Does my sexiness upset you?
– Maya Angelou (Still I Rise, 1978).
Have you as a woman, man or gender fluid being ever been offended by the confidence of another being in his or her own steaminess or how they embrace their sexuality?
Seriously, let’s talk about this. I was catching up on Nigerian music news and reviews when I came across a review of Tiwa Savage’s new ‘Sugarcane’ music video. In a piece titled ‘Tiwa Savage – Sugarcane: Please Tone The S3xy Down’, the author advices that the Nigerian singer tones down her sensuality.
He/She suggests that the part of the singer’s other identity, which includes being a woman and having a child, are reasons for her to refrain from using “a lot of lust to sell this video”.
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
– Maya Angelou (1978).
In the colour popping video directed by Meji Alabi for JM Films, the singer interprets the visuals for the song off her “Sugar Cane” EP with sweet substances including dance, gummy bears, swirl lollipops, sprinkles, honey, trendy street wear fashion style, and one handsome bobo.
“Something wey sweet pass Sugarcane”
Tiwa Savage is a sexy woman – deal with it. As writers we need to be careful in critiquing the work and expression of others. What the writer of the review failed to realise is that asking the Mavin Records artiste to tone down on “this s3xiness of a thing” is indeed a form of oppression.
As Nigerians and Africans, we sometimes find it hard to recognize that women are individuals too. As I furiously aired my thoughts out loud as to why another being would ask a woman to tone down on her sexiness, my colleague explained to me it’s a case of attached identities and “Women are never their own beings”.
Our other identities (as mother, wife, daughter, sister and girlfriend) sometimes come before our own personal individuality. Hence why when certain things happen in a woman’s private life, in her career or even public demeanour she is quick to be reminded by others that she is somebody’s wife, mother or daughter and never her own person.
You should never ask someone to moderate their creativity/art/expression just because of their attached identities or simply because it makes you uncomfortable.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard
– Maya Angelou (1978).
Right from the start of her career, Tiwa Savage has always shown us who she is – a confident, creative, daring soul. For the record I have no relationship with her – I have only as a journo watched her perform several times, listened to her music, written stories about her music, career and of course her personal life during the most trying period of a very private moment of her life.
“You think coz I’m pretty I’m dum dum
See your mouth sweet like tom tom”
– Tiwa Savage (2010)
Quick history lesson
In 2010, the singer appeared in the Nigerian music scene with her debut single titled ‘Kele Kele Love’. This song was accompanied with a video, which was bold, colourful, and flirty, and yes rather daring. Her boldness to dance and show skin while owning her song and displaying her singing talent immediately filled in the gap of female pop singers who came with the total package at the time.
If you watch that video and see what she’s done now, you’ll see that the singer has evolved, yes – but she remains true to essence and continues to push the envelope.
Whether or not you consider her too sexy for your taste, just remember Tiwa Savage’s career and revelations of her personal life showcase her strength in womanhood.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room. – Maya Angelou (1978)