First of all, I’ll open the floor by saying Simi’s WOMAN should blow more than it did and be getting awards upon awards but nah, it’s a patriarchal society and she herself “no be woman” by singing this song. How dare she?
I was born in 1996 and I’m in my right to say I have witnessed different evolutions of music in the entertainment industry. I also have a mish mash kinda taste in music because of the different generations I can relate with: My grandparents ‘ (1), my mother’s age range (2), then my mother’s siblings age range (3), MY age range (4), and the generation after me with whom I have a lot of tastes in common (5).
So I can easily relate with at least five music tastes of five different generations.
If you look at the line of progression of generation 1 through 5, you would notice an alarmingly fast rising rate of misogyny and sexism in the Nigerian music industry and even the entertainment industry as a whole.
Grandpa had all these records of King Sunny Ade, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Orlando Owo, Kollignton Ayinla, Barrister… You check these people’s lyrics and the worst you can find are titbits of sexism. There’s no outright sexism or misogyny, it’s always subtle. And even the subtle sexism always came from the angle of “woman, I love you and I’m protecting you”. It’s not malicious… Only that everyone should have asked what or who they were being protected from. They should have asked for a society where women wouldn’t need men’s protection from other men but I guess patriarchy would have to die if we all ask this question so…
If you look at the Fuji music scene too, none of them really had to sing badly about women. They didn’t have to objectify or sexualize women. It was always pure mad drunken fun, with nobody trying to repress the other. I’m not asserting that there wasn’t misogyny/sexism back then, I’m particularly talking about the music industry. I’m setting it apart and focusing my lens on the industry and I’m saying it was NEVER comparatively this bad as it is currently.
You remember Adewale Ayuba, the Ijo Fuji crooner? I still have his songs on my phone. The worst he did was subtly putting men above women and in retrospect, sexism and misogyny were creeping stealthily on us all through the music industry, but we danced it away. We never noticed.
There were the Psquare boys, always singing “beautiful Onyinye” love songs and promoting “indecency” with their “do me do me” skirts used in their music videos. There was ‘Olufunmi o, ma pa mi lekun o.” Men could openly tell women they love women very much and we shouldn’t make them cry. There was nothing like “simp” back then.
It was easier for men to love women and vice versa.
We had the trenches kinda Fuji music way different from Adewale Ayuba’s ajebo Fuji but they were just having their fun too, never outrightly discriminating against women from having their fun too.
We had Yahooze singing about making and spending money without having to call women gold diggers. They ‘spent’ their money without having to objectify women and singing about how women were dying to be with them because they have money and all those shits.
We had Omawunmi doing her beautiful thing and we had Timi Dakolo crying when he won Idol and that evergreen beautiful beautiful beautiful song of “Iyawo mi.” I can’t even believe that kind of song came from our music industry that’s currently messed up with sexism.
We had Asa being her philosophical self, and she never had to be a pick me patriarchal princess. She was radical in her own right.
Even when the likes of Flavour came to the scene, it still wasn’t outright misogyny. And Wande Coal came with admiring women’s bodies with sexism seeping in just a little.
And the music videos weren’t as full of objectification as of the moment; it was just men and women wearing skinny jeans and dancing however way they could.
I’ve slowly brought you to the era of Davido, who haggles about the bride price of a woman like she’s a commodity, to Olamide who’s sexist and tells people it’s wrong to pleasure women through oral sex and promotes rape with his “story for the gods” song, to the outrightly misogynistic asshole like Zlatan who could go to the studio and sing about a woman smelling, to the likes of bunsen burner who are maddeningly misogynistic and keeps getting away with it.
I can’t believe the Nigerian music industry has degenerated to wildly riding on women’s oppression to survive, I can’t.
We now have musicians whose careers ride on sexism, objectifying women and outright misogyny.
And other terrains of the entertainment industry being littered with content creators who present ridiculous caricatures of women, promote domestic violence, cheating, women’s objectification, patriarchy, colorism, fatphobia and assaulting women on the streets and calling it “jokes.”
These useless musicians and content creators will never speak against rape and femicide or women’s rights in ANY way. The ONLY time they remember women is when they want to mimick us in a ridiculous manner to make money into their fat bank accounts. They make money at our expenses, these people. THIS is the ONLY time they remember women. Once they’re done with that costume, they blend in with the patriarchal world and join in oppressing women. Kill women, rape women, oppress women from today ’til tomorrow, you’ll never catch them using their platforms to preach against all these vices. They use women’s identities to cash out and it ends right THERE. Making money is the only acceptable time for men to mimick femininity, and it’s ALWAYS done ridiculously like femininity is never something to be taken seriously. Mimicking women is still in men’s favour under capitalism, not women’s.
There’s even one who had the audacity to be explaining to women what women’s day meant on this last International Women’s day on March 8. Smearing lipstick all over his lips with his ridiculous head gear and saying ” Happy International women’s day to US.”
Are transgenderism and transphobia jokes to you?
These are the kinds of people that promote the idea that people are gay, or transgender or ‘claim’ to be intersex to make money and this is very hurtful to the victims.
Back to the music industry; tbh, in the women’s department, they’re also disappointments.
Creativity? Lyrics? Any form of resistance? None.
They’ve all had to bend, blend and conform to the patriarchal status quo making fools of themselves like Tiwa who obviously wants to be free but still wants to eat her cake, stupidly saying “Somebody’s son” is a song about Jesus. Like Sis! 🙄
I don’t blame her.
She’s seeing what’s being done to women who dare step out of line and try to correct things.
Look at Temmie Ovwasa? She’s fierce but is she being celebrated? No.
