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The Story Behind The Viral 'Nigerian Pussy' Video As Told By Princess Vitarah

Los Angeles-based Nigerian rapper Princess Vitarah reveals the story behind her viral song and video, "Nigerian Pussy."


On Monday, an aspiring rapper by the name of Princess Vitarah posted a new music video to YouTube called “Nigerian Pussy.” Within hours, it was trending on Twitter and exploding across Facebook.

On the track, the artist brags that “Naija pussy is the cream of the crop.” She also throws shade at Ghana. The video sees her continue to boast in the streets of West Hollywood with what appears to be her L.A. crew.

Not surprisingly, the song and video have proven divisive. Many commenters see it as crude. Others can’t resist the track’s catchiness. Some are even championing it as sexual liberation unlike anything Nigeria’s seen before. A few just find it hilarious.

We spoke with Princess Vitarah over the phone Tuesday to find out the story behind her viral song and video. But mostly, we wanted to know about the person behind the spotlight.

The rapper/singer tells us she was born in the States but that her family moved back to Nigeria—Lagos and her family’s village, Arochukwu—when she was little. She lived in Houston, Texas for a while before arriving in Los Angeles last summer. “I knew that L.A. is really really competitive and I wanted to try and figure out how I could stand out from all the millions of other artists that are here,” she tells us.

Indeed, less than 48 hours and 75,000 views since her video’s release, it’s clear she’s standing out. And so without further ado, we present the story behind “Nigerian Pussy” as told by Princess Vitarah herself.

Update March 5, 2016: The original "Nigerian Pussy" video was taken down by YouTube. It reached 120,000 before it was flagged as spam. The following video was re-uploaded by Princess Vitarah on March 3.

What gave you the idea for “Nigerian Pussy”

Before coming to California, I knew a lot of people who had moved to places like New York and L.A. for like one or two years, and nothing works out and then they have to move back home—like, move back to their small town or whatever. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to have to go back,’ so I knew that if I was coming to California, I would have to be really really creative. That’s the main reason I wanted to do “Nigerian Pussy.”

And not just the lyrics, but the visuals and the video, and my makeup and my hair. I have to push. When I was brainstorming ideas—like, when I had the beat and then I was trying to write the lyrics for it—I was brainstorming so much I didn’t even eat. For four or five days I didn’t even eat. I was just brainstorming, brainstorming, brainstorming, because I wanted to push my level of creativity.

 

And prior to “Nigerian Pussy,” what was your music like?

Before “Nigerian Pussy” I was rapping, and I have two remixes on my YouTube. One is called the “CoCo” remix and the other is called the “No Type” remix. With my lyrics, I just like to be playful and have fun.

I know some people have been asking... Is it serious or is it a joke?

It’s serious. I don’t know why people think it’s a joke. Like, that’s a real song. Everything is real. I don’t take my music as a joke. I take my music really, really seriously.

We have to ask. Has your family seen the video?

[Laughs] My sister called me. My mom and dad, I don’t think they’ve seen it. I hope they don’t. And then my brother, I hope he doesn’t see it either.

My sister, she’s like the coolest one. She’s the most understanding. But my other family’s way more conservative, so I hope they don’t see it. So far I don’t think they have.

Where are your parents right now?

They’re in Nigeria.

Why the Ghanaian line? Why did you go after Ghanaians?

[Laughs] Because I have a lot of Ghanaian friends, and we’re always making fun of each other. We’re always teasing each other. And Ghana and Nigeria are neighbors, so it just made sense. It would be like America and Canada. You know how sometimes Americans and Canadians will make fun of each other? It’s kind of like that. It’s not personal. Even my Ghanaian friends are just laughing, they’re just like ‘I’m crazy.’ But they don’t take it personally. They know that I have nothing against Ghanaians.

What have been the reactions so far to the video? How are you dealing with the spotlight right now?

They have been insane. It hasn’t even been 24 hours since I posted it. We posted it around 1:00 yesterday. I’m like, ‘this is insane.’ The video already has, like, 12,000 views. Whenever I post my music I get like a couple tweets, a couple likes, and I’m like, ‘okay.’ Since this happened, I don’t even know what to do next, because I’ve never gotten this before.

