Op-Ed: In 'Fever,' Wizkid & Tiwa Savage Are Manipulating African Curiosity For Profit
Photo: Wizkid/Youtube/

Op-Ed: In 'Fever,' Wizkid & Tiwa Savage Are Manipulating African Curiosity For Profit

Wizkid and Tiwa Savage aren't dating, they have successfully utilized public attention on their interactions to improve their bottom-line. But the main problem here are the attacks on Tiwa.

Manipulation. That's the operative word when Wizkid and Tiwa Savage continue to press the buttons of Africans. Their on-screen romance continues to polarize the continent, with the video for Wizkid's "Fever" stoking the flames.

This continent is packed full with different classes of people who are triggered by anything the duo put out. These people are the hypocrites, the misogynists, the archaic traditionalists, and of course, an army of haters.

Wizkid and Tiwa Savage know these people exist. They understand their triggers. Now they are hitting it with abandon, like kids enjoying a game of whack-a-mole. Wizzy and Tiwa's romance was always going to be a massive hit of taboo. Africa is obsessed with any interaction between men and women. That fixation gets stronger when their is the possibility of genitals being in play. Tiwa Savage is reportedly 38 years old. Wizkid is a decade younger. Tiwa is a single mother of one who exited a marriage to a man that many deem "irresponsible." Wizkid is regarded as the African poster boy for deadbeat fathers, due to trouble with his baby mamas. These two people are considered bad for each other. But they are together, living their life, staying hydrated, and people are pressed.

WizKid - Fever (Official Video)

It's been over a year since the first time Wizkid and Tiwa Savage were photographed together. The conversations around the have been a journey of some sort. The question on everyone's lips from the start have been "Are they an item?" That question has never been answered. Instead, it has been poked and prodded with each mushy exchange between Wiz and Tiwa. You know how these things work. In the absence of any credible information, people provide themselves with some truth, to give them more understand. In this case, hidden at the back of African hearts, is the conviction that Wizkid and Tiwa Savage are dating.

The video for "Fever" is creating a big splash because it brings alive all the fears and suspicion of enthusiasts who have followed this relationship for over a year. Shot by famed filmmaker, Meji Alabi, the visual—which raced to over 1 million views in 24 hours—carries with it enormous power. Wizkid had earlier been roundly chewed by critics who rate "Fever" as a poor record. But Starboy believed in the song whose theme is the tried-and-trusted woman worship. Only this time, Tiwa Savage becomes his goddess. Tiwa is cast as the lead video vixen, and the object of Wizkid's attention. They touch sensually, take beach walks, she grooms herself for him, they lay in bed, run their hands all over each other, and when it's sunset, they take little love walks on the beach and at scenic pool sides. Heck, they even ride a white horse!

Wizkid and Tiwa Savage aren't dating. They have been trying to tell everyone this simple truth. In their communications, they address each other as "best friends." But that hasn't stopped the conversation, and they are using it to their advantage. While people complain and theorize, the stars have used the attention to create and market successful music campaigns. From "Ma lo," down to "Fever," Wizkid and Tiwa Savage have been involved in three joint productions. Ladies and gentlemen, let it be known that all of them have been hits. As businessmen, when people are fascinated with anything, it creates a demand for a product. For Wiz and Tiwa, those products have been collaborative art. They have successfully utilized public attention on their relationship to improve their bottom-line.

This isn't a unique idea. In 2016, Nigerian musicians, Falz and Simi, created an entire romance story, which they nurtured and watered into an EP named Chemistry.

The main problem from the Wiz and Tiwa association are the attacks on Tiwa Savage. No matter how high she flies and the levels of her achievement as a person, Tiwa Savage is still an African woman. And that comes with a lot of baggage. For too long, African women have been conditioned by society to embrace denial. They are required to reduce their individuality, suppress their sexuality, and are judged unfairly to their men. They are expected to fall in line, and endure this burden in their stride, offering warm smiles and grace, in return. But with passage of time, more African women are understanding the power they possess, and breaking away from this culture of repression. And when they do, the criticism is harsh and instant. Tiwa Savage has been berated on social media for "going too far." Somehow, somewhere on the continent, people think she hurt herself in starring in "Fever" video. Ask these people why they hold such strong opinions, and to explain how it hurts her. They simply resort to the manacling line that has been used to perpetrate this evil against African women: "It is not our culture."

So what's in our culture then? Female genital mutilation? Killing of twins? Burying of live humans with deceased royalty? Stripping widows of their dignity and inheritance? We should thread carefully around the subject of culture, because our ways of life as we know it is in flux. Over time, Africans have edited out a lot of vile things from our cultures. But for some strange reason, we still hold on to the mentality that limit our women from greatness. The attacks on Tiwa Savage, a divorced single mother, whose life is in the public gaze, is a prime example of how much distance we need to travel as a people to reach equality of the sexes, and gender-free fairness. There's still much work to be done.

Tiwa Savage and Wizkid have told everyone they aren't an item. But it isn't a truth people want to believe. And in pursuit of an alternate version of events, Africans have come to place themselves at the mercy of these two. Seeing how intrigued and insistent people are, Wiz and Tiwa are taking advantage of it to market new music, keep their celebrity high, and make more money.

That is a culture I support and stan.