Category Archives: Article

COMING OUT; A BULLY’S TARGET?

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COMING OUT; A BULLY’S TARGET?

I come online, and i can’t get past three posts without this name embracing my optical sense. He was last seen on the 1st of June; kidnapped by unknown persons who reacted to his recent essay on being Queer. He is a good writer; a facebook friend. I had no idea. I got concerned and snoopy, then decided to read his 15th May article on brittle paper titled ‘We’re Queer, We’re Here’, and almost immediately i had a flashback on my final year project “COMING OUT” A DRAMA ON MALE HOMOSEXUALITY IN NIGERIA’S TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS. In Act III, Scene II, the gay protagonist faces serious bullying by some homophobic undergraduates in the same Department. His roommate eventually finds out, and also tries to help him seek psychological prognosis in the end… Did it help him?

 
I remember a certain time when a young man; a junior colleague was almost picked up from our Department’s car park, a few months before final year graduation, because he is a queer kind; and with slightly curvaceous hips like that of a lady. An alarm was raised, and he was rescued from the danger that had awaited him that evening. Four guys in a Toyota Camry almost snatched him away from school. I couldn’t come to terms with why i would want to hurt another person because he/she is of an odd behavior. Where i feel funny is when i am not being able to relate to when this goes beyond just feeling different from within. I have respect for every human being because God created us all, but something evil seeks to destroy what God has created beautifully and wonderfully, hence the disorderliness.

During my project research period, i lost the plump weight i had gained during my third year, due to the vast information on this mind boggling issue. The more i researched, the more i began to see beyond the reason why i shouldn’t hurt anyone because… I began to understand the medical, psychological and emotional sides of these sets of people. I developed a better heart in the long run (I had never hated them, but only wished such will just go away and not put them in great danger. I can’t stand people being hurt for not knowing why they are the way they are). As a believer of God, all you can do is just keep holding them up in earnest prayers, upholding them before God. Truth is, God didn’t create anyone like that, this only happens when a child is born into a world were the spiritual evil rules the earth. Anything can happen. How do you explain why a child is born with a hole in the heart? Thank God for medical science, but how…? It only takes the spiritual good to overcome such oddness.

Gayism, like i wrote in the Abstract of my Final year project paper, states that it is becoming a widespread practice among youths in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, and it is gradually taking center stage, and many young people are still facing bullying. I went on to quote the author of CHANGING HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE MALE, Lawrence J. Hatterer. He opines that “One who is motivated by a definite preferential erotic attraction to members of the same-sex, usually but not necessarily engages in overt sexual relations with them.”

Most of these individuals sometimes ‘helplessly’ choose to remain in this because they can’t come to terms with why they are this way, especially in a society where such is strongly kicked against. They earnestly yearn also to be able to share their feelings and desires, become members of communities that gives them the platforms to express their shared views without inhibitions (This is a very sensitive matter, not everyone who’s homophobic can understand this). The likes of Sigmund Freud, Isidor Sadger, Jean Foucault, David Halperin, etc, all have their opinion about this very issue.

My heart goes out to Chibụìhè Light Obi You will return in one piece.
I pray for his safety. I pray that his abductors will let him go free, without a fuss. Amen!
Read the essay here: http://brittlepaper.com/2017/05/queer-chibuihe-obi-essay/
Note: These are my personal thoughts.
Photo Credit: http://www.wildreed.blogspot.com

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PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

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PIERCING WORDS: ‘Poet of the day’ – Niyi Osundare

Niyi Osundare is a Professor of English Literature in the University of New Orleans, USA, and a prolific and outspoken poet and teacher from the South West part of Nigeria. He is also a dramatist and vast literary critic whose works touches mostly on deep political issues; a very clear evidence of ‘artistic activism’. He has written poems, and has several books in print, which includes; Moonsongs (1988), Village Voices (1984), State Visit (2002, Play), Not My Business (2005), Random Blues (2011), etc.

He is a  holder of numerous outstanding awards, of which two of them are the Folon/Nichols award for ‘Excellence in literary creativity’, the Nigerian National Merit Awards (NNMA) for ‘Academic excellence’.

