News

Nigerian Men & Beauty: Pink Tattooed Lips

Batta Box TV presents a video featuring a new trend of Nigerian men tattooing their bottom lips pink so that they no longer look black. Check out the video.


Last month Batta Box TV presented us with a short video on a supposedly emerging trend in Nigeria: "pink lips." The fashion trend consists of men tattooing their bottom lips pink, to cover up their blackness.

Some weeks have passed but a lot of people are still asking questions as to what the hell these young men are thinking. The service costs 7000 Naira, the equivalent of about $35/40, so while seemingly inexpensive, we know we're not the only ones who think that money could be better spent elsewhere. Perhaps what is most intriguing about the video is how it places masculinity and western notions of beauty in the same conversation, when their relationship is typically understated.

We consistently discuss the prevalence of skin bleaching amongst women throughout the continent (when let's face it- men use skin bleaching products as well), and our conversations surrounding African beautification practices in general are typically female-centric. If anything, when these conversations involve men, we critique men for perpetuating Western notions of beauty via their expectations of black women- but we have to appreciate this video for illuminating how men themselves are also implicated in Western notions of beauty not simply through their expectations of women, but also their notions of self. It's not really much of a hurrah! because it is clearly a bit of an issue that young men think that their darker lips need to be covered up by a very strange (and dare we say ugly?) bubble gum pink. It's more of a nod, that we need to take a closer look at how masculinity is also implicated in blackness and beauty. Check out the video below!

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Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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