Of Mercury and Maradona

I. “I’d sit alone and watch your light

my only friend through teenage nights…”

Last night, sleep eluded me, so I stayed up looking for some good entertainment to watch. Past 1 am, I finally settled on watching Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic. In the dull moments of the movie, I would start to doze off but suddenly, Queen would start to sing electrifyingly: Don’t! Stop! Me! Now! and I would be jarred awake.

As is the usual response after watching such a vivid and wonderful portrayal, I went on the internet to read about the legend, the very brilliant, very human lead singer of the band, Freddie Mercury. A complicated man: sometimes theatrical and excessive, but somehow remained undefined by all it.

II. “…a little with the head of Maradona,

and a little with the hand of God.”

Tributes are pouring out all over the world for the football legend, Diego Maradona, who passed away a few days ago. I remember his name floated around occasionally in my childhood, and it was always with that tone of awe and wonder. Maradona. Though there was no controversy about him being one of the best footballers the world has ever seen, other parts of his life were fraught with controversies and scandals.

III. Mercury and Maradona.

I wonder how these two legends would have fared in these present times. This is the era of social media, where we tend to think in such black and white terms, thinking of people as either “good” or “bad”, something I am very guilty of as well.

While moral outrage is easy, the truth is a lot more difficult to admit: people are much complex than ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Over time, I’ve seen that the conversation is a bit more nuanced than that, with cases like Johnny Depp being a lesson for us all.

On even deeper discussion, the conversation gets more serious and more boring, with words like extreme leftist and totalitarian coming up. Where do we draw the line? Can we separate the art from the artist? I can’t answer all that because I’m not really the most philosophical chick, but I’m acknowledging this slow realization in other areas of my life.

I recognize that when good people come along my way, whether in the form of an artist I love or someone even closer, they will likely be bound up with some bad, with some flaws, which will reveal itself sooner or somewhere along the line. We are all a bit ragged around the edges.

Do our stars, our heroes owe us anything? Decency? Perfection?

What do you think?


  • Olanrewaju

    I don’t think complete erasure of one’s accomplishments is easy. That’s the thing about your work. It lives beyond you. The good, the bad and the ugly is a common saying.
    I think it’s important to acknowledge the fullness of the individual, not drown the good with the ugly or drown the ugly with the good.
    Yes I am this, but I was also rumored to do this.
    I also don’t think we should come against those who can’t separate the art from the artist, or praise those who know how to compartmentalise the art from the artist. They are both valid emotional responses.

  • Demola Ogundele

    You mentioned the right word: complexity. That is what defines mortal beings. Brave deeds have emerged from moments of utter terror; and ‘pots’ have denigrated ‘kettles’ for being black. Stars are humans. I think we should allow them their foibles.

  • SinmilOluwa

    This post echoes thoughts that have been on my mind for a while. Especially now that we live in a world where the “cancel culture” is a norm and boycotting brands that do not fit our pictures of perfect. Thanks Dupe.

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