeria because they are a group of people in various groups and social categories that have a common ideology which is to support and showcase their unwavering love for their leader Naira Marley. Interestingly, the rise of marlian fanbase is proportional to his rise in the music industry.
After his prison experience, Naira Marley released a single titled “Soapy” , interpreted by many to encourage masturbation. While the song was an instant hit, there was backlash from society at large against the song projecting promiscuity, sexual immorality and lewd dance steps. Marlians pushed back hard with the defense that Soapy is a social commentary song that exposes the menace of the Nigeria prison system. A clear demarcation between Marlians and the rest of society was drawn in social media.
As the Nigeria Stan culture evolves, Naira Marley is leading the evolution in this new era. His odd personality, government criticism and reckless lifestyle on social media has made him more influential especially among the young generation who see in him a champion of their cause, ready to express himself in any situation with no fear.
Another reason Marlians are very strong is that Naira Marley spends quality time interacting with them on social media especially on Twitter and Instagram where his posts on social relationships, politics and general life issues are frequently insightful, even though laced with vulgarity and profanity that leave nothing to the imagination. All of this makes for interesting revelation of a textured individual with an interesting persona.
Amid his controversy and court case, Naira Marley is one of the few artiste with immense financial gains in 2019. From police custody to having millions of followers across various social media platform, an already sold out concert in London, Marlian Fest coming up on the 30th of December at Eko Hotel and his every supportive Marlians stans trending him almost daily on Twitter. He’s clearly riding the Marlian movement on a winning run, and it doesn’t look like there’s any stopping him or his movement.
Are you a Marlian? Do you support or disagree with the Marlian movement? Drop a comment below and and let us know what you think.