Davido's '1 Milli' Video Called Out for Allegedly Copying the Work of Nigerian Artist Adeyemi Michael
Some viewers have pointed out striking similarities between the artist's latest music video and the 2018 short film 'Entitled' by British-Nigerian filmmaker Adeyemi Michael.
Update 03/06/2020: The director of Davido's "1 Milli" stated, in an Instagram story from 2 days ago, that he was in fact "inspired" by Micheal's work and "always wanted to recreate his iconic shot," making direct reference to the shot of Michael's mother on horseback.
"Paying respect and homage to @AdeyemiMichael for the inspiration on this frame in the '1 Milli' video," wrote Dir. K in an Instagram story, that now appears as a highlight on his page. Despite the director's acknowledgment of the reference via Instagram stories, it is not clear whether Michael was asked or made aware beforehand. As of Friday, he has not been formally credited.
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Last week, Nigerian megastar Davido released the music video for his single "1 Milli," which depicted a wedding celebration between he and his fiancé Chioma Rowland. The festive video was mostly well-recieved upon its release, but now the artist is being accused of having copied the work of Nigerian-British filmmaker Adeyemi Michael.
Davido's music video, which was directed by Dir. K, features a ceremonial scene in which a middle-aged women, dressed in regal traditional attire, appears on horseback amongst a celebratory crowd. Several observers online noted that the scene bears a striking resemblance to Michael's 2018 short film, Entitled, which featured memorable shots of his mother donning traditional Yoruba attire and riding a horse through London's Peckham neighborhood. The film highlights the plight of immigrants and their ability to overcome, through shots that show Michael's mother as a regal and powerful matriarch.
Take a look at the short film below:
After seeing Davido's latest video, several fans and supporters of Michael's work took to Twitter yesterday to share side-by-side images of scenes from "1 Milli" and stills from Entitled, noting the resemblance between the two works and calling out the alleged plagiarism on Davido's part. Others have raised questions around intellectual property and the often vague lines around what is considered "paying homage" and outright stealing.
@davido has outrightly copied my friend @adeyemimichael’s Entitled work for his 1 Milli M/V. This is a new low 🌚🌚… https://t.co/T0Y07vKd5t— dawn butler stan acc (@dawn butler stan acc)1583352258.0
I went on the director’s page to blast him and saw he said he was paying homage. I need someone to explain where th… https://t.co/Bm4pbiaLGp— Bola Agbaje (@Bola Agbaje)1583407086.0
This isn't the first time that a high-profile artist has been accused of plagiarizing the work of another African artist without properly crediting them. Back in 2018, British-Liberian visual artist Lina Iris Viktor sued Kendrick Lamar after she claimed that her work was used without her permission in his music video for "All the Stars." A similar occurrence happened last year, when South African artist Petite Noire pointed out similarities between his short film "The Gift and the Curse" and Beyoncé's "Spirit" music video.
Many have advocated for more collaboration amongst African creatives on both big and small scales in order to avoid the issue, suggesting that Davido's team could've reached out to the artist as a show of support and solidarity for another African artist. A recent example of this being Burna Boy's recent GQ spread, which has been praised for the fact that fellow Africans were involved in all levels of production, from the writing to the styling and photography.
We've reached out to Davido's team for comment. As of Friday morning neither they nor Michael have addressed the matter publicly.
For more context, see Davido's "1 Milli" below.