By Babajide Michael Olusegun
This article is not an apologia on the trending tweets, reports and happenings between the famous pop star Tiwa Savage Balogun and husband Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Tee Billz. Rather, what the writer of this article intends to do is to deconstruct the minds of the society when it concerns celebrities and marriage. The names of the subjects of this article are deliberately written the way they are simply because the writer of this article believes there is still hope for the embittered couples and they should not play into the prejudices of the media. Hence, readers’ discretion is advised.
Photo Credits: Bella Naija; Pulse TV
Comments On How it all Started
I do not intend to go on an unnecessary historical tour around the life and times of Tiwa and Ibrahim but the plot of this story has to be reviewed. It is quite obvious that the family owes its popularity to the social media in all its ramifications. In the year 2013, Youtube had a whooping guest of about 200,000 viewers when fans and viewers stormed its virtual reception hall to witness the talk-of-the-town wedding of the popular Tiwa Savage. The world saw the expensive and broadcast wedding of a celebrity who was thorn between the worlds of meeting the demands of the media industry and of womanhood.
I must confess I had only known Tiwa Savage by name and not by face. Not until recently, I never knew she was the voice behind some of the songs I had listened to; and trust me, news about her stage performances interested me the most. I can still remember those boys in school spreading the gist of how a Tiwa Savage performed on stage without wearing pant. O yeah! That would be my first encounter with the name Tiwa Savage, the controversies that boost the celebrity’s life and profile.
The bibulous wedding didn’t last in my mind, not even Tee Billz’s viral tweets and posts would make any sense to my music-celebrity-uninterested person but yesterday, I was to see the face of Tiwa Savage and this time it would be an empathetic encounter—a face that looked cheated, bitter, disillusioned and remorseful. A face demystified of its celebrity mojo; a face asking the world to hear her story; a face begging for vindication on Pulse TV.
They are Humans before they became Celebrity Idols
Tell an average Nigerian that a celebrity especially from the entertainment industry is getting married and the next thing that comes to the person’s mind is: They will divorce eventually. Some may be kind enough to say: They will have issues. Other side attractions like, married to whom? Rich or poor? Nigerian or European? Where will the wedding take place? etc are likely thoughts that naturally flow into the mind. And of course, when you looks at the realities in the industry, you cannot but nurse these thoughts.
Or how will you explain the case of P-Square that was doing great until the twin artistes got married and it became news of fight and disagreement and not songs. As a matter of fact, the statistics or perhaps the media publicity of failed celebrity marriages outweighs the successful ones.
The life of a celebrity is a fragile life. It is Janus-faced because of its hybrid phase and face which are media and private. A celebrity will have to learn to balance these two important phases and faces and the society must also learn to relate with them based on these realities. Stereotypes or what can be called stock or company characterization can go a long way in defining a celebrity but wait, a celebrity is first a human before they rise to stardom.
Baba Suwe, Mr Latin, Ojopagogo, Opebe, Aluwe, Mr Bean, Mr Bones, Mama G are known stock characters which are stock characterization in the real sense. The most demystifying for me is when an Ojopagogo transforms from that popularly trembling old man to a young and agile man or to a Baba Suwe who on-screen is charcoal black but behind the camera is a light complexioned man. This stock characterization is an important factor that makes an artiste get to the state of being famous: the celebrity figure.
Moreover, the way the media portray the celebrities and how they dispose themselves to be used by the media in their state of popularity go a long way in defining their life behind the camera. But obviously, in today’s world, a celebrity is still in the state of a celebrity insofar there are still in the paparazzi, spotlights, blogs, and online magazines and in the social media to sustain it. Being trendy, fashionable and prolific add to the celebrity’s makeup, no wonder ALI BABA’S lamentation of the celebrity’s predicament when speaking at THE PLATFORM, ABUJA’s event yesterday.
Tiwa and Husband Digitalized their Marriage
I must say a celebrity can choose to control the eyes and lenses of the camera; camera here is metaphorical to mean the entirety of the media, whether print or virtual. Wedding and Marriage should be clearly distinguished and this discredits what Tee Billz and Tiwa did the moment they took to the media to digitalize their marriage. A wedding can be digitalized because that is what it has been made to be especially in the case of celebrities but marriage should not be digitalized. What happens after the wedding is marriage. We all saw the ceremony and fun fair of the marriage ceremony, the wedding; but we should not be made to witness with them the rots and challenges after the wedding.
Marriage comes with responsibilities, sacrifices, tolerance, maturity and tact. I do not agree that a celebrity’s life must start and end on social media but that is the direction to which it has headed with the inventions of Tweeter, YouTube, Instagram and so forth. These social media should be used with discretion and discipline by anyone and everyone. It looks so odd and appalling if every married person begins to tweet everything that happens at home and in their marriage. If there are issues, there are better ways of expressing and resolving them other than by going public.
While both parties may be to blame for the damage they have done to their marriage, even as celebrities, we expect some level of decorum and moral responsibility. Both husband and wife, though celebrities, must reflect on the norms of social engagement which they ratified when man was seeking woman’s hand in marriage and not just any marriage but an African Yoruba marriage full of culture and religion. It would be better they both followed the procedure of reconciliation set by this culture and get their family back on track and stop amusing the media.
It is the writer’s hope that no matter the damage done Tee Billz nor Tiwa Savage would not be divorced on social media. The writer believes that both Tiwa and Tee can make things work; even celebrities can brave the storms of marriage since they are human beings first, before they are celebrities. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
—BABAJIDE MICHAEL OLUSEGUN