On Tiwa Savage’s sex tape

THE past weeks have been marked by a series of moral transgressions by powerful figures in political, business and celebrity circles. Recall that the internet ran amok as  Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, and her former manfriend,  Prince Kpokpogri,, made the headlines following the release of some audio clips that went viral. In one of the audio clips, Kpokpogri, was heard narrating how he had an all day long marathon sex with another celebrity, Jane Mena, a married woman who is popular for twerking on Instagram. In fact, we have all watched with morbid curiosity for weeks as celebrities fall from grace and as the waiting time shortens between each Baba Ijesha, Tonto Dikeh, Kpokpogri, Jane Mena or Tiwa Savage, the new game becomes “Guess who’s next to be exposed?” It could be a slick-haired hedge manager, a scruffy-faced producer, or a charming upcoming actress or influencer as they prefer to call themselves now, but it’s sure game on!  Perhaps the current most disturbing, however, of these scandals is the alleged leaked sex tape of Nigeria’s music star and self acclaimed African bad girl, Tiwa Savage.

The tape, which was allegedly released by a blackmailer, has been doing the rounds across different social media platforms and has become a topic of discussion as people debated, judged, cursed and further disseminated the short clip which clearly showed someone like Tiwa performing sexual acts. Prior to the release of this sex tape however, the 41-year old mother of one and one of Nigeria’s most successful artiste had, in an emotional interview on TV, talked about a blackmail attempt by someone, who is in possession of a copulation tape between her and her boyfriend. While it has to be stated categorically that blackmailing or revenge porn in all forms is a criminal offense and should be frown upon and utterly discouraged in our society, there’s a sense in which two adults, one being a 41 year-old mother of one, recording their sexual escapades and putting their sexual organs on display, represents somewhat a pathetic commentary on the abyss into which values have sunk in Nigeria, especially amongst the so called celebrities. Not only does the narrative of  this alleged Tiwa’s porn, so to speak, depicts the increasingly loose, lewd and base direction of entertainers, it also poignantly shows how futile the attempt to even affect their cognition and thought processes through public disapproval and education has been.

Let’s face it: Why would two sane adults record their secret amorous moment and let it come to public light in that manner? To achieve what exactly? Of course, having sex may be something natural but recording and uploading intentionally or unintentionally is not, except maybe for porn stars. And the only way the tape got into the hands of the alleged blackmailer is because there is a tape in the first place, placing enormous responsibility on those who want to indulge in the fun of recording their sexual escapades to ensure the security of their recording and that it does not become a public fare. In this particular case, the so-called African bad girl ought to have known that sexual discretion  is something that’s boldly imprinted in the consciousness of Africans and that what is to be kept secret and private should remain secret and private under all circumstances.

To be sure, what Tiwa and her lover allegedly did may not come off as too shocking because increasingly, the conspicuous display of moral ineptitude has become the primary spectacle of major entertainers globally and as these behaviors continue to be normalised, the more and more the boundaries are being pushed. It is also the case that, the ecology of the entire entertainment industry has become more and more competitive and as such, there is intense pressure on these artistes to stay relevant. Every now and then, we are flashed with celebrities bare bums, cleavages and posts featuring sexual innuendoes in the newsfeeds to garner attention. Sadly for these celebrities, any publicity is said and thought to be good publicity! In a society that largely obsesses about entertainment and celebrity culture, maybe there is need for an absolute reckoning in the industry going forward with this message to the artistes: crappy behavior is neither good for them nor the rest of the society and, thus, would and should not be tolerated.

As public figures and role models, stars play important roles in the society, especially to the young generation. From fashion trends and products endorsements to political views, the attractiveness of a celebrity’s lifestyle can influence people’s beliefs, interests and behaviors. They are not only expected to be versatile, but also required to conduct themselves with dignity and set a good example for the society. Moreover, with fame comes great responsibility, and they have an obligation to exercise their influence mindfully. Whether it is desired or not, people follow what they choose to say or do, leaving them with a social responsibility to try to improve the world, or at the very least, not add fuel to the flames in the world. Perhaps the high standards expected from them could be a tard unjust, but what can we do? The disparity between celebrities and the average person when it comes to making an impact is big and exceptional, and this reality imposes some responsibilities and obligations on the celebrities. Tiwa and her colleagues in the limelight must, therefore, understand that by virtue of being celebrities, they influence societies in more ways than one and that confers on them the moral, if not social, responsibility to do better.

  • Yakubu is of the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan.

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