‘Sex indeed sells’ and Nigerian celebrities are tapping in the old quote to keep up with relevancy in the entertainment industry, Nollywood especially.
There is a popular African proverb which states that ‘not all men who walk in the street naked are crazy.’ It seems some Nigerian celebrities have literally adopted this proverb to either sell their products or increase their social media fan base. Here we focus our searchlight on some of these celebrities who have taken to nudity in order to either promote their goods and services or increase their social media followers.
Despite being an On-Air Personality tasked with the job of sharing information to the public, Toke Makinwa has somehow always found a way to become a newsmaker. At first, she made headlines with a brief ‘beef’ she had with popular blogger, Linda Ikeji. Shortly after, the OAP began to garner a fan base courtesy of her YouTube vlogs which bordered on relationship advice. However, she began to make headlines in reputable media platforms when her union with Ayida Maje hit the rocks barely after three years even though they had been in an amorous relationship for about a decade. Shortly after, Toke Makinwa, went ahead to publish a tell-all book about her marriage. Once again, this put her in the public glare.
Ever since then, the OAP-turned-author had been in the public glare and discourse among a few. However, it came as a rude shock to many of her fans and followers when on August 9, 2018, a nude picture of the ‘public’ figure surfaced online to promote one of her numerous businesses. While a few felt her advertisement approach was in line with the ‘21st century’ way of marketing products, many others felt it was not only ‘Un-African’ but also another way the youths are being led astray by celebrities. For days, she became the topic of social debates on some radio stations and television programmes.
While likes of Instagram user, Kemgush_collections affirmed that it was a good move and the OAP is still her role model with the comment, “Now haters can rest with the nude pictures, I swear you are my role model.” And Wilfred_cyndy wrote, “You should be called KING TOKE you deserve it,” others had nothing but knocks for Makinwa over her gestures and openly aired their opinions. Instagram user, ID minky_kn was so puzzled by the picture that he simply asked, “So you mean the photographer that snapped this picture saw your nakedness just like that?”
The Instagram user with the handle, iam-kosiboss, couldn’t hide her feeling as she aired her opinion on the Vlogger’s comment section. She posted, “You are a big disgrace to womanhood. Can I say something; you lost your dignity the very day you posted a full nude picture of yourself online. I honestly don’t know what you were thinking. You know before now, you were a role model to some people, but now I can say you have disappointed majority of them.”
For the Instagram user, Yimsy_001, the OAP could have found another alternative means of promoting her product other than a nude picture. She wrote, “Madam you can still advertise your skin care products without going naked. For heaven’s sake, where is your dignity as a woman? I wonder why so much desperation just to trend. Going naked for the whole world to see, just to achieve what exactly; it’s your life and business but this is absolute trash.”
With over 40,000 subscribers on her YouTube page, some of her devoted fans revealed how disappointed they felt when they saw her nude picture. For instance, Deola Alade, one of her subscribers and an undergraduate while speaking with Saturday Beats, subtly expressed her displeasure about the picture, “I really love Toke Makinwa because I have learnt a lot from her Vlogs but I was shocked when she shared a nude picture of herself because she is someone I look up to,” Alade said.
Prior to Toke Makinwa’s internet backlash, a popular actress, Moyo Lawal, was also placed on the hot seat when she released a ‘semi’ nude picture of herself to promote a brand of cosmetics. While some online users argued that it was a nude picture, the actress has since claimed that she was artistically covered but the picture seems like a nude one.
In her defence, she wrote, “I was not nude, you all need to chill especially the hypocrites that I see in bikinis all the time. Here are the facts! I was not nude, neither can you see anything apart from cleavage which you will probably still see from me. Also, of course, I was terrified, have you ever tried to create a nude illusion picture? I was almost peeing in my pants and trying my best to still make the picture look believable. My body is 100 per cent natural, how on earth do you compare a natural body to a surgically enhanced body? I was not nude as you can obviously see in the picture above, I make bold to say, I see literally naked bodies on social media every other day either in a lingerie or beach or pool or bathroom shoot. I need to point out the obvious that I have seen literally every female in bikini (the ones with the bodies for it). You have never seen me in a bikini, which means you have actually never even seen me as undressed as most females you have seen on social media. As for me liking attention, I laugh in Spanish, I am off social media more than I am on it ….am indoors more than am outdoors. So what were we saying about attention again …like I log out of social media completely!”