He once made a captivating statement which is able to awaken the conscious conscience of any Nigerian writer; spurring them into writing words that can mend the broken bridges of the failing Nigerian leadership style:

           “You cannot keep quiet about the situation in the kind of countries we find ourselves in, in Africa. When you wake up and there is no running water, when you have a massive power outage for days and nights, no food on the table, no hospital for the sick, no peace of mind; when the image of the ruler you see everywhere is that of a dictator with a gun in his hand; and, on the international level, when you live in a world in which your continent is consigned to the margin, a world in which the colour of your skin is a constant disadvantage, everywhere you go – then there is no other way than to write about this, in an attempt to change the situation for the better.”

Enjoy reading one my favorite of his collection of poems.

My Lord

Please tell me where to keep your bribe?

Do I drop it in your venerable chambers

Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion

 

Shall I bury it in the capacious water tank

In your well laundered backyard

Or will it breathe better in the septic tank

Since money can deodorize the smelliest crime

 

Shall I haul it up the attic

Between the ceiling and your lofty roof

Or shall I conjure the walls to open up

And swallow this sudden bounty from your honest labour

 

Shall I give a billion to each of your paramours

The black, the light, the Fanta-yellow

They will surely know how to keep the loot

In places too remote for the sniffing dog

Or shall I use the particulars

Of your anonymous maidservants and manservants

With their names on overflowing bank accounts

While they famish like ownerless dogs

 

Shall I haul it all to your village

In the valley behind seven mountains

Where potholes swallow up the hugest jeep

And Penury leaves a scar on every house

 

My Lord

It will take the fastest machine

Many, many days to count this booty; and lucky bank bosses

May help themselves to a fraction of the loot

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

The “last hope of the common man”

Has become the last bastion of the criminally rich

A terrible plague bestrides the land

Besieged by rapacious judges and venal lawyers

 

Behind the antiquated wig

And the slavish glove

The penguin gown and the obfuscating jargon

Is a rot and riot whose stench is choking the land

 

Behind the rituals and roted rigmaroles

Old antics connive with new tricks

Behind the prim-and-proper costumes of masquerades

Corruption stands, naked, in its insolent impunity

 

For sale to the highest bidder

Interlocutory and perpetual injunctions

Opulent criminals shop for pliant judges

Protect the criminal, enshrine the crime

 

And Election Petition Tribunals

Ah, bless those goldmines and bottomless booties!

Scoundrel vote-riggers romp to electoral victory

All hail our buyable Bench and conniving Bar

 

A million dollars in Their Lordship’s bedroom

A million euros in the parlor closet

Countless naira beneath the kitchen sink

Our courts are fast running out of Ghana-must-go’s*

 

The “Temple of Justice”

Is broken in every brick

The roof is roundly perforated

By termites of graft

 

My Lord

Tell me where to keep your bribe?

 

Judges doze in the courtroom

Having spent all night, counting money and various “gifts”

And the Chief Justice looks on with tired eyes

As Corruption usurps his gavel.

 

Crime pays in this country

Corruption has its handsome rewards

Just one judgement sold to the richest bidder

Will catapult Judge & Lawyer to the Billionaires’ Club

 

The Law, they say, is an ass

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow

But the Law in Nigeria is a vulture

Fat on the cash-and-carry carrion of murdered Conscience

Won gb’ebi f’alare

     Won gb’are f’elebi**

They kill our trust in the common good

These Monsters of Mammon in their garish gowns

 

Unhappy the land

Where jobbers are judges

Where Impunity walks the streets

Like a large, invincible Demon

 

Come Sunday, they troop to the church

Friday, they mouth their mantra in pious mosques

But they pervert Justice all week long

And dig us deeper into the hellish hole.

 

Nigeria is a huge corpse

With milling maggots on its wretched hulk

They prey every day, they prey every night

For the endless decomposition of our common soul

My Most Honourable Lord

Just tell me where to keep your bribe.

 

 

*Large, extremely tough bags used for carrying heavy cash in Nigeria

** They declare the innocent guilty

      They pronounce the guilty innocent

 
(c) Niyi Osundare
Photo credit: Sahara Reporters

The stalenessness of relationships

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The stalenessness of relationships

How much of a lamb of sacrifice can anyone be in a relationship? Is there any special meditation or magical concoction one has to mix to ensure that the poison of staleness does not affect what they have going for them when in the spotlight with a spouse? Hmmm… There are too many questions to ask when you find yourself being ‘exclusive’ or not with someone you are either in lust or love with.

