In my head, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my BFF, so it’s no secret that I love her. And for good measure, I’ve written about her quite a few times. Recently, she’s been accused of throwing shade at Beyonce, and the beyhives are not having it. The Chimamanda
haters non-lovers are having a good day, too.
This is what happened. Remember that time in 2013 when Beyonce featured Chimamanda’s speech in her Flawless song? Well, apparently, since that time, people and the media have been talking about it. And by talking about it, I mean they have been asking Chimamanda what it feels like to be noticed and featured by Beyonce. They have also been commenting about how lucky she is to have been exposed to the world by Beyonce.
Well, Chimamanda finally decided to talk about it. She told Dutch publication, de Volks that Beyonce did seek her permission to use her lyrics and that she did give her permission. She also praised Beyonce for her girl power and for using her platform to bring awareness to social and political issues.
But the place that the kasala burst was when she – in classic Nigerian English – had the temerity to say that she, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had been a writer for some time (implying that she was doing what she was dong before the collaboration with Beyonce happened). Wherever could Chimamanda have gotten a crazy idea like that? And as if that was not outrageous enough, she even went on to say that Beyonce’s feminism was not her type of feminism. Alright, now, it’s obvious that Chimamanda is a naked, mad woman walking around in the middle of the market — on Eke market day, no less.
“Still, her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We, women, should spend about 20 percent of our time on men because it’s fun, but otherwise, we should also be talking about our own stuff.”
Chimamanda, tufia kwa gi!
I don’t know how the rest of the world took the news, but the nation of Nigerian Twitter was not having it. People went in on Chimamanda, as usual. How dare she think she was better than Beyonce? Why is she so cocky? Who told her there are different kinds of feminism? Why did she get married and have a child since she’s such a feminist? Did Beyonce not make her more popular? Has she not been enjoying the benefits of the Beyonce collaboration? Why does she keep deceiving women to hate men? And of course, they’re sorry for her daughter who has the misfortune of being birthed by a strong woman – and who might consequently grow up to become a strong woman, instead of living the doormat life that’s working out so well for her critics.
Did Beyonce raise Chimamanda’s profile? Yes. Absolutely. Did Beyonce introduce Chimamanda to new fans? No doubt. Should Chimamanda build a beyonce-shaped idol and worship it to show her gratitude? No. Was Chimamanda an award-winning writer before Beyonce came along? Yes. What Chimamanda is saying is that she, too, is a an Oga Madam in her own world, and that she was not born yesterday..
Anyone who does not think that there are different kinds of feminism only has a limited understanding of what feminism is. One of the reasons why feminism is criticized and celebrated so much is because of how personal and open to interpretation it is. One woman’s feminism can be another woman’s ibelibe (foolishness). For example, the woman who ran a marathon while on her period and without a pad did so in the name of feminism. Is that your type of feminism? The blogger who baked bread with her vaginal yeast also did so in the name of feminism. Raise your hand if eating vaginal yeast has always been your dream.
But feminism and marriage are not mutually exclusive. Feminism and childbirth/motherhood are not mutually exclusive either. And if you are still confused, check out feminism for the confused Nigerian woman.
P.S. I wonder if media publications have been clamouring around Beyonce for the past three years, dying to know what it was like to work with such a renowned writer and feminist?