Leave Victor Essiet Alone

vic-essiet

 

Classical has always been a major part of my life, but I have favoured other styles in the past. Pop, rap, R ‘n’ B, rock, country, and in the mid-80’s nothing stirred my spirits the way reggae did. As Brixton was next to Streatham where I grew up, boom boxes blasting out the latest island tunes were the norm. Bob Marley’s Legend was one of the biggest selling albums of the decade, and while reggae acts had by now seen their hay day on Top of the Pops, it was still popular. I was never a massive fan of this genre until my cousin George – God rest his soul – introduced me to some big names in the industry including King Yellowman. Another cousin taught me the lyrics to the song “Inflation” by reggae duo The Mandators. While they were not my favourite act, I loved the tune. The pair, which consisted of Victor Essiet and his partner Bose ‘Peggy’ Umanah, were among the most successful acts on the Polygram label, and while they often competed with Majek Fashek and Ras Kimono, their place in Nigerian music history was secure with the release of two more albums. Lead singer Essiet, who was surprisingly well-spoken, earned my respect as one of the few reggae singers who stayed true to his Nigerian roots by refusing to resort to a ‘Ja-fake-ian’ accent as was common with most of his colleagues. His subsequent residency in America has left him with a slight Yankee drawl which is disappointing, but as I speak with a British accent myself I am in no position to judge. Nevertheless, Essiet will always be noted for using reggae to speak for the masses during Nigeria’s economic turmoil, and deserves his place as a music legend.

 

 

In 1991, fans were stunned to hear that Essiet and Umanah’s relationship had ended, with the latter duly leaving The Mandators. Tabloids publications soon found themselves reporting numerous accounts on the cause of their split; the most popular was Essiest’s new relationship with a nurse/bandmember while he was still unmarried to Umanah. Contrary to popular believe, she was not legally married to Essiet, although she was known to officially use his surname on occassion. In an interview with Vintage People, Umanah stated that as her custom entailed, Essiet was not entitled to the two children she had borne him as they were not joined in matrimony. Her ex argued that he had attempted to pay her bride price, but she kept delaying the proceedings. Following the split, Essiet continued with The Mandators as a solo act with moderate success (After Nelson Mandela’s freedom in 1990, and the 1991 release of Lekki Sunsplash winner Blackky’s About Tyme which saw Nigerians embrace a new style of reggae, as well as the rise of rap/hip-hop, most old-school reggae artists were thrust out of the limelight). Umanah attempted to break out as a singer in her own right, but sales of her solo album were unimpressive. Little was heard of her afterwards until 1999 when it was announced that she had died after an illness. Fans of The Mandators pointed the finger at Essiet who had left the country five years prior, accusing him of being responsible for her death; the majority have downright stated that he killed her. Nearly twenty years have passed, and Essiet continues to defend himself. How many of these so-called fans have thoroughly analysed the events leading to the situation?

 

 
Essiet did intend to marry Umanah. As an Akwa Ibom-native, he had asked his Bendel-born girlfriend to enlighten him on her native requirements so the dowry process would run smoothly, but she never took his demands seriously, which stalled any matrimonial plans. Ras Kimono had already tied the knot with former Nigerian Navy sailor Sybil Amuta, probably encouraging Essiet to follow suit with Umanah, but the latter reportedly ignored him, which was why they never married. As a successful singer, Essiet had the resources to finance the wedding that never was. Umanah’s family also played a role in the demise of their relationship. Apparently, her mother had threatened to take her daughter out of the home she shared with him unless he revealed the size of his bank balance. This was a man who lived a comfortable lifestyle, and provided abundantly for his family – in the same issue of Vintage People, albeit a separate interview, Essiet claimed that he gave Umanah a tidy sum monthly as house-keeping allowance (The amount escapes me, but at the time it was ridiculously huge). Their children never lacked anything; in 1988, to celebrate the birth of their first son, Essiet threw a lavish party which was attended by several showbiz colleagues including Charly Boy and his wife Di. Tradition demanded the slaughter of a lamb, but Essiet took it a step further by serving a whole bull to his guest because as he claimed, “Jah has answered”. When a relative in Umanah’s family died, Essiet, in his own words, buried him like a king. He was also said to lodge in the most expensive hotels when he was on tour. Yet in Umanah’s family’s eyes, this was not enough.

