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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie responds to Comments on her Interview with Hillary Clinton

BellaNaija.com

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From tweets and replies to open letters, a snippet of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s interview with Hillary Clinton at the PEN World Voices Festival lecture on Sunday night has been met with a lot of strong opinions. In the interview, Chimamanda asked the former U.S presidential candidate why she has “wife” leading her bio.

A lot of people have come forward including Dencia and Daddy Freeze, bashing her and questioning what she stands for.

Via her Facebook page today, Chimamanda decided to explain the rationale behind her question. She wrote:

Dear Unnamed Person Who I Am Told Is On Social Media Saying I am Her Family and Telling Me to Shut Up:

Cynicism is ugly. It doesn’t flatter anyone. Yours doesn’t suit you at all.

I remember you vaguely; I think you were in my class in primary school. And now you claim to be my ‘family’ and you are asking me to shut up.

Did you watch the video of the conversation? Did you read a full transcript?

I am tired of Nigerians who read a headline and, without bothering to get details and context, jump on the outrage bandwagon and form lazy, shallow opinions.

I am tired of Nigerians cynically thinking of anybody in public life as a ‘brand.’ No, I am not a brand. I am a person who feels strongly about certain issues. I choose to talk honestly about them. I made the choice to talk about feminism knowing very well the kind of hostility it brings – but I think it’s important and I will continue to speak my truth and hope to bring about some change, no matter how small. Adirom agba egwu ka m data ego.

No, of course you don’t actually deserve a response, but I have some free time today. So I want to make you feel a little important because it sounds like you need it.

And I want to reflect on an absolutely lovely hour spent on stage with Hillary Clinton.

I was happy when I was told that Hillary Clinton had specifically requested to be in conversation with me at the PEN World Voices festival. I am an unapologetic fan of Ms. Clinton’s. I have been for many years.

I felt quite emotional when I met her. Having read and followed her for years, it was moving to see her: the warm, human, observant, present, thoughtful person (and looking wonderful, with her hair and makeup on point!).

She said she had read my books and I restrained myself from doing cartwheels.

“Is there anything you don’t want to talk about?” I asked backstage.

“Ask me anything,” she said.

Towards the end of our conversation, I told her how, having read her writing about her own life, I think she has a great love story with Bill Clinton. A wonderful friendship. I said I feel irritated and protective of her when people dissect her personal life, but I also confessed to having an interest myself, particularly about her public Twitter profile. (I first noticed it when I was researching a piece about her during the presidential campaign). I was upset that the first word used to describe her was ‘wife.’ Was it a choice she had made or was it something done for her campaign and, if it was a choice she had made, did she think my reaction to it was fair?

Her response was very thoughtful.

I was too excited, emotional, slightly nervous, to be on stage with this remarkable woman. Had I kept in mind how easily outrage-mongers would jump on a headline, I would have phrased my question better. I would not have made it about my being upset, because it can come across as navel-gazing.

But the truth is that we were supposed to be having a ‘conversation,’ the context of our conversation was personal and warm, I had made the decision to speak from the heart, and it would be dishonest to pretend that I had not reacted personally to so many issues around Ms. Clinton, whose life has become a kind of crucible of all the questions that affect women.

We all react personally to public figures. And I WAS upset that the Twitter bio of a woman who is the most accomplished person to run for President of the United States, would begin with ‘wife.’ And considering her personal history, it just didn’t seem to fit.

I felt that ‘wife’ was used as an attempt to placate all the men and women who will not vote for a woman unless they are able to see her FIRST in domestic terms.

Yes, it’s just Twitter. But it matters. It’s a public platform. It’s where people go to hear directly from her.

And there is context to consider.

In LIVING HISTORY, Ms.Clinton writes that the two most difficult decisions she has made in her life were staying married to Bill Clinton and running for the senate seat in New York.

Women, especially women in public life, face a lot of societal pressure about how to be, how to live, much more than men do. Women in public life are considered ‘cold’ and ‘un-relatable’ unless they define themselves in domestic terms. Women’s accomplishments are often considered incomplete unless they have also ticked the ‘marriage’ box. These things are not true of men, even though marriage can be a wonderful thing for both men and women.

Feminism is indeed about choice. But it is intellectually lazy to suggest that, since everything is about ‘choice,’ none of these choices can be interrogated. Choices are never made in a vacuum. And sometimes, for women, choices are not always real choices.

After she got married, Ms. Clinton kept her name, but she was so viciously criticized for this that she then took on her husband’s name. Was this a ‘choice?’ Would she have done so if she wasn’t being attacked and if she didn’t want to feel responsible for her husband’s potential losing of votes?

