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Ayra Starr apologises after being bashed for shaking hands with King Sunny Ade

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Grammy Award-nominated artist, Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, aka Ayra Starr, has tendered a heartfelt apology over a video showing her seemingly disrespecting legendary Juju legend, King Sunny Ade.

In the viral video on X, the 21-year-old was seen extending her hands to greet King Sunny Ade at the Afrozobs Pre-Grammy party presented by Heineken.

Sunny Ade
Juju maestro, King Sunday ‘Sunny Ade’ Adegeye

This prompted criticism from a segment of social media users, who accused the young singer of failing to show proper respect to her elder and cultural icon.

“The fact that Ayra Starr is a Yoruba girl makes this quite disrespectful no matter how you spin it,” wrote one Twitter user, @_AsiwajuLerry. “She must not go on her knees, but a simple knee gesture would do. The man even bowed his head out of respect for the person he was shaking, and she was there standing like a shigidi (slang for ‘stubborn child’).”

Though, others defended Starr, suggesting that the incident might have been unintentional or due to the chaotic nature of the event. “I believe Ayra Starr truly didn’t see King Sunny Ade very well yesterday night,” wrote @OlamideØfficial. “Aside from KSA’s legacy, he is old enough to be her grandfather, and she has no reason to disrespect him. It’s an unintentional mistake.”

While reacting to the criticism that greeted the video, Ayra Star took to her official X handle on Saturday to apologize to King Sunny Ade and the general public.

According to her, she just walked in when the video was taken, and the flashlights made it impossible for her to properly see the people around.

She further described Sunny Ade as a legend and uncle whom she would never disrespect, especially considering she is a Yoruba girl.

She wrote, “😭😭 I’m so sorry , I had just walked in and all the lights and nerves didn’t let me see but i came back around to greet everyone properly, I have never been that girl to be disrespectful, I’m a proper Yoruba girlllll and the video didn’t start until after I’d greeted burna’s mom ! I’m very sorry to the  legend, uncle and King Sunny Ade

The incident however, highlights the complex interplay between tradition and modernity in Nigerian society, where young celebrities are often expected to uphold respectful customs towards elders and cultural figures.

While some saw Starr’s gesture as a harmless oversight, others viewed it as a symbol of a changing world where traditional deference no longer holds the same sway.

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