Many young people (i say ‘young’ people, because they are the most vulnerable and expertly naive) in the world today go into dating relationships most times not having a personal knowledge of what they are about to get themselves into. Oftentimes, they just do what they see their friends do. Peer pressure causes them to go the extra mile, then they eventually get into their first experience of heartbreak. They try to get into another, then anotther, until their so-called love life becomes a huge epic fail. The staleness sets in like cement on a wet floor, and at this point, there is no point of return for them; for years.

I remember what it felt like when i had my first feelings for a boy from my High School days (although, he wasn’t the first boy i kissed. Lol). It felt like i had just won a jackpot when we declared our late ‘teenage love‘, then eventually dating after a few years of being away. He always liked to come visit me. We would sit outside with other friends of ours and chat away excitedly. I sometimes scribbled how i felt on paper for him, and he would sometimes do the same. The whole experience was really exciting, until the day the bright sky began to slowly turn grey, and the eventual falling of rain from the sky of my eyes. I was really hurt! I experienced my own baptism of fiery failed first relationship. He cheated on me with another girl from the neighborhood. That was it. I was done! several years later, many more failed relationships set in. “Why?” you may ask. I certainly didn’t know why, until my eyes began to open to the truth. There were many stale things that needed to be thrown into the trash bag and burnt forever.

In this day and age, many people find themselves still experiencing bad relationships, because there is still a demon from the past lurking in their minds, spirit souls and bodies. They have not come to know that there is only one thing that is really constant in all of their past dating days. They are the only contant thing that needs spring cleaning in their minds. Studies have shown that “What you think, you attract.” It is a law that boomerangs on us constantly as individuals who will refuse to look away from the warning signs. Imagine if young man starts dating a new lady, and he still has a ton of trash from his past relationship hanging in the closet of his mind, he may never be very open to her, and they decide to call it quits or just abscond, thereby ending what they had abruptly. Who would be blamed, the guy or the girl? (You should answer that…) Many people still see their Exs in their new dating partners. Until you change your mindset from focusing on the wrongs, there won’t be any change.

There are signs that show that a relationship is stale, and they all have names; constant sugarcoated lies, blinding deceptions, muting communications, audacious pridefulness, egotistic blackmails. If all of these and many others are spotted in your relationship, best be sure that yours is speedily heading for the iceberg that tore through the titanic ship.

  1. Once you begin to see traces of lies, ensure you find out for yourself by asking questions nicely, and if you do not get any answers, then use your common sense… Selah.
  2. Both men and women can be very deceptive in so many areas. They can subtly lure you into believing anything. How you get to know if they are professional decievers, is to observe the way they carry on with people around them. Don’t try to wave it aside by trying to defend them, just take note, cause it might just be your turn.
  3. You earnestly wish you can have all the time to yourselves; that lovey-dovy time where you can just talk about just everything without holding back, but that doesn’t seem to materialise. Both of you just sit there loving the keypads of your mobile phones, and communicating silently to third parties. Seriously! Who does such a thing when they ‘claim’ to be exclusively in love? Even mutes have devised ways to ‘Communicate’ their feelings. A relationship devoid of proper communication (not talking o!), is as good as milling factory without machineries… Selah
  4. Pride goes before a fall. Nobody wants to keep falling in and out of love because of a prideful spouse. This character has killed several relationships, and many do not get to survive it. Watchout, otherwise you will constantly suffer for what you did not bargain for.
  5. Guys are mostly the ones with the ego-tripping issues, and the ladies are the most sufferers of such acts. Sometimes, emotional blackmail begins to surface when there is some form of friction. When this happens, take time out to nicely and calmly state your observations. If your spouse is gracious enough, he/she will begin to make the required change for a successful and enviable relationship.

Make that faithful effort to clean out your closet of the past hurts and pain. Do not be that one who will begin to torment your spouse with then stench of staleness because of what you have suffered in the past.  If you hve the right perspective in place, you can also ask God to help you deal with that garbage forever.

Learn and observe what your spouse’s love language is, and go with the flow at all time.  For further info on knowing about how you can sail smoothly in your relationSHIP, opt to get a copy of Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages here http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Sometimes, not all relationships are worth saving too. I hope you learned something new today.

 

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme.