But if you’re Yemi Alade who makes noise and sing useless patriarchal songs like Johnny, of course you’ll get called to shows all over Africa, even called to perform in feminist programs.
I laughed really hard when I saw she was invited to perform in the feminist program I went to in Sierria Leone, of course I did not bother to attend the show. What would she sing?
I made this piece because of Simi.
I am annoyed on Simi’s behalf that she’s being intentionally ostracized and asked to get back in line or she’ll start losing out. How dare anyone compare her to Tems? Who the hell is Tems?
The only reason Tems is being celebrated right now is because she’s a patriarchal barbie doll. She’s not bringing anything different to the table OTHER than conforming. She’s a patriarchal good girl and she’s reaping it. That’s all. There’s absolutely nothing special about her. Vocals maybe? Subjectively, it’s still a no for me. But for some others, maybe the vocals. Asides that, PLEASE, what else? So much so that she would win a Grammy?
I feel Tems is being used as some sort of pàsán to put Simi right back in her patriarchal place. Simi has been making cryptic lyrics and twitter posts that shows she can see the games. She talks about being underrated and she indeed is being underrated. She’s being intentionally shrouded and not given her dues. People are even pointing out that she’s suffering from low self-esteem but if she indeed is, why wouldn’t she? She’s definitely not being given her dues right now. Whoever are those controlling the Nigerian music scene are DELIBERATELY shrinking her to get back in line.
I will not be surprised if Simi has to make another homophobic Twitter thread like she once did in the past.
Simi’s WOMAN is a very huge and timely slap on the face of Patriarchy’s reign of terror in the music and entertainment industry. And she used their own material against them, LMAO!
You do know Fela is branded as the image of all these Pan-Africanism ideas of sexism in Africa, right? So Simi went for the jugular by using this very icon’s style to sing that feminist song. Fela sang that sexist song; LADY and Simi sang WOMAN in reply. She went right into the heart of patriarchy and mocked sexism.
She asked that na so so submission, shé we get assignment. 🤣
From my own end here on the smaller scale, sexists started hating Simi like shit with that song and the day I started paying attention was when I was in this sexist guy’s place and Simi’s WOMAN played on the TV. That was even the first time I would hear the song y’know?
He was very angry with Simi, so angry I didn’t understand at all. He body-shamed her, called her names and all that. Then Tems’ song came on the line and he went “Yesss, real African woman.”
If anyone has ever called you a real African woman, you’re a living dead, no caps. And Tem’s eyes don’t look like she’s living her life, it looks like the price she’s being asked to pay for whatever fame she has is too high.
Anyway, it was in that instant I started getting it.
On the systemic level, I would come online and see Tems being blown out of proportion. She’s alright in the eyes of who think she’s alright but she’s not worth all the hype being thrown at her at all. She does not bring any resistance or ideology to the table and a woman who’s not resisting in this godforsaken patriarchal country is… Not really valuable. She’s chosen a side and she’s a tool against her kind.
And then there’s the worse version that makes pangolo meaningless songs like Sability. Ayra Starr is the kind of women that will be promoted and hyped in the music industry, OF COURSE! 🙄
While Simi on the other hand started struggling after WOMAN. She should not be where she is right now.
WOMAN deserves Grammy’s and not Bunsen Burner. Whatever recognition Tems is getting, Simi deserves much more.
I feel Simi would actually have been better off not married AT ALL. Whatever she had with her husband, she could have had everything and more outside of the marriage institution. She’s already fallen into a trap and she’ll be under Adekunle’s shadow for the rest of her life even if she’s the star.
The day Simi decides to stop trying to eat her cake and have it, the day she decides to fully go on rampage and wears her full rebellious regalia, the whole of the music industry will shake, the entertainment industry will shake and Nigeria will shake!
Patriarchy needs to guard the entertainment industry fiercely and Simi can never successfully “fight it from within” if she truly wants to resist.
All of these that I’ve written, if I go to the studio and sing it, I will raise consciousness faster. I’ll cram up these long-ass article in a few lines, sing and it spreads faster than writing and writing in a society where the reading culture is as good as dead. But I can not blow in the music industry because I am not a patriarchal barbie doll and one of the biggest tools used by patriarchy is the entertainment industry. The fast-rising sexism and misogyny in Nigeria is kept aflame by the media. Patriarchy knows the power it holds on the people’s consciousness through the media so it will make sure I never rise, it will yank Simi’s rank away from her and give it to the subservient ones while the ones that are neither here nor there like Tiwa gradually fades into oblivion or the ones that make pangolo music devoid of any meanings and resistance like Yemi Alade and Ayra Starr.
Simi has to choose a side, and fast. Or she’ll lose both ways.
Whatever she does, that WOMAN will be evergreen. That WOMAN will one day, get the recognition it deserves. Heck, it might not even be in her lifetime. That song is a fucking gem. And not even Simi taking back everything she said in that song can soil that song’s majesty.
I see the jab she subtly took against religion. In her other songs, she’s subtly resisting on so many fronts, the family institution inclusive.
I understand the game she played against patriarchy using Patriarchy’s very own beat and style to hit back and for once, I throway salute for a Nigerian song. No other Nigerian song has ever had my utmost respect like this one song. I’ve admired others songs more but RESPECT? This song has my respect. It takes a whole lot of gut to fight back amongst misogynists and sexists and patriarchal princesses. So I really respect that song. I don’t respect Simi, there’s a difference. I don’t idealize people anymore. I respect that her particular song.
Na so so submission o, shé we get assignment.
Suffer suffer for world
Enjoy for heaven.
Written by Sisí Afrika.