During the last presidential campaign, she was expected to account for the policies of her husband’s administration. She was labeled an enabler of sexual harassment. She was accused of cynically staying married because she wanted to benefit politically.

Much of Ms. Clinton’s public image is a caricature of a person who is untrustworthy, calculated, cold, dishonest. That caricature has its roots in her early public life when she was the First Lady of Arkansas.

Her crime was that she did not conform to the traditional role of First Lady. She had kept her name. She clearly considered herself to be her husband’s equal partner. She did not intend merely to be a Wife. She had her own dreams, her own ambition. She dared to say that she wasn’t planning on ‘staying home and baking cookies,’ which was not about denigrating stay-at-home mothers but simply about saying that that was not what she wanted to do.

A small comment about a small thing, but it was significant and revolutionary because she was consciously resisting the status quo.

But she was attacked for that. Horrendously. And those attacks were repeated so often that they stuck and they contributed to her being reduced to a caricature.

It was therefore upsetting to see her first descriptor as ‘wife.’ The question isn’t about including ‘wife’ in her Twitter bio. The question is about giving ‘wife’ a certain primacy as the first word that describes her, and it speaks to larger questions about the societal expectations placed on women.

Ms. Clinton wrote in her most recent book WHAT HAPPENED, that she ran for president because she thinks she would have been a ‘damned good president.’

She certainly would have been. And so I suggested, half-joking, that ‘Would have been a damned good president’ is a perfect Twitter bio start. And then mother and wife and grandma and Senator and hair icon etc could follow!

I completely stand by my question and by my conviction that it is a subject that matters.

I had a truly enlightening evening on that stage with Ms. Clinton, and was once again awed by her grit, her humanity, her sparkling intelligence.

After the conversation, Ms. Clinton told me, “It was like talking to a friend.” She is now my Aunty For Life.

Oh, as for YOU, Unnamed Person, saying that I am ‘family’ to you, mbakwa biko. The people I consider family don’t ‘do petty.’

Saying “shut up” to a woman who airs an opinion is so unoriginal. Try and be a bit more inventive.

Try reasoning. Try intelligent debate. Try understanding things in context before you reveal your ignorant misogyny to the world. Try reading more than a headline. Try reading a whole book. Or two. And please keep talking. Keep speaking. Don’t ever shut up.

~CNA

Photo credit: Julian Hom

96 Comments

  1. slice

    April 24, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    That was beautiful

  2. O~Intuition!

    April 24, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Dear CNA:

    Thank You For A Well Communicated Response.

    Grateful

  3. Jess

    April 24, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I may not always agree with Ms Adiche but i love her style of writing very much.I also like a woman who is not afraid to speak her mind and question the norm. I personally see no reason why “wife “cannot be the first description of any married woma on her bio but i’ll probably question that if i feel such description was a result of pressure from the society as against choice. I believe that was her angle in asking that question. The subtle shades in this write up eh

  4. mrx

    April 25, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Story for the gods.

    I never liked Mrs Clinton. She made a great mess in Libya, Herself and Obama, hence causing the surge of terrorist in Africa, leading to the vicious bokoharam. Please don’t lookup to her she’s a dangerous globalist who lost to a man that grabs women by the p. This has nothing to do with feminism.

  5. Corolla

    April 25, 2018 at 12:04 am

    “I am tired of Nigerians who read a headline and, without bothering to get details and context, jump on the outrage bandwagon and form lazy, shallow opinions.”

    What she said!

    Many Nigerians are intellectually lazy! They lack critical thinking skills. They see things on surface level and refuse to dive deep for clarity.

    • Curious one

      April 25, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Those of you shouting “critical thinking” and making flimsy generalisations about Nigerians are actually the ones who need to use your heads.

      Even before this explanation I understood why chimanda asked the question. But it still doesn’t excuse it. Lets be honest Hillary clinton most likely used that in her bio to appeal to voters or create a positive image. The truth is a “wife and a mother” is far more sellable than “just being a strong woman”. But guess what this doesn’t just apply to women but to men. As liberal as America claims to be I can assure you that a Married Man (one who is married to a woman!!!!) Has a better chance of winning an election than a single man (who might even have achieved more) or a gay man.

      Think of it for a moment…when you think of a Married Father…what comes to your mind…”RESPONSIBLE”. Many of us love Obama not just because he is an extremely intelligent man, but because he is a lovely husband and father. Please imagine if Obama was gay or single.