While some of her fans gave into her explanation, others did not buy it neither did they mince their words on her social media page. A social media user, blackytope, who described herself as a diehard fan of the actress, pointed out that she was ashamed of the actress for posting such a picture on the internet. The Instagram user posted, “I’m ashamed of u, u disappointed me cos I don’t expect this from u Moyo Lawal, I’m ur die hard fan, can’t just believe this, tell me is a stunt.” (sic).
While blackytope expressed that she was ashamed of the actress, Instagram user, bestbiodun, was so perplexed he called on anyone to shed some light on the picture with the post, “Can someone explain the brains behind her nudity?”
ebenezer_obiakor simply made it known that the actress was laying a bad precedence for the younger ones with the Instagram post, “Everything about you in this pic is shame. Woe onto you daughter of Jezebel if you don’t want to repent you are going to hell fire. Which message is she passing across to the young ones coming up ask your self this question friends.” (sic).
Similarly, singer, Maheeda seems to have built a brand for herself on the social media for posting raunchy pictures of herself. She told Saturday Beats in an interview that her daughter doesn’t like her posting raunchy videos and pictures.
She said, “I don’t think my daughter likes some of the pictures I post online because sometimes when she sees me do it, she says it is disgusting. I don’t know if she is just being a teenager or she does not like it but she never complains about it. One of the reasons why I struggled to take her out of the country is that I want her to have a different mindset about sex and life in general. So, she would have a different mentality when it comes to sexuality than the average Nigerian. The way an average Nigerian would reason about sex is different from the way my daughter would see it. In the Netherlands, they use nudity a lot for their advertisements. For example, they could do an advert about milk and they would use a semi-nude model and show as she pours the milk on her body. In Nigeria, it is not allowed, it would be banned. That is why I decided to take her abroad. She would be 18 years old next year and she would be free to live on her own, so I am almost done in that area. She would be on a level where she could be on her own.”
Male celebrities are also not left out in the practice of posting nude or semi-nude pictures on the social media to ‘flaunt’ what they have. Musicians like Flavour and Brymo have posted these kinds of pictures to promote their songs.
Flavour, whose real name Chinedu Okoli, is known for his hit song ‘Nwa baby’ has a picture of himself unclad, using a guitar to cover his private area. The singer, who is popular for his exceptional dance moves, usually takes pictures in a way that reveals his endowed body. Also, songwriter and singer who started music in 1999 while in secondary school, Brymo released a new song this year titled ‘Heya.’
Shortly after the singer, released the visuals for the song, the internet went agog simply because of his semi-nude appearance.
In an interview with THE Punch, the singer gave reasons for the visuals, stating, “The song is an expression of my environment. I like to paint as much as I can and I think that most of us are bush people, even though we live in cities. The video portrayed a bushman living in the city. If you look around, you wouldn’t see much evidence of civilisation. We did not create most of the things that we use in this country and that’s not good,” he said.
The singer also reacted to claims that his nudity in the video was a publicity stunt; he said “Even if it is a publicity stunt, is there anything wrong with that? Singers spend a lot of time and energy in the studio. So is there anything absurd in drawing some attention to their songs?”
The backlash and comments were not restricted to online platforms as Mrs Adaeze Ntagu, a mother of three girls, was obliged to give her two cents on the recent trend. She told Saturday Beats, “I find it totally wrong for a person of influence to go unclad on social media; it is not a good legacy for the youths of this generation to follow.”
Dr. Bonke Omoteso, a psychologist, told Saturday Beats that it is not acceptable for celebrities to go nude regardless of the circumstances because children looked up to them.
She said, “It is not a norm to go nude in our society; it’s unacceptable. Such things have psychological implications on the youths because if they want to imitate these celebrities they look up to, they may get themselves into trouble which may lead to depression; which is a psychological construct that may eventually lead to fear and anxiety.”
However, she added that most of the time, celebrities that take unclad photos only do it for showbiz, but the youths who don’t have good home training and the fear of God may still want to look like them.
Pastor Rotimi Akintan stated that Christians should not be surprised because the Bible already predicted these things.
“I think we need to be alert because the end time is near. The Bible already said that in the last days, people will be going nude; so as Christians, we should not be surprised, instead, we should pray more.
“The fashion trend these days is really disturbing; I am afraid of the future of the youths in this generation; the church needs to educate the youths consistently and instruct them to stay away from these obscene fashion trends,” he added.