The fourth season of Big Brother Naija, Pepper Dem, has barely stayed two weeks on our screens but there’s already enough talking points. The 21 housemates are good looking – especially the men – and fans were initially disgruntled that the show was sloshed with foreign accents, the lingering theory that housemates from the diaspora didn’t go for the auditions, and the lukewarm, slightly disastrous house party on Saturday night chaperoned by DJ Xclusive. Also, and tragically, two female housemates Isilomo and Avala were evicted from the show on Sunday for failing to rack up enough Bet9ja coins.
— Big Brother Naija (@BBNaija) July 7, 2019
The Bet9ja coins system is a new element introduced to the show, like the pairing system was for Double Wahala and although I don’t have an issue with it, I’m a little upset that it led to the elimination of Isilomo, who seemed like a strong, viable contender in the competition. After the season premiere, Isilomo settled into taking off her wig in a way that she became somewhat intimidating, looking ”mannish” and fans were quick to deride her appearance and exhibit homophobia when they assumed she was a man in the swimming pool, her upper body in between the legs of a male housemate.
Her time in the house was brief but promising, her mannerisms flexing in that dangerous, street-smart mystique. Other female housemates also have their qualities. Khafi and Tacha, from the little I have seen, are the beacons of feminism and injecting doses of woke culture into the house. Last week, Head of House Jeff decided to select an all-men team for the arena games. His reason? That masculine strength was needed for the task. Khafi called him out on his patriarchal nonsense and gave him an education on how ”masculine strength” has been used to subjugate women. What I’m worried about is that Khafi, especially, won’t get on the good side of Nigerians because Nigeria is still patriarchal and her feminist worldview might factor into how she gets evicted.
— Big Brother Naija (@BBNaija) July 8, 2019
Already, four female housemates – Tacha, Ella, Mercy, Kimoprah – are up for possible eviction this Sunday. Joining them, Sir Dee becomes the first male housemate to face elimination and while they would be banking on their respective fanbases to vote and keep them in the house, the chances that a female house would get evicted is dreadfully high. Till date, a woman has never won Big Brother Naija since the show made its debut in 2006 – Katung Aduwak emerged as winner in a season that had Ebuka Obi-Uchendu as a housemate. Efe Ejeba and Miracle Igbokwe won the competition in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The closest a woman had come to the top prize was in 2018’s Double Wahala where Cynthia Nwadiora (Cee-C) was announced as first runner-up. She was, essentially, the live-wire in the house, casually instigating chaos and destruction packaged as entertainment. Pepper Dem still has the potential for a woman to win but it’s also hard to predict how the season will turn out. It’s still early days and it’s going to be a really long ride.