Mavin Records Star Girl Ayra Starr recently fell on the chopping board of Afrobeat warriors after she disrespected legendary juju maestro King Sunny Ade. In a trending video, the self-styled Sabi Girl was captured entering the Pre-Grammy party in Lagos on January 26 2024, looking all peng and glam in this mini dress.
Burna Boy’s mother, Bose Ogulu, and the famous King Sunny Ade were already seated at the event. As Ayra star walked in, instead of greeting both of them as is customary in Yorubaland, the singer snubbed Burna Boy’s mother and greeted KSA by shaking his hand. As you can imagine, many people found it disrespectful.
Since the video went viral, Nigerians have been roasting the Celestial being for lacking respect and a disgrace to her Yoruba roots as a daughter of the soil. However, her fans have been defending her, explaining that she perhaps didn’t know who King Sunny Ade is as a Gen Z. Some said she probably didn’t see Burna Boys mother because of the lighting and perhaps social anxiety. Some of Arya Starr’s fans claim she shook hands with KSA because she is wearing a mini dress that makes it difficult to bend in respect without risking exposure.
Could any of this be the case? Or was Arya Starr just being plain disrespectful to her elders? And what excuse has Sabi given for her behaviour?
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Arya Starr, a rising star from Mavin Records, was born and raised in Bénin and, Nigeria. Her 2021 hit single, “Bloody Samaritan,” brought her to national recognition. However, it wasn’t until 2022, when she released “Rush”, that she gained international fame. The track became a hit globally, made waves on social media, and earned Arya her first-ever Grammy nomination at the highly anticipated 66th Annual Grammy Awards in the Best African Music Performance category.
A Pre-Grammy party ahead of the main event was held in Lagos on January 26, 2024, in partnership with Afrozons and Heineken. Alongside nominees, the likes of legendary juju singer King Sunny Ade was invited and honoured with an award for being the first Nigerian to bag a Grammy nomination. Amidst cheers and gratitude, the 77-year-old Juju musician was presented an honorary award by Burna Boy’s mother, Bose Ogulu.
The event ran smoothly until clips of Arya Starr’s arrival caused many Nigerians to criticize her for disrespecting KSA, a musical legend and Burna Boy’s mother. In a viral video, Ayra Starr ignored Burna Boy’s mother while greeting a woman beside her. She then casually shook hands with the 77-year-old music icon instead of traditionally greeting him by going on her knees as a sign of respect. These actions resulted in the Gen Z superstar receiving backlash from her fans and the music community.
Immediately, many Afrobeat fans on social media began to drag the 21-year-old Sabi girl whom “no sabi” greeted.
Reacting on X, one user wrote, “Ayra Starr get mind snub Burnaboy mama, that girl no sabi say she be last born for the industry.’
Another wrote, “The reflection of lights might not allow Ayra Starr to see King Sunny Ade & other prominent figures under the light, but her apology was genuine & well put out. She looks like Daddy’s girl & being disrespectful to elders won’t be in her veins. We move.”
One reacted, “I admire Burnaboy’s mom. She didn’t try to force Ayra Starr to acknowledge her. This is how to conduct yourself around uncultured young persons.”
One excused her actions, “Ayra Starr’s case is not issue of being raised badly or being disrespectful towards elders, looking at that video, there’s no way that girl would’ve bent her knees properly without ripping her clothes 😂 Make una free her abeg! You see why you need to dress properly sometimes?”
One added, “Very mannerless, judging by the fact that she is even Yoruba. How can you shake your elders like that? A whole King Sunny Ade? The sad part is he won’t even want to embarrass her thereby ignoring her, cos ordinarily, that’s what he should have done in that situation.”
One wrote, “Ayarstar obviously didn’t make plan to bend down to greet anyone last night. If she knew, she won’t be dressed like that. If to say she try being with that short skirt around her waist, her nyash for expose.”
Another posted, “God knows what’s going through her head here. Omo, the nervousness sometimes can make you skip! Not her fault!”
At the same time, many Nigerians flashed back to 2013 when Wizkid and King Sunny Ade performed together on the same stage. As a netizen pointed out, “Wizkid laid down flat to greet King Sunny Ade, that’s how you greet a legend and an elder 🙌🏾.”
This has now got some asking, if “this was Wizkid, who she be way she no fit kneel down??”
After receiving criticism from social media users, the talented singer apologised on her official X account on Saturday morning. In her apology, the Rush Hitmaker explained that she felt anxious upon arrival, and the event lighting made it difficult to identify people. However, she settled in and eventually went back to greet everyone properly.
“I’m so sorry. I had just walked in, and all the lights and nerves did not let me see, but I came back to greet everyone properly. I have never been that girl to be disrespectful. I’m a proper Yoruba girl, and the video didn’t start until after I had greeted Burna’s mom! I’m very sorry to the legend, uncle and King Sunny Ade,” she wrote.
Clips showing Arya greeting Burna Boy’s mother also flooded the timeline, proving that she returned to greet appropriately. Shockingly, Sabi Girl’s apology evoked another round of dragging from Nigerians who were not pleased with her choice of words. They have been bashing the Bloody Samaritan singer again for disrespecting KSA because she referred to him as Uncle, not Daddy.
Reacting to X, popular influencer Daniel Regha wrote, “Ayra Starr did well to acknowledge her mistake, but King Sunny Ade is not her “Uncle”. She’s still disrespecting KSA by trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation. If she wasn’t aware of the Yoruba tradition, that would’ve been understandable. Hope she learns from this experience.”
One Ade wrote: “Point of Correction Sabi girl, KSA is not your “Uncle” He is old enough to be addressed as a “Daddy.” Good gesture you apologized, btw, by Kudos.”
Another wrote, “To put things into perspective, you were born 20 years after King Sunny Ade got his first Grammy nomination in 1983. He is not your “uncle” but your grandfather.”
One argued, “Remove that uncle and edit it to daddy or leave it at KSA.”
Another wrote, “It is disrespectful when you call King Sunny Ade an Uncle. Ok. He can father your mother. Be Wise.”
One added, “Yoruba people are so infuriating with their faux respect. What do you call an older man who’s not your father? No be uncle? E koshi lo plus.”
Another X user wrote, “Dollar is going haywire, people are getting murdered and kidnapped. But we are losing our marbled because Ayra Starr didn’t greet KSA properly. One would think this morality and respect will transcend into our society at large, but we just like performative rubbish.”
One added, “Ayra Starr get money pass Sunny Ade. Ayra Starr’s famous pass Sunny Ade. Ayra Starr has charted more times than Sunny Ade has eaten jollof rice. Sunny Ade suppose kneel down greet Ayra Starr.”
‘Sabi girl no dey too like talk’, as you can imagine, hasn’t reacted or addressed the issue again; she has instead moved on to promote her new song.
Was she in the wrong for how she greeted King Sunny Ade?
Is her excuse of not seeing in the dark valid?
What do you think about her apology on social media? Was she again in the wrong for calling King Sunny Ade’s uncle rather than Daddy?