      The need to be pollitically correct or appealing applies to both men and women in this scenario. Hence making the question uncalled for. Politics is about creating an image…whether false or true. Remember during the 2015 elections even buhari went to church and claimed to have only 150cows. Nigerians fell for it!!!

      I think her response was condescending.

    • Bade

      April 25, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      But it wasn’t just Nigerians who were outraged… why go for us because we are the easy target? Even CNN carried the thing and their commenters were just as outraged. Please Chimamanda should get off her high horse and accept when she’s goofed.

    • crystaldrop

      April 25, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Case in point being the Buhari “Nigerian Youths are Lazy” saga.

    • tunmi

      April 25, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      @Curious One but the question IS called for because of that. Because we must keep bringing up the hypocrisy and be aware of it so we can do better

    • Curious one

      April 25, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      @tunmi my dear: if you say the question is called for because Hillary Clinton might be an “Hypocrite or conformist”for trying to fit into the views of what conservatives think of a perfect woman (which would be contrary to true feminism). Then don’t you think it’s unfair to only attack a woman for such hypocrisy when her male conterparts do the same thing all the time?

      Dont you think that change is going to take time and Hillary Clinton might be able to fight more for the “”cause” from the inside(as The POTUS?)

      You see that this argument never ends? That’s why we should leave people’s personal lives alone and focus on what concerns everyone.

  6. James

    April 25, 2018 at 12:12 am

    Adichie is on an ego trip for now until she hits the rocks. I don’t blame her. She has not suffered any set-backs in life and truly believes that all of her success is due to her hard work and effort. The people that propped her up there are the same people that will pull her down.

    She likes you to hear and take-in all of her strong opinions but wants to dismiss opinions that are critical of her views as that of “lazy, shallow” people, as she puts it.

    I would like to remember her for her body of work which she needs to focus on building-up further like those before her (Achebe, Soyinka, and others) and not on feminist controversies. And if she’d rather use her platform to speak on issues that are important to her, there are a slew of those issues here in Nigeria, many concerning women empowerment if that’s her pet peeve that can use somebody of her stature to bring awareness to, not American issues.

    She has been given the platform to use and bring about reforms and change in Nigeria and Africa, not in America.

    • slice

      April 25, 2018 at 12:56 am

      “She has been given the platform to use and bring about reforms and change in Nigeria and Africa, not in America.”

      Says who? It’s her voice. Not yours. Not mine

    • Kris

      April 25, 2018 at 2:40 am

      “She likes you to hear and take-in all of her strong opinions but wants to dismiss opinions that are critical of her views…” that’s human nature like you’ve clearly portrayed here. I think you want her to “hear and take-in all” you opinion on this matter. That’s the funny thing about life, buddy.

      I personally think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, understanding that your audience can either accept or reject your opinion. But we should refrain from making an unpleasant issue out of other people’s opinions. We all have different perspectives, and have the right to air them, and no one should be nailed for having an opinion or a perspective about a thing.

      No hard feelings.

    • BlueEyed

      April 25, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Ironically I actually agree with James, who I’m guessing is a man.
      Now I love CNA and I’m happy for her successes, but on this issue, even in context I believe she needs to understand that people disagreeing with her position are not intellectually lazy, and labeling them as such is very condescending and reeks of intellectual elitism which is subjective and uninclusive.
      However I believe CNA should use her platform for a heralded impact like women empowerment here in Nigeria and Africa, because pandering to the white man and their culture does not always turn out good for the black man, ride on their accolades but don’t forget where you’re coming from.

    • Cynical

      April 25, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Please someone give James a cold beer. Chimamanda, as your ‘sister’, I’ll advise you to be careful. You are entitled to your opinions and so is everyone else. This your condescending, I am smarter than everyone else attitude….. I’m not sure where it’ll take you especially as you are in the white man’s land where you will always be seen as inferior no matter your achievements. I am a fan so this is coming from a place of love, you have started overdoing it o.

    • nametalkam

      April 25, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Very well said Oga James. Sometimes it is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and confirm it. No ‘celebrity’ ever wins against the court of public opinion. She should have just let this die a natural death. Instead she exposed her savagery and pig headedness for the world to see. I don’t know who her PR is but this needs to be ‘handled’ Intellectual boastfulness and condescension will never trump ‘village sense’.

    • Tina

      April 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Like I said, this Chick has lost it. Now down right insulting people, this is a new low. Fame don enter her head. Mother Theresa of feminism.