 

 
It has also been suggested that Essiet abandoned his family after the break up,  which is false. Shortly after the release of his 1992 album, he moved to the US, but during the period he spent in Nigeria when they were apart, Umanah’s stubbornness proved to be an obstacle. She later stated in another interview that she would not let go of her sons, and Essiet “…has a long way to go”. I know for a fact that on a few occasions  he offered to take his own children out for the day, and their mother would refuse without giving an acceptable reason. I know this because he reached out to her through the media. She was probably determined to prove that as a single mother she didn’t need his support. During her illness Essiet, now in America, was not informed, which was odd considering she was the mother of his sons. Yet he was expected to pay for her funeral, which was when he was aware of her death. It is possible that Umanah had urged relatives not to notify him of her failing health; had he been aware in time, the story probably would have had a slightly happier ending.

 

 
Comments on social media paint Essiet in a bad light, accusing him of being heartless and callous – one user writes “[T]his devil abandoned Peggy [because] he fell in love with a nurse living in Jos. Peggy had two boys which newspapers fondly called Boydators. Am (sic) 100% sure it was her last pregnancy that he abandoned her, in fact he killed her with fetish, she died an agonising death without any body caring for her except her old mother, after his music [career] went down, that’s the reason why he eloped to US, God must surely pay him back”, which is rather interesting. By what stretch of the imagination is it possible for a man living abroad to impregnate a woman who loathes him? Why is witchcraft always suspected when an individual dies unexpectedly? Why are they accusing him of abandoning her when in reality she had rejected his assistance? I believe in Karma – what goes around comes around – and God is definitely paying the ‘devil’ back, because over twenty years since he left Nigeria, while he is no longer a household name, Essiet has done well for himself with his own record label, concerts, an a new album. Unlike his other fellow reggae singers who are either drugged-up, pot-bellied, or six feet under, for a man pushing sixty he appears to have aged rather well. His country often ignored him at award ceremonies, but he was named Best New Entertainer by International Reggae World music. Unfortunately, he continues to defend himself over a crime he never committed – even TV presenters who probably weren’t born when Crisis was released tend to be condescending when the subject arises.

 

 
Leave Victor Essiet alone.

 

 
Toodles.

Posted in Nigeria, Nigerian Music | Leave a comment

Ginger Hair – The Naija Experience

ginger-convention

 

She was buxom, pretty, and ginger.With her personality and Celtic complexion, her curly flowing mane was even more striking. Unfortunately, everyone but her could see it. I tried to convince her that red is beautiful, to no avail. As a Naija-Brit woman who occasionally wears ginger extensions I was envious, but this tour guide at the Guinness brewery didn’t believe me. Such a shame. For the rest of my holiday in Dublin I saw many fiery-haired Dubliners who seemed proud to be red (One of them attempted to steal my make-up bag at St. Stephen’s Green after mistaking it for a wallet, but I still thought he was beautiful). Would they still have had that self-confidence if they lived in ginger-phobic England?

England is ginger-phobic. Redheads are the target of pointless jokes, vicious rants in our school playgrounds, and stereotyping. Who can forget the Geordie family featured on The Jeremy Kyle Show after they were kicked out of their own neighbourhood on account of being flamed-haired? In today’s day and age, ginger jokes can be shared among other ‘minorities’ including blacks, Jews, Arabs, gays,  and the disabled. Yet the Commission for Racial Equality in the United Kingdom do not monitor these cases of discrimination. This is an organisation that is said to encourage equality, but fail to open their eyes to the fact that redheads are discriminated against by ‘minorities’, the same people they are meant to protect.

