I was in Addis Ababa waiting for my connecting flight from Dubai to Nigeria with a whole bunch of disgruntled Nigerians when my hubby nudged me. He had spotted a prominent Nigerian celebrity and I followed his gaze, smiled and that was it. I didn’t walk up to the dude who surprisingly was traveling alone, to ask for his autograph or ask to take a picture with him. I looked around and all the Nigerians save for one woman who looked on the prowl all seemed unconcerned. Guess it’s our naija mentality. My friend calls it ‘agidi’ ! She says that she also is a celeb and she can’t be going crazy over a celeb whose bodyguard is gonna bounce her or who will give her ‘ela’ the moment she ventures close. It is common to hear a person say I was at so, so and so’s party and guess who was there? But really that’s where it ends. I once read somewhere that Nigerians do this because they don’t appreciate their celebrities. I personally do not consider it a matter of appreciation.
When I was younger, my siblings and I had pics we took with D’banj and Don Jazzy and I liked to look at the pics a lot, it made me feel supercool. Not that they’d remember me anyway but I guess you are supposed to wanna have keepsakes of you and your favorite celebs but how do you spot a friendly celeb? Most of them have unsmiling body guards that look like the incredible hulk, others seem to have anthropophobia (fear of people) whatever the case may be, many Nigerians would rather beat these celebs to the snobbery game and instead adore the celebs they love privately via social media or at a concert. Even on social media it’s common to see adoring fans begging and begging and BEGGING to get a follow back from a celebrity either on Twitter or Instagram and I wonder if I feel sorry for them because I’m immune to getting star struck which isn’t entirely true since there are some hot, six-packed exceptions tucked away in my me-time space or because I would never want to be mistaken for a groupie (ugh!).
I shared a couple of laughs on several occasions while watching Big brother the chase. One of the chasemates loved name dropping. She’d mention a different celeb every 15 minutes and talk about how she hung out with them or didn’t save their numbers because she didn’t want her friends stealing it from her phone. For some, knowing a celebrity or even pretending to know one makes them important by association. Knew some girls in school who went as far as striving to know some of the male celebs the way Adam knew Eve and they’d boast about their escapades and wear them with pride. I guess their mantra was if you are gonna eat a frog, eat one that has eggs. So if they were gonna put out, better a glamorous celeb than an odor-ful man with no money and plenty ego.
Since social media took over the world, a new breed of celebrities have been on the rise. Twitter gurus with smart ass mouths and thousands of followers, Instagram models with 4800 likes per picture (photoshopped or not), new age bloggers with stories that demand attention, YouTube celebs with crazy videos, the list is endless. I like to call it the virtual makeover. In real life there you are, your very own Clark Kent, boring job and glasses to match and before I can say voila, you are superman. The virtual celebrity who can make or break. It may not put money in your pocket but it feels damn good. You feel significant. You are king of la la land with loyal followers and an opinion. You are somebody, heck you can be anybody.
I was at icecream factory one day with my girl R when we spotted a social media celeb. Contrary to his well angled pics and his raunchy memoirs, he was a short, big headed not striking, run off the mill naija boy. Being single at the time and having spent hours drooling over the pages of his blog imagining him to be tall, dark and incredibly handsome not to mention very sensual, it was a very rude shock. We ended up spending the whole time debating whether he actually did the stuff in his memoirs since we couldn’t imagine him being able to land a hot chick or any chick for that matter or whether all was plain fiction. We ended up agreeing that it was a fiction blog.
So basically when a Nigerian sees a celebrity, one of three things happen:
1. The Gushing: Oh I love you, your song is the greatest. Anything for your boys. I know the lyrics by heart (proceeds to sing loudly off tune)- I wanna be a singer just like you. Let’s take a pic together. Can I call you. Are you single. Can we hook up. He definitely wants me 😉
2. The Silence: I sat down beside a celeb today. Wow great, did you say hi? Nope I just pretended like I didn’t know him it’s not like he will dash me money abeggy. I sat down beside a celeb today. Wow great, did you say hi? I just nodded at him and smiled, I don’t want anyone to start feeling fly for me abeg. I sat down beside a celeb today. Wow great, did you say hi? Nope I was too shy so I looked away, the next minute my phone started ringing. I almost died cos his song is my ringtone.
3. The Opportunity: Hey boss, love what you are doing. Have you heard my single too? Oh you didn’t know I was a singer too? Oh I am oh. Very popular in Ghana and Benin republic, trying to break out on the Lagos scene, maybe we can do a collabo soon #plentystory
I am no where near a celeb but I do love it when people tell me how much they love my writing or are inspired by it and those who do have a special place in my heart so even though as Nigerians we are a tad wary of some of our celebrities and their kinks, we must remember that if someone makes us feel good they oughta be told. Don’t hold back chutzpah fam just makesure you don’t come off looking like a mugger or crazy stalker and if you get snobbed or restrained by an unsmiling body guard take it in good faith. Anthropophobia is a serious illness, you really should feel pity for the celebs stricken with the disease and not hate on them 😉 and while you are at it appreciate the undercover celebs around you- Your parents, your siblings, your spouse, that special friend- People who make your feelings their priority. These are the celebs whose pictures adorn our walls and hearts and we ought to tell them! ♥
Have a great day chutzpah fam. Xoxox 😉