Tiwa Savage on gender equality — oh, where do I begin? First of all, my apologies for coming in late on this post. I actually tried to not write about it because ike na gu’m (I get tired) on this issue, but I have been asked about it so many times, so here goes. Oh, for the people who do not know who Tiwa Savage is, she is a top Nigerian entertainer (singer) who, based on her celebrity status and the nonfiction drama she and her husband displayed for the world in April of 2015, now lives her life under a sensitive microscope. Click here to read about the time Tiwa Savage and her husband, TeeBillz opened their yansh in public (in other words: spread their dirty laundry outside for all to see). In case you’re wondering, he started it, and I was on her side (still am).
Recently, on a radio interview, Tiwa Savage said she does not believe that men and women are equal. In order to write this post, I went searching for the exact words she said because I know that these days, in the well-meaning spirit of being woke and informed, we sometimes overreact and take things too far. Thank you, YNaija for providing a transcript (and audio) of what Tiwa said. The transcript is posted below from YNaija.
“It’s a reality. I’m not going to say I’m completely comfortable with it but it is what it is. You have to deal with it. If it means you have to work 10 times harder than your male counterparts, don’t complain about it, do what you have to do. We all celebrate people like Oprah and Mo Abudu and we don’t actually realize what they have to do to get to that point.
“They probably had to do 20 times more what the male counterparts had to do. But Once you get there, you don’t complain about how you got there. So, whatever it is you have to do as a female, you just have to get it done.
“I also don’t think men and women are equal, I don’t think that’s how God created us, especially in the household anyway.
“So I think as females when we realize that we can be strong in our career, when we are home we have to realize that the man is the head of the house.”
Tiwa Savage is not the first or last woman to say that she does not believe in gender equality. Even the former Olori of Ife got on a plane and flew to America, only to come and tell us that she did not believe in gender equality. Olori, you too try.
But the thing about Tiwa Savage is that we know her story. We don’t know all of it, of course, but we know the part that she and TeeBillz were generous enough to share with everyone. I still stand by my original judgment that she did the right thing by releasing a video and defending herself.
The video is above, but in case you don’t feel like watching it, here’s a summary of what she said in the video:
Summary of the video: (1) TeeBillz has been cheating on Tiwa, (2) Tiwa Savage never slept with anyone, (3) She had a miscarriage and TeeBillz never checked up on her because he was busy sleeping with some woman in the hotel (4) Since their son was born, he has not spent one naira on him (5) TeeBillz has no job and no income (6) TeeBillz spends his time keeping up appearances (7) TeeBillz has been borrowing money up-an-dan, spending it on himself, (8) TeeBillz saved the number of his mistress as Edible Catering, and (9) TeeBillz borrowed 45 million naira (that’s about $150,000 at the current exchange rate) and he is yet to pay it back. He did not tell his wife he was borrowing the money, nor does she know what he did with it, and (10) TeeBillz smokes crack/cocaine.
Tiwa Savage On Gender Equality – And Why It Matters (especially in the household)
1. Tiwa Savage is in a unique position to use her experience and platform to promote the equality of women, and if she should decide not to do so, she should at least not take us backward. When her husband named and shamed her on Instagram for sleeping with the likes of 2Face, he did so because she is a woman and society slut-shames women for doing even a quarter of what men do. Although he actually cheated on her, it would not have made a difference if it was her who first went public and accused him of cheating. She would have been asked, instead, what she did to make him cheat.
2. In this household that Tiwa speaks of, she’s the breadwinner. Because according to her, her husband smokes, steals her money, borrows money, and squanders it all.
3. Money is not what makes a man the leader or head of the household, but a man who does not protect his wife and family and instead endangers them … is that one a man?
4. Having a penis is not all it takes to be a man. Please, let us stop awarding privileges and accolades to men for owning naturally-given appendages. They don’t even work for the damn thing.
5. What exactly does TeeBillz bring to the table to make him unequal and superior to his wife, Tiwa?
6. If an accomplished woman like Tiwa is willing to dumb her self-worth down for her no-good husband, then what is the hope for the other women?
On marriage and Tiwa Savage taking her husband back: I have been married for almost six years now, and what I can say for sure is that marriage is complicated. No one’s marriage is perfect, and the person you are married to may hurt you the most. It’s easy to say that if X happens, you will walk away. But if and when X happens, you may realize that walking away is not half as easy, especially when you share a child. So, no, I don’t blame or judge Tiwa Savage for taking her husband back.
I am not in anyway advocating that anyone – man or woman – should stay in a dire situation for the sake of being married. But I simply understand why walking away may not be the best or immediate solution.
All that being said, it matters that Tiwa Savage does not believe in gender equality because she, of all people, should understand the power of a woman and the importance of seeing a woman as being equal and just as capable. If Tiwa Savage were a woman who was totally financially dependent on her husband to a point where she cannot do anything without him, I would understand her plight because maybe she does not feel like she has a choice. But Tiwa Savage is basically dumbing herself down and lowering herself so that her husband can feel better.
Tiwa Savage advises that women should just do what they need to do and not complain. We should work twice as hard if that is what it takes because women like Oprah and Mo Abudu have most likely done the same. Should we continue to take less than we are owed in order to not disrupt the status quo and fracture men’s fragile ego? Think back to all the things that would have remained the same if the oppressed – yes, women are oppressed – did not fight back? We would still be colonized by Great Britain and countries like America would still have slaves.
So, no, Tiwa Savage, women should not just take it and not complain. By the way, the irony of the powerful women she mentioned – Oprah and Mo Abudu – is that they are both unmarried There is no reason why a woman has to work twice as hard to get half as far as a man. Yes, that is the reality today in a lot of places, but that does not mean it should be accepted or celebrated. It can change, and I believe it will.
I’m writing about Tiwa Savage on gender equality because she is an influencer, and I’d hate to see her influence sway the wrong way.