 

 

THE JOLLOF WARS, AND A LIE THAT ALMOST ENDED IT…

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THE JOLLOF WARS, AND A LIE THAT ALMOST ENDED IT…

We are a people with greatness embedded in the center of our beings, and with a love for several delicacies, from the different geo-political zones. We like it fried, porridge, baked, sautéed, barbequed, roasted or any kind of soup. Nigeria remains a country with diverse tribes and different kind of dishes that have the empowering abilities to cause any lover of “belle first” to dive neck deep into that lagoon, not minding if that dish will end their lives or not. Anyone who is a self-acclaimed foodist or an entitled one will know how important it is to ‘guard that which is its own’ (abi na lie?). Nigerian food lovers always protect their delicacies with all jealousy.

Jollof rice is a one of its kind common dish in Western Africa. Its name is derived from the Wolof people of Senegal, and the Gambia, but Nigeria and Ghana have since come from a very debatable standpoint of being the ‘originators’ of the perfectly prepared version of this highly respected delicacy. Other countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Cameroon and Togo also consume this dish. As we all know, for a period, there has been ongoing social media war on “Which country prepares the best Jollof rice, Nigeria or Ghana?”. This doesn’t seem like it is going to stop anytime soon, if Jesus tarries. Nigerians are not willing to back down, as many foodists come up with several innovative ways to prepare and decorate the ‘Naija Jollof’ to catch the eye of the eater. In fact, some people hold this dish sacred. (Jesu egba wa o!) God help us.

As someone who loves to cook for myself, and for people, I have gotten to that point where I see people fight because of food or even fight to get their own portion of food. You can find this action take place in our regular wedding ceremonies or other open-air parties where the ‘public’ is invited. I have noticed that the most fought for food is the very popular firewood, well cooked, sauced and spiced jollof rice, garnished with a piece of fried chicken or beef. No one would want to give up on that, especially when the aroma from their neighbors’ plate hit their nostrils with all joyfulness, and awakening your tastebuds; making your mouth watery. Lol

Just last week friday, Richard Quest of CNN visited Lagos, Nigeria to anchor his programme Richard Quest means Business, and there was a brief Q and A session he had with our dear Minister of Information and Culture (I will not mention his name, before the ongoing war in my head will end because of a truthful lie…) who subconsciously decided in his mind to end an age long war when asked “Which country makes the most delicious Jollof rice in Africa?” . His answer was a tsunami! *Covers face* Someone once said that “that singular act is a treasonable felony, punishable under the Nigeria Jollof rice Act of 1960”, and I concurred that he should be punished without inviting professional whistle blowers to his rescue…

[Dramatic music playing in the background]

… Richard Quest went on to clarify in Act II, stating that  he asked “which country did Jollof rice originate from” and the lie came rushing… I mean, what was dear Mr. Information and Culture Minister thinking? Did he realize how many people fainted in Nigeria, and how many Ghanaians threw a send-off party, while the Senegalese were caught off-guard? This in fact is a case of the popular belief that “A witch cried and a baby died last night”. This is an unpardonable sin; to betray Nigerians in the face of Jollof War II. A Lai-Lie may have just ended this war for nothing. This sweet war? Imagine American celebrities clamoring over the ever-so-tasteful NAIJA JOLLOF RICE! Three ‘gbosa’ for us jor!

Just recently, Aso’s wobbly rock came to the rescue of Nigerians, by stating that Nigerians can continue in the fight by holding the title “Nigerians cook the best Jollof rice in West Africa.” At least, this gave us hope that we are still title holders. I mean, who wouldn’t want to defend its own in the face of ‘best food’ chaos? For goodness sake, Jollof rice is a state of mind of the Nigerian majority. Everyone holds it to high esteem. Overlooking the garnishing of this dish and spelling the word with a small letter ‘j’ is a slap on the faces of a million and more Jollofists at home and in the diaspora. No Naija Jollof rice enthusiast will take this lightly (Ghanaians, take note. We are not smiling).

So, for everyone who had serious migraine after a truthful Lai-Lie almost ended this war, may you find budding reasons why you should keep defending your own, and keep fighting this war until the opponent bows out, hoisting the Jollofist white flag of peace. This is our ‘Jollofist Anthem’

I pledge to JOLLOF my best food

To be FAITHFUL, LOYAL and HONEST

To serve it HOT with all my heart

To DEFEND her uniting integrity

And UPHOLD her HONOR and TASTY GLORY

SO HELP ME GOD (to not LAI!)