The Welsh proverb  “Os bydd goch, fe fydd gythreulig” translates as “if he’s red haired then he is of the devil, which is a ridiculous statement as some of the nicest people I know have red hair, and although I do not describe myself as overtly spiritual, I can confirm that they are not the spawn of Satan. And contrary to popular belief, they do have souls. South Park may have a history of causing controversy, but haven’t redheads suffered enough? Are the creators not aware that a joke on today’s episode  could remain a playground taunt for years – and yes, ten-year-olds do watch South Park. As that episode revealed, our bad example of  Gingerism has crossed over to the other side of the Atlantic, which is a shame . Years ago, a famous American entertainer who stated in an interview that all the redheads back home are spoken for,  but in England he takes his pick. Today, as YouTube user Coppercab confirms, ginger is bad even in God’s Own Country.

Even Down Under , who can forget the character Jonah in Summer Heights High? Its creator and writer Chris Lilley came under fire after Jonah labelled  gingers as “Rangas”, short for Oran-Otang. France and Italy continue to worship copper strands, but for how long? Bloggers, designers, and stylists continue to rave about being unique and edgy,  and artists like Lady Gaga is allowed to flaunt her weirdness, a trademark that has been imitated by fans worldwide. How a rare and wonderful thing as titan locks is not, in the very least, accepted is beyond me. If all the idiots who bullied redheads were perfect themselves I probably would have understood their jeers and boos, although I don’t think that’s an excuse. The problem however, is that that no-one is perfect. We all have our imperfections – I know I do…or at least did…oh what the heck, I still do, but who cares?

During my years in Nigeria, I was teased by my peers because of my height; by the time I was twelve I was taller than both my parents.  This soon turned into bullying, both in my neighbourhood and at boarding school where the girls would later poke fun at my physique – although I had started boarding school as a skinny girl, my eventual curves soon became the new talking point. There was an incident where some really nasty girls made  snide unsubtle references to the size of my bust, which amused the roadside mechanics on our way home.  Today, as a six-footer with 32J  assets, I would walk down that same road with pride, literally or otherwise. I’m proud, because fashion models would kill for my height, glamour models would kill for my curves, and Essex girls would kill for both.
Remember when Jennifer Lopez brought enormous backsides back into fashion? Prior to that she did not have the shape women were ‘supposed’ to have in Hollywood, but today loads of women, including the tragic Solange Magnano, pay heaps of money to achieve that rear round appearance, pun intended.  As far as red hair goes, there as several role models out there, including Winston Churchill, Lily Cole, and Rupert Grint, and to all the gingers reading this, do whatever you want to do, because you are beautiful and you are capable. Even if red hair does not become tomorrow’s latest fashion, make you beautiful mane work for you. Our imperfections sometimes make us unique.  Better yet, our imperfections make us special. One day all those idiots who treat you like dirt will be old and grey, but at least you’ll always be ginger, and they’ll be envious.  God gave you that hair for a reason, and I’m not just saying this because I love the colour. If a dark-skinned black person tried bleaching their skin to appear more ‘acceptable’, they wouldn’t be fooling anyone because their true ethnicity would still be obvious, and the same goes for all redheads who dye their hair for the same reason – you might as well stop dying your hair, and be ginger and proud.

The future’s bright. The future’s ginger.

Toodles.

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Christmas: UK Vs. Naija

Christmas – what does it mean to you? Indulging in gluttony?  Commemorating the virgin birth? As a child with a dramatic streak, the school nativity couldn’t have arrived sooner, and I was blessed with two: one at school towards the end of term, with our church stating their version subsequently. The first one I participated in was produced by the teacher at nursery school which was ran by our local Baptist Church, and I was cast as one of the three wise men; how a timid quiet kid was offered this role is beyond me, and all I remember about this nativity was wearing a crown and robe and sucking my fingers. It’s taking part that really matters…

My second nativity was two years at primary school where once again I was one of the three wise men…stereotype the tall girl much?  As it was a multi-ethnic Anglican school, the staff wanted this reflected in the story, and as a result, the actors were told to bring in our national costumes which would be worn during the performance in St. Leonard’s Church. National costume? I informed my mother who, despite her years in the UK, was as Nigerian as she was when she boarded the plane which had flown her over to Obodo Oyibo.  This may has occurred when I was only six, but I am certain that I expected her to produce a corseted Welsh costume with Dutch wooden shoes. In the 80’s we lived in a white neighbourhood; despite her efforts, she definitely found it hard raising  three black kids due to a predominately white influence, whatever the nationality. I was determined to blend in with the society which often overshadowed my heritage, so I was upset when my mother – God bless her -searched her drawers and found a brightly-coloured African cloth. In Nigeria, they are known as ‘Dutch Prints’, so my dream of being Dutch for a day was half-solved.

