HOW NIGERIA ABORTED ITS OWN KIM KARDASHIAN
Time wise, Nigeria is ahead of America by several hours. It celebrates Christmas before America; it sees a New Year before America. So, Nigeria ideally should be the future, a pacesetter. In reality however, Nigeria is the past, lagging behind most countries by over a century.
Had Nigeria ever been on a par with its time, it would have had a Kim Kardashian long before America had one. Yes, the truth is that a Kim K sprouted up there long before the American version even knew what she’d do with her life, but Nigeria squashed her in accordance with its never-changing ‘‘citizens-must-not-thrive’’ tradition.
I can almost feel you all itching to know how that happened. Hey! Chill! Learn to sip your Shiraz, don’t gulp it.
Some years back, a certain budding actress found miniature fame after taking part in Nigerian Breweries’ reality show, Gulder Ultimate Search. Anita Hogan! Her new starlet status meant she could only hobnob with the rich and powerful, so she let an older Dutchman waltz into her life. A top executive with Shell Petroleum Development Company, he wined and dined Anita, lavished her with pricey gifts and wads of crisp dollars, and taught her that she could use her laptop for other things aside from sending emails and downloading music.
So Anita did a shoot…in the nude! The provocative poses she struck would make the original Kim Kardashian look timid, if the photos should ever resurface. Next, her Dutchman joined in, equally naked, in what was as daring and dirty as the vodka in them could bolster. These shots were safely stored in her laptop. She was having fun. And she was ahead of her mates. Or so she thought.
Then one very mean day the laptop developed a fault. How dare this silly gadget do that to her? Didn’t it understand that it was the most important thing in her life? Next to her Dutchman, of course. How could she survive an entire day without Skyping with her man… naked… as usual? Damn!
In her desperation to have the laptop fixed, Anita completely forgot about the lewd photos when she took it to a nearby technician. A phone call was what reminded her. It was from the technician; he had discovered the images and wanted half a million naira from her or else…!
Anita called his bluff; she was too on top of her game to succumb to cheap broad daylight blackmail. What happened three days later made her wish she had negotiated with her blackmailer: her nude pictures were splashed on the cover of an evening newspaper, PM News! The technician had been paid a handsome sum for Anita’s private property.
It killed her to see her private part staring people in the face, desperately begging to be gawked at. She didn’t know it right then, but a lifelong ordeal had just begun for her. First, she became the talk of not only Lagos where the incident had happened but the entire country. Then she was stigmatised, on a larger scale than a leper would have been subjected to. The biggest blow, which swayed her so badly she fell into deep oblivion, was that the Actors Guild of Nigeria banned her from acting…for life!
Now let’s make a comparison here: Kim Kardashian made a sex tape with her then boyfriend, Ray Jay for their private perusal. It was leaked and went viral. Before she even realised what had happened, the incident landed her a television reality show which soon catapulted her family to worldwide fame. Then endorsement deals followed from which she amassed millions of dollars. Most importantly, her fame got her inducted into the hallowed fellowship of Tinsel Town movers and shakers where she formed both professional and romantic liaisons with stars. Today she is one of the most famous women in the world. Her mistake earned her a life most people can only dream of.
Down in Nigeria, Anita Hogan posed nude with her Dutch boyfriend for their private perusal. It was leaked and became the topic of the year. Before she even realised what had happened, she was bandied all over as a tart who should be sentenced to hell. Then the stakeholders of the Nigerian film industry came together and put the kibosh on her acting career, her only livelihood. Today, she continues to languish in the dark alleys of endless oblivion. And her marriage to the Dutchman has failed to earn her forgiveness from both the acting body she belonged to and her country. Her mistake made her an outcast and ruined her life forever.
Bearing this comparison in mind, I know am not alone when I wonder how anyone could ban someone over a leaked private nude photo shoot… in a profession where nudity transports people overnight to the A-list. Shouldn’t that sort of punishment be for nuns, public servants and the likes?
I know am not alone also when I imagine the contribution, no matter how little, that foreign deals would have made to the ever dwindling economy of Nigeria had Anita been allowed the fame and fortune that her contemporaries have reaped from her kind of mistake.
Wake up, Nigeria and stop aborting dreams and potential!
Keep a date next week. Oh… and for more of my cheeky writing, search amazon.co.uk for my novel, Red Passport, which is currently ‘Top 3 book’ on Kindle. A synopsis of the novel is available on this site as well. Just scroll up and click the ‘About’ icon.
Laura Tata Onuigbo xx
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