On Monday Night January 20th Revolt TV premiered it’s first hour long documentary feature since the cable televisions network launched in October 2013. The intimate, raw and honest (almost to a fault) feature gives us a first hand account of Wale’s first trip to his family’s home country of Nigeria.
Filmed in late October the documentary has you the viewer sit shotgun, not just seeing the activities and events Wale is taking part in while in Nigeria, but also infusing the time with a heavy dose of introspection and reflective self criticism from the rapper who is often dubbed as “sensitive” or “combative”.
We first join Wale at the airport getting ready to leave for the 11 hour plane ride to Lagos Nigeria. He speaks briefly on how this is his first time going to Nigeria and that besides some family in DC, Houston and Atlanta, 90% of his family lives in Nigeria, mentioning his maternal grandfather who has 4 wives and 18 kids.
From the minute he sets foot in Lagos – greeted to an airport welcome party fit for the country’s most famous export- you can sense the severity of what it all means to Wale. His time there is not without its demands, Wale takes in some studio time with local hit making legend Don Jazzy, as well as GOOD Music artist and Don’s former recording partner D’Bbanj (who had only recently reunited in august), as well as taking care countless other interviews, shows and appearances.
After making an appearance at Nigerian radio station 99.9 The Beat Wale is somewhat put off by the interviewers perception that he is hard to approach.
It seems as though Wale find’s himself burdened and confused with his responsibilities as a public figure; one with so much implied duty and expectation; a native son both to the country as a whole and to his direct family. Speaking on that relationship of being an idolized individual who people expect so much access and attention from he states
“It’s something that pulls away from you, you getting further away from yourself the more that you give to the people”.
What was most enjoyable about the documentary was how honest Wale was, at times definitely to his detriment. Throughout his time there the topic of meeting with different members of his family while still taking care of his many business obligations seems to weigh on him, and at times it feels as if Wale might end up leaving town without taking care of what seemed to be his number one priority when he began the journey.
Near the end of his time there his father (who happens to also be visiting Nigeria at the time) and some of his cousins come to spend time with the man born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, and the positive impact is immediately seen. At one point his father tells an interesting anecdote that those from his home village were not surprised by Wale’s success and almost had a “no surprise” type attitude thanks to his great grandfather happening to be the man who brought the “talking drum” to their home village of Ondo State.
After making last minute emergency plans and possibly pulling some strings to expedite the trip, Wale’s grandfather arrives and thing truly take a turn for the incredibly heartfelt. With his father watching on Wale’s grandfather explain to him not just his pride in Wale but that his time [on earth] is nearly at its end and that meeting Wale finally has left him at peace and able to move on. Understandably, Wale isn’t exactly sure how to handle being told such a deeply touching but also very sad notion, but it is definitely not lost on him as he mentions that this moment caught on film will be something he remembers and reflects on for the rest of his life. Before they part way’s Wale spends a few minutes (via the internet) showing his father and grandfather some of his accomplishments, spending a few minutes making his family’s patriarchs proud of the man they helped raise, even if was in many ways from a distance.
Revolt will air the documentary again this week on Wednesday (1/22) @ 8pm est, and Sunday (1/26) @ 5 pm est