Veteran rapper and activist, Michael Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, has said he does not defend celebrities in the entertainment industry when they get into trouble because they don’t stand up for people despite having strong platforms.
In an interview with Sunday Scoop, he said, “Although celebrities have a choice not to get involved in demanding for good governance and an end to human rights abuse, they would be lying if they claim not to know what is going on in the country. That just don’t want to get involved, and I don’t blame them. Some of them even have bigger platforms than I do, and they are not using it to support people. Some people have asked why I don’t get involved whenever a celebrity gets into trouble with the police or others, and I always tell them that I don’t do that because they have failed to use their platforms to help the people.”
Ruggedman also stated that making skits and acting in movies are not new to him. He said, “I have always spoken up for the voiceless but I started making skits on human rights and legal issues to teach people, while also entertaining them. I am not new to acting. I have been doing for a while. Recently, I featured in Toyin Abraham’s The Ghost and the Tout. I just decided to take my humanitarian work to another level. It was the lawlessness in Nigeria that inspired me to become a human rights activist and advocate. I see innocent people getting victimised every day because many of them don’t know their rights, or who to reach out to in such situations. I have always liked helping people in any way I can, and that was what led me to start my radio show. The show allows people to call in, lay complaints and request for support concerning human rights abuse and other issues.”
The Opomulero rapper also stated that he recently floated a non-governmental organisation to get support for his cause of eradicating human rights abuses, and not for political purposes. He said, “I recently registered the Ruggedman Care Foundation, so as to raise funds and get support for people. It has not been easy doing this alone, and there are so many issues that I cannot solve because they require money. This is the first time I’m talking about the NGO.
“I am not doing this because I want to run for (public) office later as some people have insinuated. I studied Political Science but I am not going into politics. Even if I would go into politics, it would not be now because the existing system does not give room for people who want to do good. A lot of things have to change before people like me can get involved in politics.”