    • slice

      April 25, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Disagreeing with her is one thing. Insulting her and calling her names is another. She admitted she could have phrased the question better and that’s enough humble pill for those that need to see her taken down a notch. I’ll say this, stop waiting for this gilr/lady to fail. She’s a huge export of Nigeria. We have done well with this one. I’ve followed her career from the days of small book launches in a library years ago and she’s still here. And don’t be upset that she was upset about the life thing. It upset her and she owned her feelings and said just that. It’s ok that it doesn’t upset you and it’s ok that her upset upset upsets you. We could be asking people why are you upset that she was upset? Life

    • tunmi

      April 25, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      correct me if I’m wrong, but has any man been accused of an ego trip who needs to hit the rocks? Even the wealthy kid who attempted to buy one oil company ( forgot the details), he wasn’t accused of needing to be humbled. We accused his story of being out of touch with the majority-poor Nigerians but not that he needed to be cut down to size. Even Freeze, we tell him to shut up but we don’t call for this diminishing as we do for women.

  7. Tito

    April 25, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Beautiful and well said

  8. David

    April 25, 2018 at 12:25 am

    I literally bursted out reading the last line! Quite savage. However, regardless of the fact that I totally love Chimamanda, regardless of the fact I understood the subtext of her “wife” question to Hillary before watching it and was thrown aback by the outlash; this response of hers while insightful is downright condescending and reeks of intellectual snobbery.

    • David

      April 25, 2018 at 12:27 am

      Backlash*

    • slice

      April 25, 2018 at 12:58 am

      Well if you tell a Nigerian to shut up, you have to take whatever comes next. We don’t joke with shut up like that lol

    • Mira

      April 25, 2018 at 1:19 am

      Exactly why I love her. You don’t bite what you can’t chew.

  9. Adamazi

    April 25, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Thank you CNA!!!! My dear you nailed it with “Adirom agba egwu ka m data ego”.Let me that Onye ajuju anaghi efu uzo.. Nothing do you

  10. Amaa

    April 25, 2018 at 12:56 am

    Drops Mic. Dencia Freeze unu anugo

  11. Eureka!

    April 25, 2018 at 1:06 am

    Someone must have pulled a nerve. CNA is human after all.

  12. Nky

    April 25, 2018 at 1:30 am

    King Chimamanda has spoken. I just love this babe walahi. Like her or hate her she remains true to herself. She is just not ready to conform ….just can’t be asked… you come for her and she clapsback in style leaving you remorseful…

  13. Slayqueen

    April 25, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Dencia you can never understand or agree with Chimamanda because you are fake and she is authentic. I understand where you are coming from….your lines don’t cross at all. She still thinks black skin is beautiful and kinky hair lovely. Continue to focus on your physical transformation and allow intellectual people express themselves biko.. face your markeetiii ….

  14. FRANK

    April 25, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Another Myopic liberal feminist who keeps smelling and believing her own shit. As much as I don’t like Hilary nor voted for her. But just because Chimamanda write a book doesn’t qualify you for shit, nor does it measure up whatever little achievements you have compared to Hilary Clinton who has been a US Senator, Secretary of State, 1st lady and US Presidential aspirant commands much more respect and has achieved more than you’d ever achieve in your myopic mind.

  15. Gobelins

    April 25, 2018 at 2:08 am

    So people who do not agree with her point of view basically have shallow and Lazy opinion. I see. She writes like a mean girl and reminds me of someone I work with, they are never wrong!

    • Corolla

      April 25, 2018 at 3:25 am

      Work on your critical thinking skills, gaddamit!

    • Cocoa

      April 25, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Looool my sentiments exactly. Still couldn’t communicate her stance without insults. That says a lot.In fact that exposes a lot about a person….how they talk when they are angry.

      She can’t understand that some of us may have watched it, seen the context and STILL DISAGREE.

      Im allowed to disagree with you Chimamanda.

      And that too is OKAY.

    • Anonymous

      April 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      @Gobelins, she reminds me of A Good Nigerian quite opinionated with a robust response each time some-other has a contrary view. @ARN if you are reading this please come back we are sorry

  16. Jennietobbie

    April 25, 2018 at 2:21 am

    My baby girl. Never disappoints. Never. Love you CNA. I knew you had this savage spirit in you. What a lovely experience and well thought out response. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  17. Henry

    April 25, 2018 at 2:58 am

    BABA CNA! I like that you r unremorseful, unrepentant about your cause. Such clarity, such brilliance in that response. Dalu Olu!!

  18. Mrs chidukane

    April 25, 2018 at 3:09 am

    She has said it all. Critical thinking is sorely lacking. Plus we have been indoctrinated that asking questions is wrong when there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. You will see students, afraid to ask questions because they fear backlash.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      God bless you. I was just saying the same thing just now – Nigerians question nothing.