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme (Neofloetry)

6/5/2017

Photo credit: dooneyskitchen.com

NIGERIANS AND THE CELEBRITY WEDDING BUZZER

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NIGERIANS AND THE CELEBRITY WEDDING BUZZER

Who says buzzers are not very efficient when it is highly needed? For me, it is one of the most important tools for anyone who’s aiming to get to the top for all the right reasons. When any celebrity does something, there is a buzzer for their achieved feat, either in the movie or music industries, etc, then, just trust the rest to my fellow concerned Nigerians to help punch the red button. We can do all things you know *wink* Buzzer can do you good or create definite harm to your personality, so watch it. I love attention. Who doesn’t?

So, yesterday, May 3, 2017, was a rather chilly day. Everyone in our dear Pitakwa (Port Harcourt City) woke up squinting at the already dark clouds that replaced their duvets. The wind huffed and puffed like an angry Bull ready to hit target, then minutes later, it started to rain heavily. I laid in bed for all I cared, but that wasn’t all I was getting my day ready for. Instagram gave me a signal from my mobile phone, and so did facebook. I did come across someone’s post talking about “…My life is now like a movie.” That was pointer I didn’t ignore. I held on to it, then decided to selfishly start my day properly. Hours later my eyes rammed themselves on the best news ever… [soft music playing] BANKY W and ADESUWA ETOMI ARE ENGAGED! Whhhhaaaaaaatttt!!!!!!! I quickly took to my Facebook page and aired my view after reading loads and loads of posts and comments from all my social media platforms. Here’s what I said

Some say it is fake news, others say the word “Marry” wasn’t spelt correctly, while many are still trying to gather more information on how true the Banky W and Adesua’s engaement news is…” (How is it anyone’s business if Banky didn’t spell the word ‘Marry’ correctly? It might be that he was just trying to be romantically creative with the first alphabet of her name (‘A’ for Adesuwa), making it look creatively out of the norm. The love crooner had to put an ‘Ace’ to the word, biko. Afterall, they are two sweet souls. Go and argue with your keypads. I am a Poet, remember?) Lol.

(You will read the rest of my Facebook post below)

Now, as a typical Nigerian single, I decided to also mention the most important aspect of weddings, whether the couple know you or not. This is the part where you get to find out if you can lay hold of the asoebi material from someone who perhaps might know the couple (Na celebrity wedding be this o, not your neighbors’ sister’s wedding). I came across hilarious comments about this very aspect, and I heaved a sigh because I wasn’t the only one in this ‘wedding dress code syndrome’.  I went on to say, “I hope to start saving 1k from now till it’s time to buy asoebi for this epic wedding ceremony…” for goodness sake, who does that? (Us, uninvited Naija people), this is a big buzzer!

Anyway, so, this charming gentlemanly young man Banky W went on to propose to his friend of over two years in the month of February 2017, and none of us hungry fans heard about it till yesterday? Now, check the buzzer word ‘Friend’. How many relationships can bask in the euphoria of genuine friendship until the male sex decides to propose to the female sex, then go ahead to make it public after two years? Notice that neither Banky nor Adesua mentioned anything about the most overrated pre-nuptial word “Courtship”.  Could it be that they did it quietly or they just didn’t pay too much attention to that word? Well, this is not my headache, so there is no need to swallow their Panadol at this stage of bliss. This is an even bigger buzzer.

Most young people have been so smeared with the effect of getting hooked to Mister or Miss Right, so much that they lose their sense of reasoning (forgive my naivety. This is just my opinion). I am sure there is so much pressure out there for many who seek to calm their nerves down in the loving arms of their spouse after the entire wedding ceremony. Trust me, Naija Celebrities are the most gullible, especially when they think of their supposed ‘high-class weddings’. Most of them tend to look at theirs from the angle of “Knight sweeping Cinderella off her feet, then living happily ever after…)” Hogwash! The real world has the opposite pictures… [Drum roll] … ask the likes of the ‘Power-puff triple T’; Aunty Tonto, Tiwa, Toke, and now Mercy Aigbe-Gentry (I think they have the original version of a typical ‘Naija Celebrity Marriage’). As a child, I believed in fairytale weddings, especially after reading too many Lady Bird storybooks (will you blame me?), now I am an adult, I must put away childish things and reason like a sane adult.

Currently, in this day of high tension technology, my very able and very vibrant Naija social media freaks will never let such weddings get a proper breather. First, they will hear of the news, get excited for a few minutes, go back, think about the persons involved, then come up with their own version; some still excited and others just plainly hating. Smh, is it your wedding?