I pleaded with my mother that I didn’t want to wear that  bright rag, and she argued that I had to wear it, because it was my national costume. I wasn’t keen on wrapping that multi-coloured fabric around me in front of my British friends, and   during the dress rehearsals – no pun intended – no-one complimented me, and I was almost certain one or two of them expressed scornful remarks . How I envied the kids who were lucky enough to wear their national costume – jeans, skirts, trainers… All that was nothing compared to how I was chortled at one the big night. I appeared on stage as a wise man bearing my gift, and although it was forbidden I looked straight into the audience where I noticed two parents giggling. They probably were not laughing at me, but by now I’d had enough – I was so furious I refused to give the baby Jesus my present. The person who was more furious than myself was my mother  who claimed that I had disgraced myself by delivering a performance that was nothing to write home to my Nigerian-based father about. It isn’t uncommon for children to make a mistake during a nativity – why she cursed and snapped all the way home is beyond me, and for a week she didn’t let me forget it. Sorry Mummy dearest, but none of your kids are perfect. Deal with it.

Two years later, it was time to say goodbye to the land of my birth and “Dalu” to the land of my fathers. Unfortunately, I Googled that word. Christmas in Nigeria was an entirely different affair. Instead of crisp white snow, there was dusty harmattan, or  in my words, “Hammer-Time”. How could it be hot and chilly at once? No roast turkey, spuds, gravy, and pudding; we tucked into chicken and rice. Christmas crackers were unheard of there; you were lucky if you even received a Nasco cracker. And why had Mum refused to bring along our trusty old Christmas tree? In hindsight it was for the best, because it was to first Christmas I had spent without receiving a present. Yes, Father Christmas had failed to slide down the chimney with the computer I had wished for, although it seemed sensible that he had refused to pay our home a visit because Nigerian houses lack chimneys. The year before, I had received the best present ever – a cassette walkman. You could buy me a platinum-covered gold ring encrusted with diamonds today, but nothing could ever recreate the joy stirring my spirits the moment I unwrapped that present. In Nigeria, I was the envy of my new friends and neighbours who would often ask if they could listen to some music. My first Christmas in Nigeria, despite my mother’s efforts (She had brought home a jar of mincemeat which she used to prepare sandwich toasties), was a disappointment. The following year my father, who had listened impatiently as I lamented, finally gave me a present…new Duracells for my walkman. Seriously.

As time passed however, I began to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. A time to celebrate God sending down his only son to save mankind. A period of peace.  A day to remember that despite our sins God loves us. What better way to celebrate it than to spend the festivities with your loved ones? My family – nuclear and extended. They are the people who gradually integrated me into my new-found environment, teaching me the Nigerian lifestyle. Yes, there were no presents, but how many of us still preserve them in years to come? Family is for life. Family is your heritage; because I know them, I have become a better person for it.  I am still proud to be British, and always will be – not only because I was born and raised here, but also because Britain truly is great. Yet I acknowledge my Nigerian background. Indeed, my Igbo is poor (Dr Sam, if you are reading this, stop spreading lies about me, I never pretend),  I have a London accent , but I am Nigerian. Since the Nigerian experience, I am more aware of my culture, but I am also proud of the fact that I live in a country that is multi-cultural and tolerant – of course the situation is far from perfect given the racial tension in certain areas, but for the most part there is tranquility. This Christmas, as I remember that rather interesting nativity, I feel blessed to be a Naija-Brit.

Merry Christmas.

