By Akinwale Akinyoade
Ace Nigerian comedian, Basketmouth some days ago faced backlash after he was unveiled along some other Nigerian celebrities as an advocate for the European Union in Nigeria’s campaign against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
Many social media users reacted negatively to Basketmouth being one of those chosen to be an advocate for the EU’s cause on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
According to many, the comedian is a rape apologist who has in times past made jokes about rape and therefore not fit to represent women and the issues they face.
Back in 2014, the comedian made a joke about Nigerian women deserving to be raped if they refuse to have sex by the second date. Following the backlash that came with this, he later apologised for the insensitive joke. Fast track to 2019, Basketmouth made an appearance on The Dangerous World of Comedy by Larry Charles and when asked about the rape joke he made on social media, he revealed that people like such jokes and it helps to sell show tickets.
Following the outrage that trailed Basketmouth as an ambassador for the cause against sexual and gender based violence, he was removed from the list.
In a followup to this, the award-winning laugh maestro has now released a statement. Taking to his Instagram page, he shared a photo collage of a number of women, including his daughter, his wife, Busola Dakolo, and more. He accompanied the image with the caption:
“Almost every morning in the blogs, on the news, there’s a picture of a man sitting on the floor pleading, the caption is usually in the line of ‘its the devils handwork’ and the topic is from underage defilement, rape or brutality against a woman or minor. I live in this same world with my most prized possessions my wife, my two daughters, my sisters and women who have built me into the man I am.
I was recently presented an opportunity to create awareness on the efforts of the EU to bring support to fighting this scourge, it was a no-brainer for me. I refused any compensation for it and volunteered to lend my voice because….its our fight, it’s not for the EU…its for my girls’ future.
Unfortunately, a few years ago I shared up a Facebook post that I thought was shedding light through humor to the entitled crude and very present behavioral patterns of some African men who equate spending to sexual favors, but I also realized then that women actually have to face this daily and its harrowing and I deeply apologized for it
I sincerely pray that this does not take away from the most important fight of our lives….the fight to secure our future…because the girl child is our future. I strongly appreciate the EU for this amazing platform to improve our lot, as long as the message reaches the ears of those who need it, then it’s a win. To every woman – our mothers, sisters, lovers, wives, crowns, supporters, prayer partners, foundation, life…. thank you for being who you are. So many times you sacrifice who you are for a man to become who he wants to be. It’s time we all love and and also support you like you do us….cos in your light, we all shine
Asides Basketmouh, there are current calls for the removal of Nigerian rapper, M.I Abaga and media personality, Uti Nwachukwu as influencers/advocates as well. M.I Abaga had tweeted that after watching The Larry Charles documentary on about Nigerian culture on rape and homphobia, he stands with comedians joking about anything because it is their job to find the funny in pain.
He was however slammed that there is nothing funny about rape as anybody who jokes about it lacks character and whoever supports such jokes is of bad behaviour.
Uti Nwachukwu on the other hand is said to constantly body shame women on his social media accounts.