Need I say more, before I ramble out what I am not supposed to. I respect this love story so much that it inspires me a lot. Imagine their closest buddies holding onto that secret for two years (Lynxx finally got a relieved… Phew! I wonder how many loyal friends can keep these kinds of secrets.) Something tells me these two are bound to last forever (No be say challenges no go dey o, but God na their strength).

Hearing and reading this news just feels like my mouth is filled with yummy caramel and creamy chocolate (too much sweetness).

Let the original Wedding Party 2 begin already! This is the biggest buzzer. I await Nigerians and their ever-so-hilarious comments and drama on social media…

😍😍😍😍

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme

4/5/2017

…Of female celebrities and fans’ comparisons

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…Of female celebrities and fans’ comparisons

We are in a world where everything is tilting towards the edge of destruction; a point where all forms of ‘negative’ gradually take the center-stage, and suddenly announces its landslide annoying actions. We are in that place of ‘Man against man’ or in this write-up, fans against fans of female celebrities.

Female celebrities have always been the perfect picture of their shrieking fans, despite their obvious flaws, and have in their own way of ‘making it’ caused these fans to overreact when someone doesn’t quite agree with what they see and love about their favorite female celebrity. It is on this and many more basis upon which anti-fanism or celebrity comparisons erupt from or is built upon.

A few weeks back, on Instagram, I came across a post where Nollywood actress Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde lashed out on why there shouldn’t be a reason to compare female celebrities and push them out there for fans or non-fans to choose. She made it known and clear that this might or is a form of sparking up uncalled for hatred (not her exact words). Her raised alarm can also be likened to when we come across article headlines like ‘Who is the most beautiful with their makeover’, ‘Who is the curviest female Nollywood celebrity; Omotola or Mercy Johnson?’, ‘Who is this or who is that?’, ‘Who is the most talented and sexiest female in the music industry?’, ‘10 female celebs who killed it with their banging hairstyle.’, ‘Top female celebrities whose skin color is brighter than hologen lamps… ask Bobrisky!‘. With these kinds of questions, there is bound to be a show of ‘Fan war’. We are in a small space where everyone is shoving their views and opinions in our faces, and we a no longer unconsciously buying the idea, but we are wide-eyed and consciously swallowing the large red pills.

Fans constantly, on a daily basis try to shove down their favorite celebrities quality and attributes down the throats of non-fans, and this is escalated by the help of the mother of world-wide information…[Dramatic music plays in the background]… the almighty Social Media! I mean what happened to the days of “This is my opinion, just allow me to cruise in it?” Take for example, the constant barraging of insults and bickering from fans during the just concluded Big Brother Naija show. Imagine what the female housemates went through and how anti-fanism came full-fledged to play in that circus of obscene tongue lashing on all social media platforms. There was a time when I got a shrapnel of the fight that almost cut short an almost six months old friendship. Smh.

As a thespian and poet, I see daily that one cannot claim that they have ‘fully arrived’ without an audience judging you based on your professional abilities or performances onstage or offstage. I remember being enlightened in a course in the University- Sociology of Drama, that says we cannot force our beliefs, likes or dislikes on someone just because that is what we are used to, and a norm for us. We were made to strongly learn to accommodate each other since we are all from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, tribes and social class, but it seems to me the public/fans hardly draw their minds to ascertain these kinds of sensitive comparisons. For example, I cannot compare myself with my two best friends (B and O), because I have concluded that we simply complement each other’s creativity, skill, talent, looks and attitudes, etc. For a minute, just imagine what then will happen when we eventually become world class, and one of the most sort after talented individuals in the Nollywood, Literary or Beauty world, just imagine the uncomfortable positions fans will put themselves in and end up breeding anti-fans… Hmmmm, comparisons will become the other of the day.

In a society like ours, or maybe around the world, results have shown that both male and female celebrities are likely subjected to the brashness of the anti-fanism plague, however it is prevalent that female celebrities get one hundred percent of the most lash out from those who don’t like them. Most times, these fans or anti-fans quickly hinge their facts on the looks or attitude of their best or least favorite celebrities (E.g. Gifty and T-Boss of the BBN show), not minding the flaws of that individual.