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Chidinma ‘Miss Cucumber’ Okeke: Victim or Liar?

cucumber-girl

 

Without meaning to sound judgmental, have Nigerians taken leave of their senses? Why do we refuse to acknowledge the obvious when it is staring them in the face? Somebody committed what is considered a crime in our culture, but for some reason we are defending her. I do not have a problem with the gay community – what people choose to do in the privacy of their bedroom is none of my business – but when that person is a role model with a tendency to fib her way through the consequences, it becomes a different matter.  This is not the first time one of our beauty queens has been in the middle of a sex tape controversy; rumours that former MBGN Regina Askia had acted in Brazilian porn in the early nineties were swiftly denied when confronted on Minaj TV. I viewed the DVD during my final days in Nigeria when one of my cousins brought it home (Out of curiosity, of course), and while the resemblance was uncanny, the difference was clear – the porn star was not Askia, and the story soon became akara wrapping. I live by the philosophy that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. People who have nothing to hide always tell the truth from the beginning. As the Good Book reminds us, the truth shall set you free.

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Chidinma Okeke was definitely aware that homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria. The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalises all forms of same-sex unions, with offenders facing imprisonment for fourteen years. Since gay rights activist Bisi Alimi’s coming out episode on New Dawn on Ten,  the country has viewed gay relationships in an even more negative light, but it has always been frowned on in Nigeria’s conservative society. Yet Okeke agreed to be filmed performing a sex act on another girl who, ironically, is also a pageant title holder. According to pageant organisers the Anambra Broadcasting Service, “Winners of the pageant are bound by contracts to be of good conduct and moral behaviour and to uphold/maintain the honour in their position as queen., [and should] refrain from any personal relationship that could appear to hinder their ability to perform the duties of their office as queen and role model and we do not expect any less”. Have we all learned nothing since Miss Unizik 2013 was expelled from her institution after her explicit photos were posted on the internet by a scorned ex? In this age of technology, even minors have access to pornography. This lady was not just a student from a conservative Christian home; having won the title of Miss Anambra, she was a role model and an icon. To allow herself to be filmed was irresponsible, and now she refuses to take responsibility for her own actions, and the same people who clicked on the links to watch her writhing in ecstasy  are jumping to her defense, claiming it was a mistake? Did she trip, fall, and land on a cucumber?

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The inconsistencies in her various statements are so ridiculous, I doubt she is genuine.  Following the leak of the video, Okeke took to Facebook to defend herself in a rather poorly written letter  (How a JAMB candidate with atrocious grammar skills was admitted into Nnamdi Azikiwe University is beyond me). Apparently, the girl in the video was not her, but her head on someone else’s body – I assume that’s what she meant when she argued that she had been photo-shopped. As a Drama graduate who had taken some modules in Film, I can confirm that this form of superimposition is possible. However, while the Nollywood industry has improved over the years, they are yet to reach that level. As I stated earlier, the public are not stupid. She was recognised, and was urged her to tell the truth. As one blogger put it, “Why is she prolonging issues? Can’t she say whatever needs to be said on her Facebook page just the way she wrote the one above?”. When she finally confirmed she was the woman in the video, she revealed that she had never intended to compete in Miss Anambra, but had accompanied her university room mate who was auditioning.  An organiser persuaded her to apply in spite of her reservations, and finally agreed when he insisted that she was a favourite to win. Controversy began to rear its ugly head when Okeke was warned of certain practices contestants were forced to endure in order to clinch victory, and she was determined. Determination is admirable, but when an individual is reduced to unorthodox methods to achieve success, danger is not far off.  Okeke featured in a sex video in order to win. It is no secret that Nigeria is a corrupt country – here in the UK, I have to live with the reality that despite my British upbringing, I still come from the most corrupt nation in the world. If her story is true – and I don’t believe it is – she gives Nigerians a bad name. Whatever happened to winning on merit? Most importantly, why was her sex partner a woman? Don’t contestants normally grant the judges sexual favours?

cucumber

 

