By Ms Uduak for African Music Law
It has been over three weeks since news broke that Wizkid, Starboy label owner and Nigerian music pop star, is allegedly the father of a newborn baby boy named Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, Jnr., Wizkid’s legal name.
Wizkid allegedly fathered this child with Binta Diamond Diallo, an American of Guinean heritage residing in Georgia.Wizkid, it appears, was actively dating his girlfriend Tania Omotayo, when the child was conceived. Does this sound familiar? Yes. It is familiar because this is the second time Wizkid has allegedly fathered a child while actively dating Omotayo. Like the first child, it is also the second time the twenty-five year old has blatantly denied that he is the father of a child he fathered out of wedlock. We also now know the outcome of the paternity for the first child. He was Wizkid’s child.
In reaction to Wizkid’s recent denial, Diallo granted an interview to US gossip blog ‘The Shade Room’ and clearly indicated her disappointment, and concern that Wizkid was reneging on his promise not to be a deadbeat dad.
Now, if you work, hang with or are Wizkid, read this article carefully and take it very seriously.
Distinct from the first time when Wizkid denied his first child publicly, and got away with it for a while in Nigeria, this child is an American citizen born on US soil.
American law concerning deadbeat fathers has legal bite, even for foreigners who become parents of American children.
First things first, Wizkid should take a paternity test to confirm whether the child is in fact his. Also, as a general rule, artists, stop denying that a child belongs to you when you have not taken the requisite paternity test. It is downright foolish and kind of mean to do so, especially when you have a history of fathering a child out of wedlock.
Further, when in a situation like this, hire a crisis management legal team. Your managers are ill-equipped to handle cases like these and so are many if not majority of the public relations firm out of Nigeria. Most do not have a lawyer on staff and do not understand the nuances of the law involved to deal with such a crisis.
Third, once confirmed that the child is in fact yours, own responsibility, work things out and start taking care of your legal responsibility. Every American child has a legal right to be financially supported by his or her parents. Your stay in Africa or the fact that you are an African artist is not going to eradicate that right.
Fourth, you can work out a child support agreement with your baby’s mother without the involvement of the court. In this instance, Diallo says she trusted Wizkid’s word that he would take care of his child. When you make such a promise and then renege on your promises, you better believe for a situation like this, a mother’s love for you will quickly turn into hate because you are not protecting her child; and she will drag you through the legal justice system. There is no incentive for Diallo, a non-Nigerian, to put up with the shaming, embarrassment and most importantly her child going without when his father can afford to take care of him. It makes no logical sense and don’t expect her to put up with it.
Figure out how you the alleged deadbeat father want to play it. Respectful and polite or all out war. Either way, your choice.
Fifth, in the event that you refuse to do the above i.e. be a responsible father and also not embarrass yourself and your fellow country people on U.S soil by crossing over with unnecessary baby mama drama, as if it is by force to be in America, here is what and most likely happens to deadbeat dads in America should you fall into that category:
- Irrespective of the fact that you are an international artist, the next time you step on U.S soil, you can and will most likely be slapped with a subpoena by the mother’s attorney to appear in court to deal with the case of your lack of child support. It is not hard to find you. The promoters that bring you here advertise all over about your performances. If you will perform, you might just get served by a sheriff on stage while you are performing. Yeah. You are effectively “spoiling market” for all: the promoters who want you to perform, the local artists here that may want to work with you and of course you again make your fellow country people look bad. As if Nigerian “419” reputations especially in states like Georgia and Texas is not enough. Now, let’s add “deadbeat” to the mix.
- After you are served and when you appear in court, the court will first determine the issue of paternity. Please note that if you fail to appear in court when you have been subpoenaed to do so, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. This IS NOT Nigeria.
The rest is information directly from Georgia state for how the child process works. Note a few key things: a) they can seize/put a lien on your asset(s). That includes putting a lien on the payment owed to you by a promoter; b) if a court has issued an order and you have failed to obey, you could be found in contempt and jailed; and c) the court can deny, suspend, or revoke the passport of someone who owes more than $2,500 in child support.
Nigerian artists, we need to do better. Wizkid, you have a great example of your fellow mate Davido fighting for his child. You instead are denying ,without a paternity test, your alleged child, and it is not the first time you have done this and turned out to be dead wrong! At least take the paternity test and find out if Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun Jnr. is in fact yours.
On another note, why can’t these artists use protection? Also, why are we building the wrong kind of public relations? Is it by force to have sex in oyinbo land? Last case we saw out of Georgia was the alleged rape claim reported to Georgia police against Timaya. Timaya already left to Nigeria. Folks be careful otherwise it is only a matter of time when one of our artists will be locked up.
It is inevitable if the foolishness continues.
My 50kobo for all it’s worth. Actually it’s worth a whole lot.