Tiwa Savage: A Song Star In A Porn Shop By Suyi Ayodele 

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By Suyi Ayodele

THE last few days have been very engaging, especially on social media as people debated, argued, judged and commented on the interview by the songstress, Tiwa Savage, on her sex tape saga. In that emotional interview, the 41-year old mother of one and one of Nigeria’s most successful modern entertainers, talked about an attempt to blackmail her by someone, who is in possession of a not-too-decent copulation tape between her and her new lover or boyfriend.

Her narration: “Yesterday, I was leaving a radio station and I was in my car when my road manager sent me a message. She said I should check my phone. I checked it and there was a video, and I was just like, ‘Wow! The video was sent to him and it is a tape of me and the person I am dating right now…

“The person is asking for money now. The person I am dating is going crazy too. My manager asked how much the person is asking for. I decided I was not going to pay the person because if I do, two months from now, three months down the line or even two years later, you are going to come back again. Who knows, if I send the money, the person will probably release it. I am not going to let anyone blackmail me for doing something natural”. That “something natural”, Tiwa referred to above is the recording of an African mother’s sex romp with a lover.

The iconoclast, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, in 1971, recorded an album titled, “Na Poi”. Fela was in his best raw element in that song. But due to its racy nature, the then Nigerian Broadcasting Company, now National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) instantly banned it from the airwaves. The commission described it as “taboo sexual lyrics”. Wikipedia, in its record of “Na Poi” says: “In essence, the track is a sexual guide set to music. As such, it features both spoken narration as well as sung lyrics. “Na Poi”’s rhythms churn and grind through several notable movements—including a spirited percussion section and several tight horn arrangements. These hark back to the same type of perpetual funk that became the cornerstone of Parliament and Funkadelic. Initially, the repercussions of such blatant sexuality resulted in the track being banned by the Nigerian Broadcasting Company”.

Since NBC banned the song, I will not be reproducing its lyrics here. Why? There is a saying among my Yoruba people that the chief priest does not make horrible pronouncements. However, as risqué as the lyrics may sound or appear to sound, the last line is a lesson in moderation, decency and morality. The caution, “De thing wey dem do dey behind de door wey dem lock”, would have saved the day if our modern day song star, now almost turning to a porn star, Tiwa Savage, had listened to that song. Fela, as lewd as he was, never did that. When he had some obscene show recordings, they all came with the NTBB (Not To Be Broadcast) caution.

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Again, the septuagenarian evangelist, Baba Ebenezer Obey, in his hay days, waxed another salacious song labelled: “Ina ni mo wa fon”. Smutty in content and delivery, and later turned to one of the restitution points when Obey became a born again Christian, the song, like Fela’s, also has its own moral lesson. Since I am of the same faith with the old music icon, I will only reproduce here the fourth line of the lyrics: “O ti le kun mo mi lo gba iro idi mi”-he locks the door and removes my wrapper.

Fela and Obey, in the two songs summarised above, clearly demonstrated that the issue of sexual relationship is a secret affair. Except those who are pure and complete commercial sex workers, copulation is a discreet issue; at least in the comity of decent human beings. Only animals engage in the enterprise and make an open show of it. And that is allowed because that is how nature conditioned them. In villages in those days, any child who got attracted to dogs while they were at their games, was roundly scolded. If by coincidence you stumbled on dogs mating, as a child, you were expected to scurry away from the scene. But things have since changed. We are in the “generation of iniquities” as tagged by the Benin-based comedian, Elder.

Before we deal with the appropriateness or otherwise of adults, especially a mother, recording her copulation enterprise, I feel we should deal first with the issue of the blackmail. This is taking a cue from the axiomatic saying that when the fox comes after your chicken, you chase it away before blaming the fowls for coming out to the open. The one who has the tape is asking for money, with a threat to release the “offensive” tape if not paid. The music star took a bold step. She said she is not going to pay; not a Kobo. I think she is right. If I were in her shoes, I would not pay. No blackmailer should be paid. The act of blackmailing is as despicable as the object of the blackmail and the victim. Only demented brains take advantage of a silly act like Tiwa’s to make profit out of it. And like she said, there is no guarantee that after the first payment, the blackmailer would not come back. God bless James Hadley Chase; he has some fantastic remedies! The best treatment for a blackmailer is to call his or her bluff, face the consequences of your actions and ask him or her to bug off!