Okeke goes on to claim that the organisers turned her into a slave, threatening to leak the video if she refused to stay in line with their demands. She has also stated that she was drugged, but both girls seemed reasonably alert – I know a drugged-up person when I see one. Her parents have defended their daughter, stating that ABS  took advantage of her age and naivety to deny her of whatever money she had made during her tenure; indeed she was naive, but anybody with two brain cells should have know when to say no, yet Okeke, in her quest to claim the crown dragged her family’s name into the mud by acting in porn. Her story is questionable, but if it is true, she has herself to blame. Winning a pageant is not all it is cracked up to be, and no-one pointed a gun at her head – she chose to have sex with a cucumber on camera, and now Okeke must face the consequences.  An acquaintance of mine who had planned to audition for a major Nigerian pageant told a few years ago that it was clear the organisers had their favourites who passed through the screening process without actually being screened, yet the real stunners were totally ignored. Just as my friend was beginning to give up hope, a member of staff took interest in her and asked her to met him at a secret venue later that night in exchange for a place in camp. She refused, and I was proud of her. Okeke is lucky her family is standing by her; in 1992, the nation was stunned when a father in Umuahia shot his daughter, a university student, after it was revealed by an American-based relative that she had featured in a porno. My sympathy is with Okeke’s hypertensive father who has to live with the fact that his daughter has been exposed to the whole nation, no pun intended. She had no respect for the family that had tried to raise her well and shield her from evil – Okeke’s mother reportedly discouraged her daughter from competing in Miss Anambra. The incident proves that upbringing and peer pressure always collide, and the results are not always attractive.

There have been reports that  Okeke faced the wrath of an unnamed chief who released the video after she failed to split any proceeds that occurred during her reign as specified in her contract. Apparently, he had spent a fortune in grooming her which he had to recoup, a deal Okeke had no intention of  agreeing to. It has also been suggested that Okeke and Nzekwe had starred in the video to earn themselves a tidy sum. What would our girls not do for money? Do they not care about dignity? Anambra natives have since become a laughing stock because her antics, and ABS have to do some damage control following this bad publicity, although Okeke now has a few supporters – actress Cossy Orjiakor has praised her for introducing her to a new sex aid, and singer Flavour has offered to eat her cucumber – given his track record with pageant queens, that is not surprising. Jokes aside, this should be a lesson to all girls attempting to become a pageant queen – do your research properly, avoid sleazy organisers, winning isn’t everything, keep your legs closed. And don’t waste food. In the meantime, Okeke has two choices: stand up for gay rights, or leave the country. Enough said.

Toodles.

Posted in Beauty, Nigeria, Pageants | Leave a comment

Pornography in Nigeria – The Dangers and Downfalls

Note: This article is not yet complete

 

cossyslag

It gradually became mainstream, and is currently on the verge of becoming an epidemic – for all the wrong reasons. Countries like Sweden and Germany need not fret, as it is often the norm there, but in Nigeria where even nudity is seen as immoral, pornography is now more popular than ever, and no-one in the country has made an effort to expose the disadvantages and, in most cases, the dangers. And while most people may ‘benefit’ from this form of  sexual arousal porn is dangerous. Yet it remains popular. One of my first articles on The Naija Brit was on a campus queen whose nude photos were splashed on the internet, forcing her to withdraw from school and flee the country. To date, it remains my most read story, but interestingly it was linked to a number of porn sites in Nigeria, and I did not want to be associated with that medium, I was left with no other choice than to take down the article. Porn is no respecter of persons. Men, women, and children from different backgrounds, races, and religions have been drawn in by this trend, with a great number facing addiction – gospel singer Kirk Franklin has spoken about his struggle with porn in several interviews – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