      Especially when it comes to anything related to a person perceived to be in authority. You may have a few “whys?” and “what fors?” in your mind but the instinct is to stifle them and not rock the boat.

      I’m glad she asked, imagine being given that kind of opportunity with a burning question in your mind and not seizing your chance to air it. Why shouldn’t she ask? Is it because Hilary is an older woman, a political figure and more renowned? Chimamanda wasn’t rude or impertinent, it was an armchair conversation and it also gave Hilary a chance to understand that there is a generation of women beneath her, who might be looking upwards to see how other women have navigated these societal expectations.

      That issue of conformance is still very pervasive to women and it was a good question to ask within the context. Don’t know why we’re all beating our collective chest as if Chimamanda called our mothers ashewos.

    • tunmi

      April 25, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      this too!! I saw so much of “how can you ask a leader/former Secretary of State” that. It’s really sad. Shebi one person commented on another post that there was a difference in a colleague of his/hers who had studied abroad. Being able to ask questions of anyone without pandering to them is one of the differences.

  19. Tru

    April 25, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Barrack Obama has ‘dad, husband, president’ on his bio…in that order…why isn’t anyone upset about that?

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 25, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      What you’re asking is similar to querying why the Black Lives matter movement isn’t raising dust about Muslim lives, or Chinese lives or White lives….

      She’s chosen to fight for feminism from a particular standpoint. That is her platform and focus. Anyone who wants to stand for the rights of men who want to be seen beyond one single identity, should feel free to pick up that fight on their behalf.

    • slice

      April 25, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      If I marry him and he puts dad first, he will have to answer to me lol

  20. Jummy

    April 25, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Regardless of context, I still think Ms. Adichie was wrong. It wasn’t that she asked the question, it was that there was an inherent bias that everyone was able to see through. At least that was my issue with it.

    CNA has the right to have an opinion/conviction and stand by it. People also have to right to critique her stance. Brandishing everyone who critiqued what she said respectfully whilst dissecting the issue at hand as intellectually lazy and lacking critical thinking skills is quite brash, and might I add, actually intellectually lazy. It’s why American society has denigrated the way it has. Either you’re on the far left, or you’re racist, fascist, a bigot, and a Nazi. Sigh. May God help us all sha.

    There’s also intellectual elitism and a very significant condescending tone in this response that is not hard to notice. Careful now Ms. Adichie, I know it gets harder to remain humble as the accolades and fame increase. But I do believe it’s the most expedient thing every step of the way, no matter how hard it may seem.

    • Cocoa

      April 25, 2018 at 9:40 am

      THIS!!!!!!!!!

    • tunmi

      April 25, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      The bias IS what she was trying to get at. I swear, it will be downright shameful if a man does this same exact thing and gets lauded for it. That bias that has followed Hillary her entire career is what Chimamanda was pointing out.

      Do you know Hillary didn’t take on Clinton’s name until it became a political problem. Because when he was running for governor of Arkansas, her keeping her last name became a problem. Because she said she didn’t want to stay home and bake cookies, that became a problem. Because you, we, us…we have a problem with women who choose not to do as we have been indoctrinated to. THAT BIAS is what Chimamanda pointed out.

      At this point even if Chimamanda becomes a ghost writer and has a man speak her words, y’all still won’t give her credit.

      And can we please stop asking people to be humble. Humble got us goodluck who had no shoes, Buhari who was lacking whatever he was lacking, Efe who won big brother and later told his fans their money had expired. This fake humility we like wearing as Nigerians does not help us.

  21. Tru

    April 25, 2018 at 6:08 am

    People who follow others blindly now accuse people who do not agree with them of lacking critical thinking skills.

  22. Jummy

    April 25, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Even with the context put into perspective, I still think Ms. Adichie was wrong. It wasn’t that she asked the question, it was that there was an inherent bias that everyone was able to see through. At least that was my issue with it.

    CNA has the right to have an opinion/conviction and stand by it. People also have to right to critique her stance. Brandishing everyone who critiqued what she said respectfully whilst dissecting the issue at hand as intellectually lazy and lacking critical thinking skills is quite brash, and might I add, actually intellectually lazy. It’s why American society has denigrated the way it has. Either you’re on the far left, or you’re racist, fascist, a bigot, and a Nazi. Sigh. May God help us all sha.

