Photo: BBNaija Twitter

In-between Tacha, Zlatan (Ibile), Big Brother Naija and the dust blown into our faces.

Gossip was, that Tacha had it coming. I hadn’t known until I learned of her disqualification from the Big Brother Naija reality TV show. Gossip was also, that she had too much energy, which didn’t fail to be proportional to that of Nigerians that sought her blood.

I didn’t know any of these by watching the show, but from word of mouth. Albeit, I was let in on some minute detail by sitting in front of the DSTV of a friend who always had the show on all day. (Thanks to our corner of Nigeria where there’s almost always light.) So when I am at her place and do not want to appear immune to the flu of BBNaija I ask artificial questions—How many days are left? How many housemates are left?—and then try to glean something from the conversation on the screen (the show) but fail, always. Perhaps, by serious lack of attention.

But, days ago, without asking, my friend told me about Tacha. This Tacha, as I saw on screen, had her hair (wig) afro-like. Brownskin-complexioned. Spoke fair English, too. I couldn’t know that the screen had concealed a non-innocuous detail of her, which my friend was only too glad to let me know—Tacha has body odour. But there’s a smirk in my friend’s voice as she tells me this.

Tacha had this coming—so I heard. It begins with an altercation with another housemate Mercy. As they exchange words, Mercy flings her long hair which strikes Tacha’s eyes; Tacha grabs the hair and pulls them. Mercy retaliates with verbal missives which leads to the cosmos (all of us watching) becoming aware of Tacha’s body odour. Tasha falls our hand—she performs an ablution of body spray. She cusses Mercy, calls her a slut, an amoeba, so on. But how do you get body-shamed in such a way and go ahead to confirm it? As the Big Brother reality TV custom has it, it is strikeful of you.

Everybody doesn’t like Tasha. This statement is very disputable, as social media proves that many people like her. (She calls her fans Titans.) But you cannot miss the bad energy towards her either by other Nigerian viewers. Their judgement of her is like the righteous Nigerian mom who calls out the child of another woman: Tacha has bad manners, she is arrogant, over her head, and other ugly, ugly epithets.

At the end she was disqualified from the reality show. Her enemies finally had their POF.

But the reactions after this is what becomes interesting. Zlatan posts a video on Twitter, a gambit of a song he wishes to release. He asks in the post, “#Tacha #TachaTitans #BBNaija when should this drop?” On Instagram he asks for 150k comments to drop the song. There have been comedy skits built on Tacha’s story; one is titled Disqualify My Odour Season 12 by @mc_ichie. (Wow.) And one or two or more such reactions. To keep an eye for them would be to stalk social media without cease, trapped in The Great Distraction of the Internet.

We have already stopped talking about Zlatan’s video because Tacha seems to be the “it” trending on Twitter since the past days. Not to say there weren’t reactions. I had tweeted myself that the artiste Zlatan take down the video and apologise to Nigerians for woman-shaming; for what I sensed—after the endorsement by many Nigerians who saw the video—was an insensitivity for the lady’s emotions au moment. Many of us, even ladies, have seen nothing wrong in Zlatan’s video. How much should the threshold of our insensitivity be tested just because we want to spite another? She had it coming, they say. Have we allowed the country to conscript us into its capacity for malfeasance? The reactions to Zlatan’s video is like the tongue-out children do to each other—that’s-good-for-you, ntooh. So Nigerians indirectly clap for Zlatan for shaming a bad girl.

We have groomed a cancerous culture in Nigeria in being steadfast to celebrate when the bad and ugly happens to others. A habit that deconstructs our over-religious sense which begs empathy from us, or the dictum, by all means, to love one another. (Christ!) So when Zlatan shames Tacha in his video and it is just a fun for us—I wonder, who did this to us?

A comment tweet appears under Zlatan’s, that the artiste did not do a song during the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. I don’t know if we are to expect gravitas from the likes of Zlatan and the crop of our pop artistes, so I pitied the commenter. Needless to remind, we like to say literature and art reflect the society—or what is the cliché now? Oh, that they are the mirror of the society; so it is quite mechanical that Zlatan reflects us. 

In-between the hullabaloo the past days Tacha’s fans have opened a GoFundMe account to raise the N60m she has missed for being disqualified from the TV show; one of the P Square twins has  promised her N60m and denied it, or so I heard; someone has dashed her N50m on Twitter; hashtags about her case have trended on Twitter. The solidarity and loathing of Tacha is in equal action and reaction. The worry, however, is on the amount of energy wasted by Nigerians on such triviality.

“We know how the breeze/ Knows that time/ Is stray out there,” says the poet Ahmed Maiwada, “When the robber pulls out his arms/ And takes it by force.” While Nigerians, the young and trendy, have been wasting time watching this BBNaija, a group of Nigerian youth are on an across West Africa road trip, Jollof Road (for 80 days), doing something of more cultural importance, where they have a blog reporting daily their experiences on their itinerary. They have just a single SUV, their cameras, some gadgets and hotel rooms to cope with. This should be the stuff that should be on TV, but it is not a money spinner.

Thanks to the distraction of Big Brother Naija. The call to raise compensatory money in tens of millions for Tacha’s fall out from the show cannot be too lugubrious. Thanks to this distraction, we can waste all our time talking about nonissues, about celeb-culture fads that feed on our crave for vanity and inability to think. This distraction, aptly criticised in Immanuel James Ibe-Anyanwu’s essay Before the next BBNaija as a “brilliant shindig of unhinged fandom.”

A population of Nigerians have been schemed, a fearful number of them young, if not all of us. Some of us, eyeglass-wearing, critical, preponderant citizens, wonder about serious issues that should get needed attention. But everybody cannot be like us, that’s why showbiz and entertainment—even downright bathos—will have its patronisers. Society needs diversity for balance. But even as we consider this, it is glaring how dust has been blown into our eyes

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