On social media it’s been a lot of positive, but at the same you get negative. Like, people taking it the wrong way. I guess it’s art, so people will interpret it however they want to.

Nigerian Pussy is not for your parents ?? Repost: @Krakstv #nigerianpussy #princessvitarah

A video posted by Princess Vitarah (@princessvitarah) on

What’s been like the coolest thing you’ve seen happen so far? The memes! Like, they happen so fast. I just saw one on Instagram, and it was Hank from that TV show [King of the Hill]. Like they did Hank, and they did the meme when your parents catch you listening to “Nigerian pussy.” And it was like this dude listening to it, and then his dad walks in. I think how fast they make the memes has been the most shocking thing for me. And then how fast people find out about it. One of my cousins in Nigeria sent a picture to another one of my cousins here in the states, and then she was commenting and was like, ‘I’m gonna tell your mom’ or something like that. I didn’t tell any family. All I did was post it on Twitter. And Twitter started going off. Who are your favorite rappers in Nigeria? My favorite rapper in Nigeria has to be Olamide.

And he’s a fan now!

I know! That’s so crazy. I was screaming, I was literally screaming last night.

I also like Phyno. I know I’m supposed to say him just because he’s my Igbo brother, but I like him too.

I like both of them, but I like Olamide a lot. I just like his flow. And I like his ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude. Like when he raps, he doesn’t care if you like it or not.

But I don’t think of them as my favorite Nigerian rappers. I think of them as my favorite rappers. Like, I have a lot of American friends who know about them too. But I don’t see them as just Nigerian rap. To me, they’re just rappers, like Drake or Fetty Wap.

What would you like everyone to know?

They should continue to share it [“Nigerian Pussy”] so that we can put Nigeria on the map, so that way, maybe we can open the door for other Nigerian artists to come over too. There’s a lot of talented artists in Nigeria who are just waiting for someone to blow up in America and then they’ll open the door for everyone else. The same way dancehall and reggae came over. Yeah, that’s my biggest goal.

Keep up with Princess Vitarah on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photos

This Is What Rotimi's 'Walk With Me' EP Listening Party Looked Like

The Nigerian singer held an intimate listening party on the eve of the release of his new EP, 'Walk With Me,' at Brooklyn's Okay Space.

Walk With Me, Rotimi's new and highly anticipated EP, dropped Friday—giving us a seven-track peek into who the singer and actor truly is sonically.

The night before, the Nigerian-American crooner gathered over 100 tastemakers and day-one supporters to Brooklyn's Okay Space—the shared gallery space between Okayplayer and OkayAfrica—for an intimate listening party celebrating the release, as well as his music video for "Love Riddim" which also dropped this week.

The night was simply a vibe—folks enjoyed libations and bites from The Suya Guy, with sounds by DJ Tunez. Rotimi opened the gathering up with a thoughtful prayer, with the music video reveal to follow. The singer then walked the audience through each track from Walk With Me, opening up about the creative process of how each track came to life.

Following, Rotimi engaged in an even more in-depth Q+A session with OkayAfrica's arts and culture editor, Antoinette Isama, where he touched on his experience touring with Wizkid back in 2011, his thoughts on the continued rise in popularity afrobeats is having in mainstream music, his hopes for the future and more. Tunez then ran the EP back when the party ensued, as the project is full of tracks that are worthy of being on repeat.

Listen to Walk With Me below, and be sure to take a look at photos from the listening party by Nerdscarf Photography.

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Film
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Director Ladj Ly and Almamy Kanoute attend the photocall for "Les Miserables" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

How To Survive Cannes Film Festival As a Black Filmmaker

A film festival is intense by nature, but Cannes is a whirlwind.

Cannes Film Festival is one of the world's most prestigious gatherings bringing celebrities, filmmakers and actors claiming to celebrate the world's best film. Although the festival is way behind Sundance or the London Film Festival regarding diversity efforts, it remains the place to be if you're a filmmaker—especially a Black one.

