Nigerian celebrities Simi and Chigul expose sexism in music and Nollywood

Simi’s new tune Lady centres on the pressures Nigerian ladies face of their day by day lives

Nigerian celebrities have not too long ago opened up publicly in regards to the sexism they’ve confronted after multi-award successful singer Simi spearheaded the #NobodyLikeWoman development on Instagram.

It supplied a protected area for stars, and different ladies, to share their experiences of discrimination.

They tended to submit black-and-white pictures of themselves, scrawled over with the phrases of their critics, like: “She’s a mom, she ought to keep at house”, “Why is she going out at evening if she’s not a prostitute?” and “Why aren’t you married but?”

Simi instructed the BBC she cried as she scrolled previous one of many hash-tagged posts on her social media feed.

It was a few girl who had been mocked for having 4 Caesarean sections – when a child is delivered by making a surgical lower into the stomach and womb.

Folks questioned why she couldn’t give delivery naturally.

She mentioned the feedback have been harsh: “‘She’s not any good. Think about she can not even have your youngsters naturally. They needed to do C-section for her and she or he nonetheless misplaced one in all her youngsters.’ That’s so traumatising.”

The 33-year-old singer mentioned she needed to start out the marketing campaign so ladies would perceive they have been “not alone” of their struggles – it coincided with the discharge of her new tune Lady.

However the flood of girls who jumped on the hashtag to share their experiences of sexism and discrimination each of their careers and private lives was a shock.

A photograph of Simi with the phrases: “How can she ask for that form of cash, is she not pregnant?” painted on her again began all of it rolling.


As a well-known artist in Africa and past, Simi mentioned it summed up the sexism she had confronted inside her personal business of Afro music.

At first of her profession music bosses – often males – instructed her she needed to be “horny” and provocative to make it in her subject.

She ignored them.

When she made it huge anyway, they have been shocked.

There have been even individuals who didn’t need to work with ladies, as a result of they thought they might not operate after having youngsters or getting married, she mentioned.

In a single incident she recalled how somebody questioned why she charged a lot for live performance tickets whereas she was pregnant.

“It was in all probability an company,” she mentioned, when requested who the perpetrator was.

‘Sleep with me to develop into a star’

Nollywood actress Chioma Omeruah – famously often called Chigul – has witnessed comparable struggles and believes the issue is cultural.

“Our tradition is to not converse out,” the 45-year-old star instructed the BBC.

Photo of Chigul

Chigul has starred in prime Nollywood blockbusters like The Wedding ceremony Get together 2 and Chief Daddy

She took half in #NobodyLikeWoman with a photograph together with the caption: “My pal! Go and have a toddler.”

Chigul doesn’t have any youngsters, however that has not stopped mates and even trolls asking when she goes to have a child.


These near her could have meant nicely, but it surely nonetheless harm, she mentioned.

Throughout her profession, Chigul mentioned she has had numerous numbers of up-and-coming actresses open up to her about alleged sexual misbehaviour by highly effective male movie bosses.

A few of them have been instructed by the male administrators: “Come and sleep with me, I am going to make you a star. I can get you that half, that function” – which she says quantities to coercion.

One actress she is aware of who refused to interact in sexual relations with a male movie boss was reprimanded, she mentioned.

He referred to as her a “little one” with little understanding of “grownup” enterprise.

When requested what number of younger actresses had confided in her about sexual coercion, she mentioned it was “too many”.

The percentages have been stacked towards ladies – the vast majority of the time they turned the victims, she mentioned.

“It is simply wahala [trouble] on each stage,” she mentioned.

Each Chigul and Simi agree that the legal guidelines in Nigeria must be harder on those that discriminate towards or assault ladies.

According to UN Women, Nigeria has carried out 75% of legal guidelines wanted to advance gender equality – which the UN needs to realize worldwide by 2030.

However lower than half the measures wanted to observe the nation’s progress in direction of that purpose have been in place by final 12 months – for instance the gathering of standard statistics on issues just like the gender pay hole and bodily and sexual harassment.

Justifying abuse with the Bible

Nigerian ladies’s rights lawyer and YouTube vlogger Sotonye Thompson says faith is usually responsible.

In her opinion, Nigeran lawmakers are inclined to take note of how totally different religion communities will react to gender equality laws.

Mrs Thompson, who’s a Christian herself, says that is problematic.

“If there is a technique to separate secular society from spiritual and cultural society I really feel like there will likely be some progress,” she instructed the BBC.

Women protesting with fists in the air in front of the court where Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein attends a pretrial session - 10 January 2020

The “MeToo” motion went viral in 2017 and inspired individuals to share experiences of sexual harassment and assault

She additionally locations a few of the blame on the ft of the Nigerian police.

A lot of the circumstances Mrs Thompson covers as a part of her ladies’s rights work contain home violence, which the authorities don’t take significantly, she says.

“Usually occasions you will discover individuals quoting the Bible” in an try to justify a husband’s violence in direction of his spouse, she says.

#NobodyLikeWoman posts are typically tame in comparison with the #MeToo motion which swept the world a number of years in the past when ladies – particularly in Hollywood – began naming those that had allegedly sexually abused them.

Mrs Thompson says there could possibly be a #MeToo motion in Nigeria at some point, however it might require a lady to guide it who may face up to the vitriol and “backlash” that may include it.

Nonetheless, Simi believes the combat for girls’s rights in Africa can’t be in contrast with efforts within the West.

The scenario for girls in Africa is way worse due to what she describes as its patriarchal system: “It expects the girl to cower and to soak up oppression.”

Chigul agrees – on condition that she says Nigerian ladies are taught to “sweep issues underneath the rug”.

Extra on ladies’s rights in Nigeria:

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