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The average Nigerian’s porn history dates back to 1982 when Lolly, an adult magazine hit the news-stands and soon became a hit, largely due to its main character Dauda the Sexy Guy, an illiterate layabout who was anything but sexually appealing. With the help of his friend, the dim-witted John, Dauda would also indulge in fraudulent practices to earn money for himself, but even these short-lived schemes didn’t stop him from raping other people’s wives and daughters on the sly – in one edition he announced that he had invented an AIDS-prevention vaccine, which in reality was his ever-erect ‘rod’, leaving his unsuspecting victims to  have the ride of their lives with the lecherous villain. Lolly’s back page featured Lewis, a womanising  taxi driver who would inexplicably become a medical doctor in later editions, but even his knowledge in medicine made him oblivious to the fact that his promiscuous lifestyle was unhealthy, and his long-suffering wife Comfort would get even by embarking on affairs of her own, most notably with her on-off boyfriend Dele. The publisher would later argue that Lolly was not a pornographic magazine which was rich, considering his own segment – Abbey’s Column  – would describe explicit details of his own sexual escapades with random women he never seemed to form a stable relationship with. At a wedding where he served as best man, he indulged in a brief moment of passion with the bride between the ceremony and reception, although he later claimed that the tales were fictional. As a secondary school pupil I found these characters amusing, particularly Dauda (His name was later changed to Nackson to avoid offending Muslims which was ironic considering Lolly’s head office was in a predominantly Muslim state). Looking back I ask myself why I had laughed. What is sexy about rape, and why is the exploitation of women humorous?  This early introduction to porn can only spell disaster in capital letters. Why, you may ask, is porn viewed as dirty and immoral in certain circles?  Surely it’s a way to explore your sexuality to discover your preferences? Doesn’t it spice up your sex life as it allows you to obtain certain skills in the bedroom? Isn’t it more convenient to provide self-gratification in the absence of a real-life partner?  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always straightforward; most devotees may claim that it has saved their marriage based on the reasons, but have they considered the hidden dangers?

 

A visit to the website Porn Hub revealed what experts have claimed for years – porn objectifies women. With their hair extensions, fake boobs, and ‘designer vaginas’, porn actresses are the living fantasy of devotees who are soon programmed to believe that perfection is essential when searching for a mate. Should the longevity, or indeed sex  in a relationship be determined by the sex appeal of a woman? Porn is not all glamourous; most actresses are forced to endure unprotected rough sex with extremely endowed men while faking pleasure through the pain. Some scenes may include brutality and torture with the assistance of whips and chains while he refers to her as a ‘bitch’, ‘slut’, or ‘whore’, yet in most cases directors refuse to stop filming despite the actress’s  discomfort. Porn companies defend their art by claiming that their actors are tested for diseases once a month, but after the cameras stop rolling and the actors are behind closed doors in real life, the producers are unaware of who they have sex with for the next 30 days, and how. After retirement, most performers find that integrating into mainstream society is a task as most people would baulk at employing or dating a an ex-porno actor. Porn features women who enter the industry as women, and end up as sex objects – exploited, degraded and debased before they are eventually discarded. Those participating may argue that they entered the industry at their own free will, usually because they enjoy sex, but the message they send out is evil – women are nothing but sex objects, and as a woman myself I find that offensive.

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Lolly is no longer in circulation, but pornography in Nigeria is more accessible than before, thanks to the advancement of modern technology. After the comic industry declined due to high costs of newsprint materials, the film industry continued from where Lolly had stopped. Although there were minor publications which featured stories of an even more graphic nature – even Lolly came out with a similar offering, Lolly Plus –  the country was stunned when in 1999, a number of hardcore porn movies were filmed and marketed in Nigeria; among them were Sex is a Nigerian and Valentine Sex Party. The public doubted the nationality of the actors, until footage showed them speaking fluent Yoruba (Brazilians, perhaps?). As part of its promotion, the makers of Sex is a Nigerian quoted a former minister for Education who had encouraged sex education in schools nationwide, but how a biology teacher would screen these movies in class is beyond me. Apparently, one actress in Valentine Sex Party shoved an empty beer bottle up her vagina as some leery men cheered her on; where exactly in New Modern Biology did it state that Guilder and Star are responsible for human conception? Even the film makers knew that their work was illegal, which explains why they dodged the Nigerian Censorship Board before release,whilst classifying their films as Sex-Ed. In recent years Nollywood films have showcased various sex scenes, and although these are not explicit enough to be described as porn,

 

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Legendary singer Majek Fashek gets new teeth

I really hope he gets his life together…addiction is ugly.