Sometimes I ask this rhetorical question “How did we get into this mess?” Fan culture is synonymous to ‘vox populi’, a position where the voice of the people becomes stronger and eventually cause a general good or possible bad. Until every individual who has a favorite celebrity out there begin to appreciate and not fight others with their rough edges, there will be constant chaos banging on the walls of the world-wide web without remorse.

My advice is, we should all learn to appreciate others and tame our wild tongues or QWERTY itchy fingers, so as to avoid undue social media fights or wars because of unavoidable celebrity comparisons.

 

Yours Truly

Edwina Amakievi Aleme (Neofloetry)

3/5/2017

 

Photo credit: Stargist Online Mag.

About winning an International Poetry Prize

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About winning an International Poetry Prize

A tad bit about the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2017 and the fear of winning a poetry competition.

As a Poet who loves to read and know about what is happening in the world of poetry, it is my pleasure to announce to us that Poetry pays! We are in a society where most people have this inate belief that nothing good is in writing or performing poetry. Because of this, a lot of young writers have subjected themselves into permanent or temporary hiding of their creative writing abilities. One thing i know is that if you are consistent and serious with your career path in ‘Poetry and Creative writing’, you will surely get to a place of recognition, where Poetry will actually begin to pay you.

For many of us, poetry seems to be something we just like to do whenever we are bored or as a hobby, and for others, their lives solely depend on their writing skills, but my deepest concern is “How do you hope to achieve more than just allowing the pages of your blank sheets feel the warmth of your pen?” This is one question all emerging creative writing poets should seriously ask themselves.

So, a few months back, I stumble across the Brunel International Poetry Prize 2017, after searching online for possible International Poetry competitions to enter for. I read the terms, conditions and everything required for entering this type of highly anticipated feat, then surprising myself, i slowly slipped into a ‘brain freeze’. I wasn’t so sure I was qualified for this competition. I knew I have been secretly practicing my creative writing side of poetry, but it seemed to me I am not ‘quite’ ready for this, then I opened another web page, and my thought about the search for others poetry competitions melted and trickled out of my unfrozen mind. I was scared!

Now, the highly-anticipated Brunel International Poetry Prize is a competition that is set to showcase new African voices in Poetry for each year. The first was in 2013, where UK raised, Kenyan born, poet and writer, Warsan Shire won the competition, after been among the six shortlisted from the 665 entries. This opened a vista of opportunities for her, of which she was later named ‘London Young Poet laureate’, and featured in American singer, Beyoncé’s song Lemonade and other projects. Warsan is known for her creatively simplistic way of writing her poems as touching areas of cultural displacements, war, issues refugee immigrants face, etc. she is the author of several works, especially the popular one; Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye, 2011). This type of competition is now highly anticipated.

Five years down the line, fast-forward to 2017, another Nigerian clinches the £3,000 grand prize, after Gbenga Adesina and Chekwube O. Danladi won this same prize in 2016.  From the 1,200 entries, he is the third Nigerian amongst the ten shortlisted for the competition (see http://www.africanpoetryprize.org/press-release-shortlist-2016). Romeo Oriogun is a new and emerging voice, and a writer who writes passionately about the most unlikely themes, which cut across sexuality, masculinity in a country where LGBTQ rights are far-fetched. Romeo is an Ilesha born Nigerian, a very free-spirited young man, and the author of an online (see http://www.praxismagonline.com/) published chapbook collection of poems- Burnt Men. His writing ‘creatively’ has remained relevant in his day. Romeo may have had similar thoughts as mine when he started his poetry journey, and may have also had to open new webpages just to unfreeze his mind. But giving himself the go ahead and passion for his well-shaped thought, has brought him this glory.

How far you are willing to push yourself and your creativity out there matters a lot, and is what will announce you in the future. The fear of winning poetry competitions, especially International ones, should be in fact something to desire greatly and work towards. Like the best definition of the word F.E.A.R says, it is false evidence appearing real, so when you do not fix your gaze on the falseness of not winning, then will your works get noticed. Remain steadfast and aim at sending your works for Local, National or International poetry competitions. You’d be doing your dear self a world of good!

Go here for more info: http://montrealprize.com/competition/rules/ and http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/international-poetry-competition/

I wish the current winner of the Brunel International Poetry Prize 2017, all the best in the literary Wall of Fame. Keep winning.

Edwina Amakievi Aleme

2/05/2017.

 

Photo Credit: Emembiriodo Ugochukwu ‘Hitch’