I, myself, am a Black French filmmaker who was invited to Cannes as part of their scheme for young film lovers—3 Days in Cannes—open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 28. The scheme, which launched in 2018, requires young hopefuls to write a cover letter showing their passion for film. It ultimately gives young people the opportunity to discover the international selection of films showed at Cannes.

READ: Black Women Are the Future of French Cinema—When Will Cannes Catch Up?

Being in Cannes for the first time was a wonderful experience, but it can be tough to navigate as a Black filmmaker if you're not prepared for it. So, here are top tips.

1) Don't be a person of color—especially if you're Black (Just kidding. But still.)

Cannes is a beautiful, posh city in the south of France. It is part of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, an administrative region where the far right party Rassemblement National (formally known as the National Front) hits record-breaking highs. Despite the fact that the festival is incredibly international, at times it can feel pretty racist, like a sunny, idyllic version of 1960s Alabama, where a party of more than one Black person gets routinely rejected from some clubs/bars/restaurants. On top of that, the staff and some of the security working at the festival can be incredibly aggressive and rude to you and in French. If you don't understand it, it's even more confusing.

To avoid it, try to stick to the official Cannes parties, or hang out in international hotels like the Miramar or the Radisson Blu Hotel—which are used to an international crowd. You can also stick to parties at the various country pavilions near the Film Market.

2) Stick to the African Pavilion

At the festival, most countries have their own pavilion. But because the festival believes Africa is a country, all 54 countries are gathered in one pavilion. This pavilion also includes the Caribbean, since Jamaica, as life would have it, is also an African country. In the African Pavilion, there was even talk on how to submit films if you're a filmmaker of Indian descent (despite the fact that India had its own pavilion).

You're not African? That's okay, no one cares. Pan-Africanism is still alive, I guess? Thankfully, out of the many pavilions, I did find the African Pavilion was the best one the most welcoming and whose schedule was the most open and clear. Because Cannes is such an exclusive festival, most of the parties and talks won't be communicated outside of those who are supposed to attend.

The African Pavilion, however, requires you to sign up to their newsletter. You then access their app where you can see the schedule, the talks to attend and the party they planned. The only downside is that they were understaffed, so some talks and events were cancelled last minute and with limited communication.

If you're a Black French filmmaker, speaking English is a must to get the most out of the pavilion. If you're an English-speaking filmmaker, try to make friends or meet people who speak French, as some of the talks/discussions might not have professional interpreters.

Also, go to the events organized by diversity in Cannes. Now, if you're a Black filmmaker who would rather not stay in the community for fear of being pigeonholed? Unless you're part of a talent scheme run by the festival...good luck getting others to support you.

3) Be ready to WAIT to see films and to party

On average, I waited 1 hour 40 minutes for each film I wanted to see in the official selection program. And I purposely chose not to see the famous ones like the Pedro Almodóvar or Quintin Tarantino's films. I also waited almost two hours to see a film from the Un certain regard selection and didn't get in—despite my pass. Now, Un certain regard has the most highly sought after films, even more so than the Competition, because they tend to select the best among indie international films. To get in for sure, you need a "Un certain regard" pass, so they need to invite you themselves. Even if you have a ticket at the counter, you might not get in unless you wait two hours (standing) or choose to attend the early screening or the late ones (and still, you should be ready to wait 1 hour for these).

You need a pass AND a ticket to see the films from the official selection and walk the red carpet up to the Grand Théatre Debussy. For the ACID, Director's fortnight, Semaine de la critique, and the Official selection's films not shown on the red carpet, you just need a pass—and to be ready to queue for at least 45 minutes.

I wouldn't recommend getting the Cannes cinephile pass as it has a low priority. I saw people waiting 2 hours to see a film and not getting in, while people with professional Black passes arriving 10 minutes before the screening walking past them. Because the Cannes festival is for professionals, they have, unfortunately, priority over members of the public.

Now, with the parties at Cannes, word on the street is that they are not as legendary as they used to be. Even if you get invited to one, you still need to wait an hour. It's not because they are over capacity, but rather they feel the need to pretend that they are. Unless you're a VVIP. And if you're one, why are you reading my article?