    There’s also intellectual elitism and a very significant condescending tone in this response that is not hard to notice. Careful now Ms. Adichie, I know it gets harder to remain humble as the accolades and fame increase. But I do believe it’s the most expedient thing every step of the way, no matter how hard it may seem.

  23. CrazyWorld

    April 25, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I think I kind of understand CNA now. Although it seems like she is fighting a gender war more than she is fighting a societal war when all she wants is a perfect world but…

    ‘When they talk about a perfect world, I say it’s not going to be in my generation’ – 2face Idibia

  24. Weezy

    April 25, 2018 at 8:15 am

    CNA is delusional if she thinks Nigerians are the only ones peeved at the wording of her question. I frequent a number of feminist blogs, and seen the word “bully” thrown around yesterday. But as always CNA will do what she wants and assume there are no consequences. As I’ve said before and will always say, this woman is playing with fire and one day it will burn. She is becoming better known for her public controversies than for her books. And the odd part is she can’t take the heat of the spotlight that she courts.

    On the internet people remember. People remember the trans thing, the Beyonce thing, and now the Hillary thing. And they remember how she responded.

    Sorry but I find her FB post to be ill-advised and really wonder why she has no PR team. All those lauding her who think they are not one of the lazy Nigerians ?, let me ask you a question.

    How much criticism has Hillary Clinton endured in just the last 6 months, not even in the last 20 years? Think very carefully. Then I want you to show me the Facebook post or letter where she lashed back. I’m waiting. Oh, you think that is different because Hilary is a politician? OK let’s try another.

    How much criticism has Beyonce faced publicly in the last 1 year? Think carefully back to Lemonade and what people said: she’s so fake, she is using black pain to sell records, she can’t sing unlike ADELE (Carlos Santana o), she can’t even leave her cheating husband, she’s lying about that….blah blah blah. OK, where is Beyonce’s takedown?

    These are just 2 examples. Now, since you’re so infused with critical thinking, I want you to tell me why you think neither of those two would respond like this to any of the incredibly personal things that have been said about them. I want you to tell me how Americans would react if they posted on FB a response exactly like this, replacing Nigerians with “Americans”.

    Then tell me why you think Nigerians reaction is ‘special’ compared to other countries ?. Meanwhile, CNA seems to think the convo she had with Hillary was a private tete a tete in her living room over lemonade. She doesn’t get that her words will be written about and parsed and dissected ?. Let me show you the headline published by CNN yesterday: “Why is Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie upset with Hillary Clinton?” That is CNN o, not Punch Nigeria.

    • Jummy

      April 25, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Weezy i owe you an an of chilled Orijin.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 25, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      But, @Weezy nwa nne m, that CNN article you quoted was written by a Nigerian journalist and published right out of Lagos, Nigeria.

      Forget that it says “CNN” at the top of the url – it’s still very much a Nigerian response to the issue at hand. In fact, the sources of outrage quoted within it were mainly from Nigerians so the journalist might as well have reproduced this entire comment section in his/her article.

      Whether published by CNN or by BellaNaija or twitter, the vast majority of online reactions we’re seeing so far continue to expose our very Nigerian perspective, my dear sis or bros.

  25. Chinelo

    April 25, 2018 at 8:21 am

    My role model, carry go dear..you are too much

  26. mz_daniels

    April 25, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Okay, I actually agree that people took Chimamanda’s words out of context. Her point isn’t different from what pastors and older people tell us ‘to discover and fall in love with ourselves first because relationships aren’t the ultimate.’ Chimamanda tried to bring to light the fact that one of the most powerful women in America still felt the need to be described as wife even when the said husband who has stepped out on the union in disgraceful ways still didn’t feel the need to be described as husband.

    That said, CNA rubs me the wrong way, I believe she is a very condescending person and an intellectual snob (I don’t know her personally, only read her books)

    CNA strikes me as someone who has a bone to pick with females who are very feminine (her Americanah novel gave me that impression; to me Ifemelu taking back Obinze from his wife was her way of creating a world where the more assertive, not so mainstream female wins). The statement on Beyonce’s feminism is also another point (funny as I’m not a fan of Beyonce).

    She also strikes me as an unwise person (i didn’t say unintelligent or inarticulate, I said wise) because wisdom helps you take the best decisions for present and future purposes. She is a novelist, write more books. The fact that you made a ted talk doesn’t make you the poster child of the feminist struggle as frankly you don’t really know everything about the struggles of women as they differ. no one can know the struggles of every woman; a woman in business faces different struggles from a woman in the corporate world. A woman in the STEM field faces different struggles from a woman in marketing communications. Even in the world of marketing communications which I’m in, I faced different struggles as a client services (account management) personnel from females in the creative teams and now as a marketing manager in an fmcg, the struggles differ from when I was in an Agency.