Second reason why I think Tiwa should not pay is because she has nothing to lose. It would have been a different ball game if she were officially married and caught in adultery. As it is, Tiwa is more or less a “free agent”. She also said that her new “unknown” lover is “not famous, he is a regular guy…”. So what spoils if the tape is out? The nondescript lover has nothing to lose. Tiwa herself has nothing to lose. If the video of Tiwa in Wizkid’s album, “Fever” did not destroy her, a tape of two silly adults doing “something natural” is not likely to. You don’t threaten an old woman with a big phallus. Any mother, who could get involved like Tiwa did in “Fever” has seen it all. The blackmailer can as well hang himself.

Thankfully enough, Tiwa appears to be of tougher skin here. Hear her: “No part of me wants to pay the person. That is what is getting me angry. If you want to put it out, put it out. I am that crazy that I can put it out myself. You are not making any money from me. This was an intimate moment with someone I am dating”. That is how to talk tough. I am almost tempted to say: “Tiwa, go girl! Release the tape and shut ‘em the hell up!”. And I take a bet: I will not waste my data watching it! The tape is not likely to excite Nigerians too. We all just finished watching a season film on BBNaija, where a married woman, on a live intercontinental broadcast, did it with another guy. What has happened afterwards? We move!

But get it; I am not by a shred of imagination approving the act. The truth is that most sanctimonious commentators on the matter have in their phones, videos that will make the devil go green with envy. May our integrity not be put to test.

Now back to the tape. I must confess here that I am the least shocked that two sane and educated adults would descend to the level that Tiwa and her unknown lover did. The Nigerian entertainment industry, unarguably, is one of the richest in black Africa. Talents abound, such that it takes raw ingenuity for any star in the industry to stay on stage for too long. From Ajegunle to FESTAC, Mushin, to wherever, talents abound. Artistes go; stars come and the industry remains, ever buzzing.

And like every of its counterpart, world over, the Nigerian entertainment industry is also not insulated against the twin problems of sex and drugs. Without sounding immodest, I can say that I know the industry appreciably well enough to make the claim. I spent some 16 good years of my career, working closely with artistes, their managers and crew. With the presence of very few individuals, that industry is in ruins because of drugs. The old hands, especially those who practised in the early 80s and late 90s are, possibly, the ones you could really call reasonable. The new “generation of iniquities” needs attention. This is one of the reasons why you hear about a rising star in the industry going down with the speed of a supersonic jet.

Veteran actor, Deji Aderemi popularly known as Baba Olofa Ina, gave an idea of the sexual perversion in the industry at the initial stage of the sexual assault saga of Olanrewaju James, aka Baba Ijesha. The old actor, who was in court in solidarity with Baba Ijesha, said: ”I’m in court because they said somebody slept with someone. This is a normal thing in our industry…. There is no successful actress that would say that she has not been slept with in the industry before..” Those who know Olafa Ina say that he is neither flippant nor given to unnecessary hyperbole.

Now, if the three-letter word is put to practice so frequently and so casually, stakeholders in the entertainment industry should be worried that two adults would put their secret dalliance to public glare in that manner. Who does that? Tiwa is 41 years old and a mother for crying out loud! Who did the recording? What mental state were the duo before they set the tape rolling, got into the act and then uploaded the stuff? To achieve what? Yeah, Tiwa said it is “something natural”. I won’t contest that. But I am tempted to say that it is “something unnatural” for normal human beings to put such an act in video. Those who bandy their sexual activities unabashedly are modern day commercial sex workers, otherwise known as porn stars. By the dictates of our being as Africans, the letters of sexual discretion are boldly imprinted in the consciousness of every child born on the continent through our time-tested mores, strictures and didactic pronouncements!

Tiwa and her colleagues in the industry should bear it in mind that the celebrity tags on their heads are not licences to becoming theriomorphic. Even Alsatian dogs would most often hide in the backyards to do the act! If not that female rights activists are likely to accuse me of women abuse, I would have recommended that Tiwa be sent to the Kwara Madrasa leader for some “training”. In case she has forgotten, can we remind Tiwa that she is a song star and not a porn star. Why is she making it difficult for us to distinguish between the two?

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