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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"

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Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

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