    If i were CNA, I would have responded with tact and said something like

    ‘I understand how my point of view could have been misconstrued owing to the difference in culture, however i wanted to address the situation with HC because it bothered me as she was someone I admired greatly and I felt if it could bother me that much with my strong convictions, a young girl somewhere else in the world would have been more bothered and so i took the bold step to ask that question not just for me but for every female who in the world and I’m sure HC understood. To the friend who says i am her family, I do know we were classmates in primary school and I’m grateful that you considered our relationship then to be akin to the family type despite how much time has passed, one thing I love about us Nigerians, strong sense of family. but nne, sister to sister, I felt bad when i read your write-up oh, you don’t drag a sister like that no matter how wrong I am; in a lot of ways i’m probably still that girl in primary school and i bruise sometimes.’

    Stop telling people they lack critical skills ati be be lo. We can all possess some degree of tact.

    • Dee

      April 25, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hi Mz Daniels! I hereby appoint you as my friend 🙂

    • nametalkam

      April 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Mz Daniels, you have demonstrated the difference between knowledge and wisdom! God bless you my sister!

    • Dear mz_daniels

      April 25, 2018 at 9:48 am

      you get time shaa

    • Cynical

      April 25, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Please,also give mz_daniels a cold drink.

    • AdaAda

      April 25, 2018 at 11:13 am

      mz_daniels, your head dey there! I hope CNA reads your comment and learns from it. Well done!

    • ceetoo

      April 25, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Nice response… and just maybe that is the approach she should have taken
      However easier said than done when you are in the eye of the storm… also sometimes yes just sometimes people need a little of their own medicine, not everytime goodie goodie.

    • tunmi

      April 25, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      You want her to be nice. She doesn’t want to be nice

    • Curious

      April 25, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Not surprised a Nigerian female wrote this. Y’all are masters at cowering and pretending to be humble and gentle, but are entirely far from it in reality. CNA is staying true to herself; if she feels someone (or some people) is/are shallow, puerile and petty, she calling you/them out! Simples! And I love and applaud her for it. It’s about time for women to start basking in their truth. So please go and cower no more!

    • Manny

      April 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      There was nothing wrong with Chimamanda’s question or that she even said she was upset. Maybe Nigerians find it strange because of our culture.
      I find it upsetting when people that I admire compromise even though I know that most times, compromise makes the road easy.
      That being said, going by Chimamanda’s antecedents, I wonder how she would have responded if the question had been directed at her. I bet she would have given a salty response like she did with the French journalist. When she was dismissive of “Post Colonial Theory”, it seemed funny but you dare not be dismissive of the things SHE believes in.

  27. beecee

    April 25, 2018 at 9:14 am

    she has become a god unto herself. All knowing and perfect in all her ways. Kontinue miss, keep breathing. Pride goes before a huge thunderous fall.

    • Curious

      April 25, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Common shatap with your useless doomsday predictions! She’ll keep soaring while you watch in amazement. Yes, she is a god! god of delicious clapbacks! If you want your own, go and collect from her, I heard she is serving it hot.

  28. Ezinne

    April 25, 2018 at 9:29 am

    When people will attack the person than the issues. When people will refuse to get a full picture and dissect issues intellectually, then this is the response you get. I read the transcript, watched the video, I understood her point totally because she attacks the issues I’m currently going through in my own life. A woman wanting to further her education but her dad tells her to go and marry. To grow out her hair and dress more attractively to attract a man. He literally told me, ambition is good o, but what use is it under a man. I can relate to the question, I was curious also when I first came across Hilarys Bio. A good question was asked and a good answer was given. Not everyone will always agree with your point of view. Not everyone can truly relate to the struggle. Weldome CNA.

    • Cocoa

      April 25, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Im sorry you’re going through this. I pray you see that those of us who do not agree are not trying to say your struggle is irrelevant.

      I also pray that your struggle doesnt make you demonize marriage and the joys of being a wife to a worthy husband.

      If ever you decide you want to be married (because it is your decision to make) I pray you marry a man who believes you are both EQUAL.

      But remember what is a struggle to you can very well be joy to another. There is no one voice that speaks for all women.

