The Headies was quite the event, complete with celebrity meltdowns, shady moments, no-show A-listers and of course, category upsets. We’ve come to associate the Headies with the best kind of drama, the kind that is televised right into our living rooms, fuss-free and ready to be consumed. There is often so much happening at these events that it is easy to think that what you are doing will be overlooked. At least that was what Ebiye thought while he live snapchatted the proceedings from the Headies award ceremony. His updates were dismissive but largely uneventful until singer Aramide was announced as the winner of the ‘Best Alternative category’ for her song ‘Funmi Lowo’ in collaboration with Sound Sultan and Koker. As Aramide got on stage to accept her award, well deserved by the way considering the singer had first joined the industry in 2010 and had spent years building her craft towards this win, Ebiye from his vantage point, took a picture of her and published it with the caption.
She can’t believe it, she probably fucked for the award #Headies
It was a passing comment, deliberately meant as live commentary on award shows tend to be. It was supposed to be lost in the deluge of updates about the awards, however, Ebiye couldn’t have anticipated that gossip blog InstaBlog9ja would be watching and would catch him with his pants down.
The retribution was swift and merciless. Social media users across all platforms descended on the comedian, calling out his hypocrisy and misogyny. They even revealed that this isn’t the first time that Ebiye has resorted to misogyny to get a laugh from his fans, referencing his disgusting comments. But his comments also started other conversations; women from all disciplines spoke up about the misogyny they have to endure at work from colleagues and bosses who try to blackmail them to offer sex in exchange for advancement opportunities, colleagues (male and female) who attribute their success to transactional sex when that couldn’t be any further from the truth. They spoke on how demeaning and draining it is and empathised with Aramide, it was an important, eye-opening moment.
Every bit the millennial charlatan, Ebiye quickly released an Instagram apology, where he tried to pass his disgusting comment towards Aramide as a joke, and tried to quell the outrage against him with a tepid, platitude choked apology.
I made a distasteful joke about @aramidemusic last night at the headies. I am embarrassed by my comments and I am profusely sorry. Aramide is a hardworking artist who deserves every recognition she gets by merit. I sincerely apologize and pledge that such will not repeat itself again. I pledge to control my words in the future as things said and written cannot be taken back. ❤
In a manner of speaking it worked.
There were a whole contingent of Nigerians who tried to silence people condemning Ebiye, referencing his apology and asking what would come out of not accepting his apology. Their behaviour is understandable, considering the only difference between Ebiye and most of these people is that he got caught on social media and they do their misogyny under the cover of a beer parlour awning. They believe the things Ebiye said, even about themselves. But no, Ebiye’s apology is not enough, not even remotely. Ebiye’s misogyny runs deep, this is why his comedy skits skirt dangerously close to incel behaviour, always presenting himself as the victim of beautiful but petty and vindictive women who single him out for humiliation. Never mind in real life he is engaged to be married to one of those beautiful women. He was quick to make jokes about HIV victims and has been caught more than once glorifying rape in his routines. It is tired and we are over it, and him.
But Ebiye is only one head of a whole hydra of Instagram comedians whose entirely comedy routines revolve around demeaning women and glorifying rape culture, misogyny and violence. They are eager to wear women’s clothing and makeup, and portray older women as bitter and vindictive and younger women as petty and wicked. They love dressing in drags but never hesitate to shame effeminate men. They do not shine any lights on community, do not challenge us to investigate our long-held beliefs. They are simply here to reinforce misogyny and indulge their secret obsessions with women’s clothing. Expecting anything better of them is living in fallacy.
This is why I hope Aramide doesn’t accept his apology, and shows him the full extent of the law. If not anything, she will nail him on defamation. Perhaps punishing him will remind him that there are boundaries in comedy, as in any craft, and there are consequences.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.