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Talking About 'Frenemies': Episode 4 of Webseries 'Gidi Up'

Maryam and Derica of Okayafrica analyze the power dynamics, 'gay scene' and corruption as the 'new normal' in Season 1 of Lagosian webseries 'Gidi Up'

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We previously introduced NdaniTV's newest scripted web series, "Gidi Up", and because we love it so, we decided to document our chats about each episode. We're starting with "Frenemies" (S1Ep4), but we make references to other episodes so catch up on YouTube. In this episode, we see Tokunbo meet up with old friends, Eki fessing up to her crush on Tokunbo, and learn the details of Obi's financial mess. Check out our conversation below:

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Maryam: Ok, the scene with Obi and the older man; the gay thing came out of nowhere!!! What gets me is not that it happened, but that I can totally imagine people watching it like 'you know these things happen, it's so disgusting'; and it's like do you feel that way when men do that shit to women every second of every single day?

Derica:  Exaaaactly. Plus, it's worth noting that they gay storyline is introduced by depicting an abuse of power...

Maryam:  Yeah

Derica: I notice this same juxtaposition in newspaper advice columns (which obviously I read). There's always the "nasty ungodly lesbian aunt' who's sexually abusing the niece sent to stay with her. That abusive scene being the only scenario in which homosexuality comes up - all tied in with rape, molestation, betrayal...

Maryam:  It's kind of interesting that people discuss homosexuality with such disgust, hatred, and fear - but that people who engage in homosexual acts are seen as having power over those who don't. It's always perverse...

Derica:  I think that's also why those rumours about gay politicians have such legs in Naija because its this equation of power with homosexuality, or power with difference that's both scary and compelling but it's so far from the reality (that said, I have no doubt there are gay politicians!)

Maryam: Haha, yeah there are def gay politicians. But word. I guess it stems from extreme fear, or actually irrational fear. But us Nigerians are a dramatic people.

Derica: Mainly I'm laughing my ass off at how "the gay scene" begins

Maryam: What do you mean?

Derica: That slow pan across Obi's face and towards the drinks while the old man (Segun Arinze) says in this sinister voice "you want something to drink? water? [and then more suggestively] JUICE?"

Maryam:  haha, oh yes

Derica:  It's like, you know from there that some shit is about to go down

Maryam:  That was def suggesting some awkward shit was about to go down.

Derica:  All of a sudden you're wondering 'what is JUICE?!' **alarm bells**

Maryam:  The man's face was just the definition of sketch.

Derica:  True, it's partly that he doesn't appear to have a neck

Maryam:  haha. no he doesn't!!!!!

Derica:  And then he's like relaaax while handing him the drink. i kinda love that this is the archetype of the gay dude that's being offered in this show, it's so ridic

Maryam:  And then at the ending casually sitting back, 'what's the big deal about this?' Its definitely ridic. And so problematic

Derica: yup

Maryam:  Yet also funny, I feel like i'm allowed to laugh though...

Derica: In that it's a caricature? It's also a mirror image of the (heterosexual) abuse of the designer Yvonne by another sketchy & powerful old man. I think the show's definitely saying something about the antagonistic relation of youth to the older generation; the former being vulnerable to abuse by the latter

Maryam:  yup!

Derica:  Older people hoarding power, and then wielding it oppressively

Maryam: I especially loved that scene when Yvonne was talking shit to her benefactor's PA and was like "Oxford educated and you're someone's pimp".

Derica: haha, yesss.

Maryam: It was really accurate at highlighting how this older generation has co-opted the younger generation into their messy/disgusting shit. and there's almost no way out. it's like they're training the next set to be even worse than they are. b/c truth is, when they were younger they didn't really have to do shit like this to succeed. It's only with their sick game of corruption that this has become the new normal. Gidi's definitely showing us different elements of contemporary Nigerian (or Lagosian society) in its beauty, and mess.

Check back next Tuesday for our talkback of Episode 5: "Beautiful Sweetness"

Interview
Photo: Jolaoso Adebayo.

Crayon Is Nigeria's Prince of Bright Pop Melodies

Since emerging on the scene over two years ago, Crayon has carved a unique path with his catchy songs.

During the 2010s, the young musician Charles Chibuezechukwu made several failed attempts to get into a Nigerian university. On the day of his fifth attempt, while waiting for the exam's commencement, he thought of what he really wanted out of life. To the surprise of the thousands present, he stood up and left the centre, having chosen music. "Nobody knew I didn't write the exam," Charles, who's now known to afro pop lovers as Crayon, tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom call from a Lagos studio. "I had to lie to my parents that I wrote it and didn't pass. But before then, I had already met Don Jazzy and Baby Fresh [my label superiors], so I knew I was headed somewhere."

His assessment is spot on. Over the past two years Crayon's high-powered records have earned him a unique space within Nigeria's pop market. On his 2019 debut EP, the cheekily-titled Cray Cray, the musician shines over cohesive, bright production where he revels in finding pockets of joy in seemingly everyday material. His breakout record "So Fine" is built around the adorable promises of a lover to his woman. It's a fairly trite theme, but the 21-year-old musician's endearing voice strikes the beat in perfect form, and when the hook "call my number, I go respond, oh eh" rolls in, the mastery of space and time is at a level usually attributed to the icons of Afropop: Wizkid, P-Square, Wande Coal.

"My dad used to sell CDs back in the day, in Victoria Island [in Lagos]," reveals Crayon. "I had access to a lot of music: afrobeat, hip-hop, Westlife, 2Face Idibia, Wizkid, and many others." Crayon also learnt stage craft from his father's side hustle as an MC, who was always "so bold and confident," even in the midst of so much activity. His mother, then a fruit seller, loved Igbo gospel songs; few mornings passed when loud, worship songs weren't blasting from their home. All of these, Crayon says, "are a mix of different sounds and different cultures that shaped my artistry."

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