Nigerian celebrities speak on sexism in music & Nollywood

NIGERIAN superstars have come forward about the sexism they have faced during their careers after multi-award winning singer Simi spearheaded the #NobodyLikeWoman trend on Instagram.

The platform has provided a safe space for stars, and other women, to share their experiences of discrimination.

They posted black-and-white photos of themselves, scrawled over with the words of their critics, like: “She’s a mother, she should stay at home”, “Why is she going out at night if she’s not a prostitute?” and “Why aren’t you married yet?”

Simi said she cried as she scrolled past one of the hash-tagged posts on her social media feed.

The 33-year-old singer also said she wanted to start the campaign so women would understand they were “not alone” in their struggles – it coincided with the release of her new song Woman.

However, the flood of women who jumped on the hashtag to share their experiences of sexism and discrimination both in their careers and personal lives was a surprise.

A photo of Simi with the words: “How can she ask for that kind of money, is she not pregnant?” painted on her back started it all rolling.

As a famous artist in Africa and beyond, Simi said it summed up the sexism she had faced within her own industry of Afro music.

At the start of her career music bosses – usually men – told her she had to be “sexy” and provocative to make it in her field.

“There were even people who did not want to work with women, because they thought they could not function after having children or getting married,” she said.

In one incident she recalled how someone questioned why she charged so much for concert tickets while she was pregnant.

Nollywood actress Chioma Omeruah famously known as Chigul joined the panel and said she has witnessed similar struggles and believes the problem is cultural.

“Our culture is not to speak out,” the 45-year-old star said.

Nigerian women’s rights lawyer and YouTube vlogger Sotonye Kelechi-Nwuzi says religion is often to blame.

In her opinion, Nigeran lawmakers tend to take into account how different faith communities will react to gender equality legislation.

Mrs Kelechi-Nwuzi, who is a Christian herself, says this is problematic.

“If there’s a way to separate secular society from religious and cultural society I feel like there will be some progress,” said.


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