Anyway, despite not being as glamorous as they used to be, they remain so exclusive that if your name is not on the list, you might need to sell your first born to attend.

Thankfully, you can avoid it by being smart. When I arrived in Cannes, I was dead set on going to parties to network. Since almost all of them are invite only, I went to the parties at the pavilions, like the UK one, the American one (which costs 20 euros because Americans are always about their money) and the African Pavilion—that were kind enough to facilitate networking by introducing me to fellow filmmakers. God knows how talking to strangers and building new relationships can be difficult, and they made it easier.

4) Make friends with distributors or people working for the Mayor's office

The whole point of the festival is to sell films. Tickets are sparse for most people, so some badge holders wear their Sunday Best and stand outside the grand theater, holding signs asking for tickets. It makes sense that distributors are incredibly powerful, since they have the power to buy and sell films internationally. They are given way too many tickets that should be given to people waiting for hours outside.

So, if you make friends with distributors, they will always have a handful of spare tickets, even for the big ones that everyone wants to see. They also have tickets for the big parties as well. Press badge holders also have priority since they are responsible for a film good or bad media coverage. So they have a handful of tickets too.

People working for the Mayor's office also have tickets because they work closely together since the festival brings so much revenue to the city. Make friends with them, as well as film students and you'll get tickets. Don't know where to find them? Social media is your friend.

There is also another way to get tickets to films: the staff. For example, I couldn't get tickets to see Mati Diop's Atlantiques. I walked to the ticket counter and saw a Black woman with a great hairstyle. My instinct KNEW I had to tag along. I asked her if she needed help. She was looking for the same tickets. We asked someone at the ticket office if they could help. They said they had nothing. But one of the staff members saw us and said she could try to help us. She came back with two tickets and that's how I got to see the film. I got lucky and was cunning. So be nice with the staff, they can help.

5) Be ready for anything

A film festival is intense by nature, but Cannes is a whirlwind. Since you're spending so much time waiting and walking from venues to venues, you won't have time to eat unless you bring food you've made before hand. You're not allowed to eat inside the theaters and if you walk the red carpet, you food is thrown out beforehand. You can try buying food and drinks in the morning and finish it by the time you walk the red carpet. I'd advise buying it at a supermarket like the pricey Monoprix. Or the nearby McDonald's. It's cheap, warm, almost always open and a great way to socialize! Young filmmakers, as well as those from Britain and the States will come to McDonald's to eat since it's one of the places they know best. Why not strike up a convo there?

Also, don't forget your power bank. Your phone will get out of battery for sure, especially if you post content on social media.

Finally, despite its reputation, the festival is incredibly badly organized. You will be told that your badge is not allowed to watch films at other selections, or you would be given the wrong directions and will be lost in the croisette on your way to see an obscure film.

Chill, be ready to walk and use Google Maps. And enjoy!

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Julie Adenuga: "There Are Young Artists In Nigeria Who Are Changing the World"

In an exclusive interview, the Beats 1 radio presenter opens up about her Nigerian heritage, documenting Homecoming in Lagos, and London being an important hub for afro-fusion sounds.

Julie Adenuga sits at the intersection of two continents.

As an affable tastemaker who transforms banal interviews into engaging conversations with some of the most famous artists in the world, Julie is leading the global dialogue on new music from her daily radio show, which broadcasts to over 100 countries.

The North London native of Nigerian descent hails from a musical family, her brothers are artists Skepta and JME, and has risen from the underground as a self-taught presenter on former pirate radio station Rinse FM to being one of three lead DJ's with her Beats 1 show on Apple Music.

A champion of homegrown talent in the UK and across the African diaspora, Julie is a purveyor of the afro-fusion genre, as is evident in her recent Homecoming documentary, which captured the fresh innovators from the Lagos music scene, and her DON't @ ME club nights, which has featured Ghetts, Lady Leshurr and The Compozers as residents.

Chosen as one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrating extraordinary women from Africa and the diaspora, we speak with the presenter and broadcaster on owning her Nigerian identity, the responsibility of spreading afrobeats and why London is a key location for the genre.

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