“Nigerian entertainers get away with a lot!”
It is no longer news that Basketmouth was recently dropped from the EU’s recent list of ambassadors for its Sexual and Gender Based Violence Campaign following a joke about rape he made five years ago. Similar thing happened to actor and comedian, Kevin Hart, earlier this year.
But this is Nigeria, and things like that hardly make most people uncomfortable here. So this comes as an unexpected surprise.
Here, it is normal to buy tickets to attend a show hosted by a comedian famous for offensive and sexist jokes. The fodder never changes, always women, gay people or social outcasts, and it was sufficient. You need not call them lazy, after all they project the minds of many and their clientele is exactly not hard to please, so why bother increase the quality of material?
The music industry is also not left out, as sexism seems a more recent trend among Nigerian artistes, especially the younger ones whose idea of good music is, comparing lewd lyrics and releasing albums about yansh and bress.
Approaching these issues are often seen by a lot of people as “fussing too much”, because many believe such things to be harmless and not to be taken seriously. But what exactly is entertaining/ funny about rape jokes and women being termed ‘easy’, and why anyone spend money to witness a session of gendered condensation
I once thought the low level of awareness was to blame, as boycotting an artiste because of his words would seem extreme to an average Nigerian, but saying this would mean that the wokeness Nigerians portray on Twitter is all faux, and most Nigerians do not have IQs the value of a whole number. This is false of course. People like Pamela Adie and other Nigerians that protested about the face of Basketmouth on the list substantiates this.
I believe the reason is that there is no bar, first of all, to judge quality entertainment by, and, most people see entertainment as a means to an end, relaxation. So when you listen to songs, your ears filter out everything that would raise eyebrows and just allow the beats carry you to your destination. Same with comedy. We only wait for the “hahaha” hooks to let out a good laugh.
Bottom line: we do not care. We are so used to letting these things slide that one act of hesitation in joining others to laugh comes off as hypersensitivity. Is there really a thing like that within this context?
Entertainers need to know the power they wield, and how much social good they can achieve with their platforms. This is not a case of policing the craft or curating it, but to urge them towards inclusive and more socially-aware entertainment. As a comedian, you can make jokes without putting anyone down or promoting prejudice, so can a musician sings about sex without the heavy misogynistic content. Tupac Shakur, the most influential entertainer of his time, sets a perfect example of what one could do with one’s art.
Truth is, accountability is becoming a sure thing for Nigerian celebrities; your mindless banter or ‘not-so-serious’ slut-shaming might make you lose out on something you genuinely want.
Anyway, Basket mouth had this to say:
“Almost every morning in the blogs, on the news, there’s a picture of a man sitting on the floor pleading, the caption is usually in the line of ‘it’s the devils handwork’ and the topic is from underage defilement, rape or brutality against a woman or minor. I live in this same world with my most prized possessions my wife, my two daughters, my sisters and women who have built me into the man I am.
I was recently presented an opportunity to create awareness on the efforts of the EU to bring support to fighting this scourge, it was a no-brainer for me. I refused any compensation for it and volunteered to lend my voice because….it’s our fight, it’s not for the EU…it’s for my girls’ future.
Unfortunately, a few years ago I shared up a Facebook post that I thought was shedding light through humor to the entitled crude and very present behavioral patterns of some African men who equate spending to sexual favors, but I also realized then that women actually have to face this daily and its harrowing and I deeply apologized for it
I sincerely pray that this does not take away from the most important fight of our lives….the fight to secure our future…because the girl child is our future. I strongly appreciate the EU for this amazing platform to improve our lot, as long as the message reaches the ears of those who need it, then it’s a win. To every woman – our mothers, sisters, lovers, wives, crowns, supporters, prayer partners, foundation, life…. thank you for being who you are. So many times you sacrifice who you are for a man to become who he wants to be. It’s time we all love and and also support you like you do us….cos in your light, we all shine.”