Stanley Bentu's Blog

After many pain filled months, legendary singer, Majek Fashek, has finally visited the dentist to have his teeth fixed.

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Pictures of the singer having his teeth fixed surfaced online, courtesy of his friend, Black Rise, who thanked God for the donations well meaning Nigerians have been making for the welfare of the singer.

“Thanking you all for your contributions and donations. You can see your goodwill is showing and working,” the friend wrote.

Some of his friends had recently started a fund raising campaign page to raise money for the singer’s rehabilitation.

It would be recalled that story surfaced that the musician was having a mental breakdown which he said was spiritual attack.

But the change of teeth kick starts as a new dawn for the rain maker.

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Majek Fashek – a Musical Tragedy

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After years of public speculation and personal denial, reggae legend Majek Fashek has finally entered rehab.  Previously he had denied that he had a problem and even attempted to glamorize his addiction – on  The Charly Boy Show in the late 90’s, the host continuously pointed at a “Say No to Drugs” poster in his backyard (Charly Boy once admitted in an interview with TopNews to briefly experimenting with drugs during his college days in America, so he was talking from experience), but Fashek merely joked that he only ‘used’ drugs as opposed to indulgence. I knew that he wasn’t telling the whole truth. His Jastix bandmates Black Rice and Ras Kimono have hardly aged as much as their former colleague. Gossip columnists had a field day reporting his weird antics which included flashing his privates at an impromptu concert in Lagos. Despite a performance on The David Letterman Show in 1992, subsequent releases since 1991’s So Long Too Long had failed to set the Nigerian charts alight despite touring with Tracy Chapman. Add to this his now gaunt appearance, complete with rotting teeth which now replaced the ravishing smile of the once handsome young man, and it was obvious what the problem was, which begs the question – why?

It is no longer uncommon to associate fame with drugs. Celebrities who survived addiction include Richard Pryor, Natalie Cole, Lady Gaga, Ozzy Osbourne, Britney Spears, and Courtney Love. While these stars eventually survived, others were not so lucky; after Amy Winehouse passed away in 2011, a large amount of interest was taken in the infamous 27 Club – rock stars who had died of drug-related causes at the age of twenty-seven. Ironically, Fashek was nearly the same age when he released “Send Down the Rain” and had a bright feature ahead of him. Nearly thirty years later he is a parody of his former self. This is a man who was a pioneer of Nigerian reggae. Like the Afrobeat king Fela Kuti and His Royal Punkness, Fashek used his talent to speak for all Nigerians, notably when he yelled “Now now now, Babaingida…Babaingida…hey hey hey…free Nigeria…” (Yes, he stole it from Bananarama’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”, but who cares?). This is the same man who toured with Tracy Chapman and Jimmy Cliff, legends in their own right, but still remembered where he came from. He was a well-respected musician, but he would later become Nigeria’s most famous walking anti-drugs campaign.

majek charlyWas he struggling to cope with fame in Nigeria? Was he fighting to avoid failure in America? Was he looking for ‘inspiration’ on both sides? (Paul McCartney and George Michael have both spoken of using drugs to enhance their creativity, although the latter would later admit that his habit nearly ruined his career.) It is clear that drugs are dangerous – recreational or habitual – and when one becomes an addict, they do more than sniff cocaine up their nose. They ‘sniff away’ their lives and respect. Indeed, Fashek has stated in interviews that his past glory has been overshadowed by his current drug shame. However, research has shown that contrary to popular belief, addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower or moral principles, but is actually a complex disease. Comedian Russell Brand has been clean for a number of years, but has confirmed that he’ll always be an addict because it’s in his personality. This is why we all have to campaign hard to rid our society of this poison – as Charly Boy said on his show, no to drugs and yes to education. I am glad that Fashek has finally admitted to a problem, which is often the first stage of recovery, and in a turn of events he now urges Nigerians to say no to drugs…the same message his old friend had given him many years ago. Let us not turn our back on Majek Fashek; where there’s life, there’s hope.

Say no to drugs – they’re not worth it

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