Tiwa Savage, a Sex Tape and The Apology We May Never Get

It's not every day that a celebrity admits she is being blackmailed because of a sex tape, and then never speaks about it again.

Tiwa Savage -image public domain

Several years ago, a friend of a friend became a die-hard Tiwa Savage fan. She embraced everything about the soft-voiced artist. She then created and grew her Tiwa Savage fan page on Instagram to hundreds of thousands of followers. The singer was so impressed she surprised this fan on her wedding day by performing for free.

It was the most radiant day of the lady’s life. If I didn’t know this person, I wouldn’t believe the effort she put into helping her music idol was real.

In my interactions with this fan, I got to know other people were doing all they can to keep Tiwa Savage a favorite star. At no cost. They worship her from their little corner of the world.

Many people genuinely admire Ms. Savage. Not only has she created so many successful hits and embodies the proud African queen that we have grown to love, she is a sweet soul.

We love her skin tone, her voice, her work ethic, and her success. She will remain an undoubted star, no matter what.

A History of The Times She Got So Much Love From Us

In 2016 she was interviewed by Azuka Ogujiuba where she responded to cheating allegations against her by her then husband, Tunji Balogun popularly known as Teebillz. In the interview, a desolate Tiwa accused her husband of stealing from her, cheating, and having addiction and anger issues.

After that viral interview, he was instantly judged and banished from civilized society, never to be looked upon as valuable again.

I must add that that was when she became a true idol to Nigerians, myself included. She was swift and struck while the rod was still hot. Teebillz stood no chance after she told us her side of the story. I assume that’s why she believed that strategy would work for the sex tape issue — disarm the enemy by coming forward quickly.

Another time she proved she was the darling of Nigerians was when she got into a war of words at a Lagos salon with a fellow Nigerian female artist, Seyi Shay earlier in the year.

The internet rushed to her defense. They shamed and dragged the other artist. Even celebrities who were mutual friends with the other singers pitched their tents with Tiwa. Conceivably, we chose to go with the more influential artist — Ms. Savage, of course.

It’s a cold, hard life in “celebritydom”. Or perhaps they sincerely went with her allure and star power. But we know Seyi Shay was abandoned by all of us. Treated like a fool, for daring to go against our queen.

So I assume that, armed with the unconditional love of many Nigerians online, she wasted no time coming out to validate the existence of a sex tape even before we got wind of it. She was so sure her people would fight for her like they always do — and they all are, trust me on that.

Tiwa Savage revealed to New York’s Power 105.1 FM that someone in possession of a sex tape involving her was blackmailing her.

Her fans, as usual, ran to her defense, and in good faith too. Having sex is not taboo, it's something natural. Well, there was not much about nature in that tape that surfaced briefly on the popular and vitriolic Gistlover Blog on Instagram. The blog is responsible for many heartaches of Nigerian celebrities.

However, I was one of those who doubted the veracity of her claims when she first informed us. I thought it was too close to the release of the video of her hit song ‘Somebody’s Son” and she was only trying to create buzz.

PS, the feminist in me has refused to accept the song. It takes us back at least 3 decades — women shouldn't be waiting to be found, I think we already agreed on that. I digress.

A few days later, several fake videos appeared online. In one, I heard the woman in the video was a convincing look-alike, and the man appeared to be contorting his body to make love to her in a weird position. I also heard the video was oddly classy.

But that WASN’T the video. I wish it were. Most people say they liked that one.

The Infamous Sex Tape

Saturday night, the real video surfaced online. In it, a clothed Tiwa is seen having unprotected sex with a man whose face does not show in the video. People say it was below the deck of a boat, and he is a Ghanaian. My neighbour even told me the man in the video is another neighbour. I had to go looking for photos of this alleged neighbour, but it isn’t him.

Her face is decipherable, and she seems to consent to the torch of a phone right on her face.

Since then, she has been trending in Nigeria. Her colleagues and fans are coming to her defense, considering her a queen who contained the narrative by announcing the existence of a sex tape.

Most people believe her life is a revolving door of terrible choices of men. From her ex-husband to other less than pleasant lovers she has been tangled with. Many believe the lover handled the leak of the video. But she is defending him. She doesn’t want to fling him under the bus. I believe that admitting she is in bed with an opportunist will reflect poorly on the strong woman that we love.

She is a queen and will remain one. But because people elevate celebrities to role models too quickly all over the world, she is now burdened with the job of being responsible for the choices young girls make all over the world. I know it’s a lot to ask of someone who just wants to make music and live her life… But in Nigeria, she has achieved larger-than-life success. She possesses immense power and influence and right now she is wielding that power. She refusing the tiny crowd — yes, the people that want her to apologize are a tiny few. The rest don't care, at least in public.

Refusing to admit any wrongdoing is manipulative. She knows that fans in Nigeria are blind to all faults, and she is exercising it to her advantage.

But this is an unpleasant situation, and it is delicate. It requires candor and honesty.

Those of us saying she owes no one an apology may say she is a highly paid influencer, above us. But this reason is why she has to address the terribly unreliable and sometimes unforgiving Nigerians online. Businesses paid her millions to support them with her share of voice, charisma, and influence. This means she influences buying decisions. How many of you can make people look more kindly on a brand just by posting one video shout out online?

Now she wears a halo for some. They believe social media has been unfair to her, that she is like one of us, merely having sex with a lover.

But that video is not very pretty, it shows a very human side of her. The woman is having unprotected sex with an unknown man (perhaps to her too, who knows) in a dark corner, with her clothes still on. It is natural, it is dirty, and its life.

The truth is that she is not one of us. She is a shining beacon of hope to starry eyed young girls who see her incredible work ethic and are inspired daily.

Even though it makes me sad to say, the world is full of people who believe she doesn’t owe us an apology because they are protective of her. She is their queen. The one they STAN. Many people, especially influential women like her and infatuated men, do not want her to apologize. They insist that it was a private moment that we intruded upon simply by being internet users. They do not want her to give up her power, by apologizing to faceless little people.

They believe she is in control by coming up with information about the video, first. But that’s a lie, she is not in control, and it’s okay.

What Happens Now?

I believe she has to help us unseen that video by hurling her enemies under the bus — by enemies, I mean the lover that accidentally uploaded the video on Snapchat…how clumsy! Why is she protecting him anyway?

She should begin by admitting she should have considered protection, she should have thought of all the mad people on the internet, and she is sorry.

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