Rema, the Burning Church and Ravaged Souls
By Justus Nwakanma
All things delightful and beautiful. All things charming and splendorous; all power and prosperity. All things wealth and great, Afrobeats singer, Divine Ikubor, better known as Rema, has achieved them all.
Rema has had two successful appearances lately. One, at the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards in Paris, where he delivered an electrifying performance. Two, at the November 14, show at the 02 Arena in London.
But beyond this veneer of glistering opulence and reverberant accomplishments lies a troubled, restless soul. Make no mistake about this: All is not well with Rema.
In just a few years, Rema has had a light-speed transformation. He was a gospel singer with Christ Embassy Church.
While in the church, he struggled to survive with his family. Then he lost his brother and father. That became a turning point for him. Afraid of the pangs of poverty, he switched to secular music.
“Church made me decide that I would do music, it started from Christ Embassy Church, Benin City. Transitioning from singing and serving in church was weird for me and I believe it was weird for them (my people). I didn’t really ask much or how they felt about it. It was weird and most importantly to my mom because she was well known in the church.
“It’s just where life has drawn me towards and I have to take that opportunity.”
But what does Rema mean? It is not clear when he decided to adopt that stage name
According to thebump.com, Rema means ‘Goddess Lakshmi.’ Lakshmi is one of Hinduism’s principal goddesses and represents wealth, fortune, beauty, power, and prosperity. She is worshiped as a principal aspect of the mother goddess Mahadevi. Mahadevi is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction and wars.
In May 2021, Rema named his music “Afrorave”, a subgenre of Afrobeats largely influenced by Indian and Arabian music.
In name and choice of career, Rema has succeeded in weaving a labyrinth of sophisticated, deep spiritual companionship that is hidden to the ordinary eyes.
Small wonder in just a few years, he has b Bill Gates and Barack Obama as followers.
Once, a reverent, demure church goer, now a swanky, egotistic, street sweeper who appears to be on a spiritual excursion of ravaging souls and plundering kindred spirits.
He has not helped matters either. In his choice of words, conduct and actions, Rema has introduced very troubling perspectives to these allegations.
On September 9, he was billed to perform in Ethiopia. But this concert was canceled.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church protested against the concert. The church accused Rema of being a “devil worshiper” citing his necklace of a “burning Church” as a clear mockery of Christianity.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches that adhere to Miaphysite Christology. With over 36 million members in Ethiopia, you can understand the political and social power this church wields.
Rema’s pedant in question features an image of a church on fire upside down with two inverted crosses. Named, “the ornament of ravery”, it is a custom chain made to mark a momentous turn around in his global musical journey.
According to Deeds Magazine, it took A Jewellers, makers of the chain 35 days to complete it. It costs well over N300 million and incorporates a combination of Rose Gold, Round Diamonds, Green Sapphire, Brown Diamonds and much more and weighs over 1kg.
“On the chain, the Tsavorite stone on the door symbolizes energy, healing and spirituality, and the brown chocolate diamonds on the roof symbolize stability. The blue sapphires in the sky reflect luck, and, in many Eastern cultures, sapphire is also believed to ward off evil. The chain element was designed using the flames of the burning building, and as a continuation of the pendant, the vine wrapping itself around represents growth and overcoming obstacles as it winds around the flowers and flames.”
It is said that the Tsavorite stone increases the wearer’s strength, zest, and confidence. It helps the wearer to seize opportunities that can increase his prosperity. The green gem is believed to promote compassion, benevolence, services, and cooperation.
This is Rema’s depiction of the chain: “The ornament of ravery is a life form of memories to me, memories of the creation of this classic project, the sleepless nights, and the sweat and blood my team and I put in. It’s a mobile statue that depicts the aura of my present phase. It also depicts its impact on Afrobeat, the territories it has unlocked and its achievements overall.”
Without doubt, the Pedant of the burning church that Rema wears upside down is a mockery of the church, the cross and the redemptive work that Jesus did with his death at the cross.
In Christendom, the church and the cross are the principal symbols of the Christian faith and hold such a premium consideration in the minds of the faithful. This is what Rems is out to mock and rubbish.
If you think that the necklace means nothing, hold your breath as we dissect his performance at the O2 Arena.
At the “Ravage Uprising” 02 Arena show in London on November 14, Rema opened his act with a dramatic entry. He rode a horse(stationary) and wore a mask and was dressed in a black attire. In the contrasting light, his face bled with fire and blood. The two legs of the horse also brimmed with fire. It was a poor, demonic imitation of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
He performed his latest hit “DND” to a rendition of “Iron Man” with Indian dance choreographers.
In the show’s second phase, Rema performed atop a giant stationary bat.
It is not a coincidence that he used a horse and a bat and Indian choreographers at the O2 Arena show.
Now cast your mind back to necklace; the twining vine- a bat with the head of a horse.
Three spiritual, but chasmic symbolisms he consistently projected in the burning church pedant and his performance at the 02 arena are: a bat, a horse and fire. And then the Indian choreographers.
The bat, as a totem or spirit animal, symbolizes liberation from fear. It holds a connection to the realms of the soul and spirit, particularly within the realm of natural darkness. By opting for the bat as a totem, Rema is simply letting us know how he is navigating new life paths and releasing himself from religious forces that had “seemingly held him down.”
The bat’s spirit acknowledges death and darkness as integral counterparts to life and light.
Note: the name, Rema, bears a transcendental connection to India’s Hindu religion. It was therefore not surprising that he used Indian choreographers to cap up the night.
On his act at Ravage Uprising, Rems says: “My Ancestors’ bronzes sit in the museum of this very city so I remade mine. Hence, Edo is redefined, the map reshaped, your minds awakened & the mask reborn. Thank you London!”
This is not true. The Benin ivory masks have nothing to do with his act.
It was a well packaged warfare to wreak havoc on unsuspecting followers and leave their souls desolate and ravaged.
Some of the things I say here may not make any sense to the ordinary, particularly our youths who see these music stars as heroes and mentors.
Why should we be concerned or worried? Rema has seven million followers on Instagram. His hit single “calm down” reached one billion streams according to Spotify, a global online streaming platform.
Anybody who is capable of commanding such a following has the power to capture hearts and souls across all ages.
Secular music is a dark vignette of intricately web of destruction and pillage.
Its destructive effects on our children are unimaginable.
Rema is a torch bearer in this regard. He has achieved fame and stardom, wealth and riches.
As long as the church keeps burning and the cross is turned upside down, nothing matters any more.
But the Holy book admonishes:”For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”