by Eromo Egbejule
Slander, as experts know, should not be replied half the time especially outside the guarded platform of an interview where the celebrity in question is most likely unprepared. Rumours, like young seedlings, will grow if watered and given unfettered access to the requisite nutrients.
The Nigerian entertainment industry has witnessed some running feuds between old and young acts intermittently; the in-form and has-beens; critics and celebs; groupies and rival fans; friends and foes. A few – like the Godwon vs Sinzu beef – degenerate into unhealthy squabbles but the usual outcome is for the riffs to fizzle out easily like fireworks quenched noisily in a body of water and for everyone to move on to other matters.
Not a few of these heated exchanges which in present times are fuelled by the proximity of social media on every device and the inability to thoroughly think first before instagramming or tweeting thinly-veiled shots, are unavoidable. The incidence of a double barrage being fired at (former?) soft rock act and on-air presenter, Etcetera by the latest celebrity couple in town, Tiwa Balogun nee Savage and her beau, TeeBillz for throwing subliminals at them in his badly-written column for a popular national daily, falls into that exact category.
Due honour must be given to whoever is deserving of it. TeeBillz has for the better part of his career, been working away – slaving maybe – to better the lives and careers of a myriad of performers, with Tiwa and the rapper Sinzu the most high-profile of his products. If in the line of doing that, he has made a couple of mistakes that includes a failed marriage and wants to put his house in order and spend his life with a woman he loves and is simultaneously making revenue from, whose business is it?
However, in responding to Etcetera’s barbs, he has instead of protecting his honour, unwittingly pawned it out for more attention. In tweeting about his estranged sister-in-law, Lola Omotayo a fortnight ago, Jude Okoye also did the exact opposite of what he intended to do – reinforced the belief of doubting Thomases and grieving fans that she was the primary reason for the latent split between his superstar siblings.
Slander, as experts know, should not be replied half the time especially outside the guarded platform of an interview where the celebrity in question is most likely unprepared. Rumours, like young seedlings, will grow if watered and given unfettered access to the requisite nutrients. Fans will most likely see a celebrity’s spouse as an interloper or gold-digger or both. Rather than reply and flame a rumour, it is advisable to fill the vacuum with some other news and distract public attention. Pharrell Williams responded to the flak he got for using non-coloured girls on the album art for his latest album, GIRL with a statement on The Breakfast Show and in which he properly pointed out the inconsistencies in critics’ arguments, rather than blindly ridiculing ‘haters’ as his Nigerian counterparts are wont to do.
Lesser successful artistes tend to treat their more fortunate colleagues with more commercial appeal and bank worth like mere asterisks. It is an everyday occurrence. As an unspoken rule, schadenfreude is almost never out of stock in any creative economy. One cannot live one’s life worrying about – and giving hasty retorts every time there is deconstructive criticism.
It is for situations like this that entertainers hire publicists, not merely for the sole purpose of emailing out hurriedly-drafted, error-stricken press releases about new songs only. Celebrities need to shut up and let their publicists earn their credit alerts. One is willing to bet, that there is as always, no damage control strategy in place by the PR team of 323 Entertainment to contain the negative attention this episode is accruing. It is remiss of her official representatives to not be the ones issuing replies for the press to jump on.
Whether Tiwa Savage’s marriage is dead on arrival or not is no one’s business – not Etcetera’s in the least. Second-hand husbands are still husbands and she and her fellow celebrities owe no one any explanation for their choice of partner.
For the Baloguns, stick to making good music for the fans, draw the blinds, turn off your TV sets, make breathtaking love with each other and live happily ever after as much as possible in this jungle while your team deals with your stress. Life is too short to personally reply every Tom, Dick, Harry etcetera ectera…
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.