Congratulations on hosting the Headies. Thank you for wearing the bloodied flag on one of your outfits. It was very thoughtful of you to memorialise 20-10-2020 like that. In my eyes, you were the best dressed at the event!
My name’s Korie. I’m only one of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that streamed the 14th Headies on YouTube. I’m not going to spend any time commenting on the show’s production. Many publications have already done that.
An overlooked sore spot from your day as compère, comes from a viral clip of you saying “na Wizkid blow Tiwa”.
From the subject, I’m sure you already know where this is headed. It’s a salvo, boss. Brace up!
You might be asking, “what’s wrong with the statement, especially given the context?” I’m here to ask you “what isn’t?”
We’re in an industry where everybody needs everybody to thrive. Artistes need to cross-pollinate. Stan Twitter has to have arguments. We have to “like” who our faves “like”. Artistes need to be conscious about branding. Some people nobody sees have to make most of the money. We need influencers to push music. We need great award shows. We need impressive compères. However, we do not need jokes predicated on prejudice against women.
For context, the misogyny Tiwa has suffered in mainstream media is revolting to say the least. On the 29th of November, 2020, the Editor of the Pulse put out an article highlighting the “problems” with Tiwa’s career. On Twitter it received mixed to negative reactions. Thankfully, a lot of people saw that takedown piece for what it really was. Thankfully, they called him out. With that in mind, kindly pay attention to this.
Even if you’re indeed correct (which you’re not), and Tiwa owes all her achievements to her 2-3 year tie with Wizkid, was that joke really necessary? Have any of Tiwa’s recent achievements been a product of her association with Wiz? I struggle to wrap my head around those questions. Here’s why:
- Before Tiwa even came back to Nigeria, she signed a songwriting deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. She served as a co-writer on Fantasia Barrion’s grammy nominated album, Back To Me. She got vocal credits on Whitney Houston’s last studio album, I Look To You.
- Regarding the award show, you denigrated her at, she has an amazing pedigree. She was the only woman nominated in the Next Rated category in 2011, along with Wizkid, Olamide and Ice Prince. She was the only woman nominated in multiple categories (Best R&B single and Best Female Vocal Performance) at the 2012 Headies for which she won both. She was again, the most nominated woman at the 2014 Headies Awards. That year, she became the first woman since Weird MC in 2006, to be nominated for “Artiste of the Year”. She has gone on to become the most nominated woman in the category with 5 nominations.
- She revolutionised the boundaries of female sensuality in the Nigerian music industry with videos such as “Wanted” etc.
- Sonically, she was one of the first artistes to introduce pop and R&B elements into her music and videos with “Kele Kele Love”, “Without My Heart” and the Once Upon A Time album by extension.
All of this was done before Wizkid and Tiwa’s collaboration, “Ma Lo”. She was a superstar before their first collab, “Bad”. So, you’re incorrect. Wizkid didn’t blow/re-blow Tiwa. Their association was a mutually beneficial and largely successful collaboration between two of the biggest stars on the African continent. There is literally no factual basis for believing otherwise.
Does Wizkid have more starpower than Tiwa? Yes (though there’s a perfect explanation for this). But, Tiwa was at the peak of her powers and simply re-inventing as some of the greatest pop icons in the world often do (Madonna, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Taylor Swift etc.). She did not adopt the “African Bad Gyal” moniker by mistake. Her general shift in sound to more lamba-centric features and songs was not an accident. It could very well be argued that the period starting from her album RED in 2015 to her EP Sugarcane in 2017 showed Tiwa at her branding and artistic peak.
And so, to reiterate, Tiwa, was not in dire straits. She did not desperately need saving or “re-blowing” from Wizkid. Asserting the contrary, on the most attended online award show in the country’s history in the hopes of eliciting a few laughs is injurious and disrespectful to Tiwa’s legacy. Of course, it was a “joke”. Some might call it one of your more inspired double entendres. But at what cost. Did it edify the culture? Or debase one of Afrobeats’s leading women?
For your “joke” to even make sense, we’d have to compare Wizkid to another big artiste he’s worked with. Let’s do, Drake. One of Drake’s biggest songs is “One Dance”. We all know that the original song by Wizkid was stripped. We all know that Wizkid created that monster of a jam. But, can you in good conscience say, “na Wizkid blow Drake”? You simply can’t. If we decide to localise it (though not as fitting as the earlier comparison), Wizkid had collaborated with Burna Boy at least twice in the Pre-Outside period. Nobody credits Wiz for Burna’s mind-boggling success. The reason is that like you, most people are smart enough to concede that artistes need each other and see the facts when it’s two men collaborating. However, for you and many other Nigerians, the bias/prejudice creeps in when it’s a man and woman of the same standing. You conveniently forget that artistes need each other.
On the flip side, there’s another meaning to “blow”. That side makes it a double entendre. But, that version of the sentence is even more tasteless and condescending. That event didn’t need that side of the “joke”. I’ll not even get into examining it.
As a general note, there’s absolutely no reason to make (improv) jokes that are misogynistic, disrespectful and hurtful to further any agenda. As stated earlier it is, false, disrespectful, and indicative of an even deeper problem in the Nigerian comedy scene.
Maybe, just maybe “content scarce”.
Yours (or whatevs),