On Africa Magic’s Hustle, a number of people have made their mark in Mama Sekinat’s rented house. The last episode was a study in relationship frauds, wherein Acid became the victim and was swindled by his geriatric Nigerian girlfriend from Alabama. The latest instalment of the show runs with the “Small Girl Big God” catchphrase as a theme, sloganeered from our society’s fixation on women and what they do with their bodies. It is slut-shaming fuelled by misogyny, against prosperous sex workers and against women who are quietly financially empowered.
The evolution of “Small Girl Big God,” beyond its rampant usage on social media, has been touched by a feminist reclamation, now broadly used by women to indicate their individual success, achievement, progress without any relationship with sex work. On Hustle, Crystal is the new neighbour and she arrives with flashing financial independence, stunning Acid and Ochuko into mild bewilderment. For some reason, Dayo isn’t featured on this episode and it’s noteworthy that everyone calls Crystal as “Cry-stahh.”
She is also attractive, and of course, she becomes something that Acid and Ochuko should own. Their attempts to woo her at separate times horribly fails. They are no match for her, she reminds them. This is not to say that she’s generally rude. She brought home a dress for Sekinat and, one time, a necklace for Mama Sekinat in a small lovely gift box. Her acts of kindness and generosity poison the minds of Ochuko and Acid that they become envious of her, attributing the source of her wealth to prostitution. And this is exactly the truth. But Hustle has its own internal problem, an entrenched misogyny that demonises Crystal as evidenced by the episode’s lazy, hamfisted writing.
Through intel from Acid and Ochuko, Mama Sekinat learns that Crystal intends to “indoctrinate” Sekinat into her “business.” A date meeting between Sekinat and a prospective male client is thwarted and Sekinat is rebuked by her mother. And this is transferred on Crystal, who is kicked out of the house and all for what? Because she is a sex worker?
This treatment is only just a reflection of how society sees sex workers and women in general. Perhaps the episode would have been subversive if a different batch of writers were assembled, because “Small Girl Big God” shouldn’t be used as a bias against women in today’s world.