    • mimi

      April 25, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      what steps are you taking in getting what you want? who would be paying for the degree/certificate? what are those things you’ve achieved that you are proud of? what conversations do you have with your dad? these are just a few questions I suggest you think about. Don’t go all defensive and feel like its a you against him thing, put yourself in his shoes and try to see why he could be saying all that, making him see your side too. It’s you in your family, there are families where its the boy. Many women already feel they are at a disadvantage, self-inflicted pressure I call it. I believe learning how to ‘manage’ people is a necessary skill to get ahead in this world.
      Though I’m having similar experience, it’s not a Nigerian/ African thing, it happens everywhere. Now, I don’t agree with someone getting upset about how another person chooses to be identified.

  29. Curious

    April 25, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Please all of you should go and have several seats with your nonsense “intellectual snobbery and elitism” chants. No one cares! Brilliant people clap back proper! If you come for an intelligent person, they will school you eloquently; that is what separates them from regular folk. Some people are just born smarter and greater, deal with it; if you find you can’t deal though, take it up with your God. CNA is not Toke Makinwa nor any other garden-variety celebrity y’all love to chat crap about. If you know you do not like looking stupid, stop inducing it by poking people like CNA. No one should have to communicate differently for fear of being branded elitist! Abeg y’all GTFOH with your victim and persecution complexes!

    • Hey

      April 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Kpom kwem!!!!✊?✊?????

  30. John

    April 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

    What a condescending tone!!!

    Suddenly, the woman that criticised her is now an unnamed person that lacks critical thinking and lazy ( whatever that means).

    So basically she is wailer.

    Such pride and ego!!!

    kai!!

    Why do black people have this kind of mentally. No matter how exposed you may think the person is.

    This is actually the kind of insulting and disdain statement you will expect from the likes of deplorables such as Lauretta onochie or Lia muhammed or any of buhari aides and APc Government.

    Chimamda is now behaving like Nigerian pastors with her minions egging her on( no matter how wrong) ( ride on pastor).

    Their word is law..if you are not part of us ..you are going to hell ( mentality).

    Let her continue…As I said previously. .she is not the first and won’t be the last.

  31. Funms

    April 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Buhari/APC! Come and see what you have caused o!!!

  32. Kemi shine shine

    April 25, 2018 at 11:04 am

    @mz.Daniel.His I wish you re on her team. ‘Things’ would have been written ‘wisely’. Bravo sis!

  33. Hey

    April 25, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Intellectually Savage!!!
    I just love CNA nnem supu i liro ego ugwo akwukwo gi.

    It’s okay for others to be condescending and outright disrespectful but once she talks everyone screams Bloody Murder!!!!

    She has every right to air her opinion which she did politely but its wrong for us to critic her in such an abusive manner, “You don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat”- lil wayne. This was the perfect response to this whole debacle.

    She is not a politician, model or an entertainer she is a writer. A writer’s job is to stir you make you think beyond the boundaries, shake the very foundations of the things you believe and it is safe to say that she has.

    Nnem jisike, onye nwe anyi gba gi ume.
    Keep shaking the table.

    • whocares

      April 25, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      EXACTLY!! I don’t know where people got the idea that they can say whatever they want, as rudely as they want to anyone a public figure) and when they get the well appropriate response, it becomes – “oh she should have walked away, be more graceful, oh she is condescending.. and every other form of bs. You came for an intelligent woman!! I don’t believe she is supposed to hold back in her response. You came for her, what you get after that is on you. The person could have asked in a way that was non offensive- a “why do you think it matters so much if wife came first”. that is another way to prolong the conversation and for both sides to get their point across. But noooo, emotionally stunted individuals who lack basic communication skills will talk rudely, and everyone expects the response to be gracious ALL the time? Feck that! Sometimes people need to be put in their place, and reminded that- “I am not the one to allow rude talk go unchecked” and that is what Chimamanda did.

    • Grace

      April 25, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      She isn’t shaking the table, she is pissing people off and creating a reputation for herself as someone who just loves the sound of her own voice. During the interview with the french lady, we applauded her clapback, we could have just said the interviewer was asking questions.

      This response is all shades of wrong and is detracting from her brand. Case in point, you just mentioned her and lil wayne in the same write-up. Would that ever happen if she has respected herself?

      This condescending, constantly abrasive tone is annoying.

      She is pissing everyone off; the whites, the transgenders and now Nigerians (who should be her option as we no dey throway pikin). Keep edging her on oh.

      The igbos say na sweet tongue snake take dey pass forest and nothing chook am.

      We also say ‘nwata kuwe onu, o si n’ogwa okenye n’iru ya’. when a child says the abominable, he says he told an elder to his/her face.

      Keep encouraging her to shake the table she’s standing on, I hope you’ll be there to catch her when she eventually falls of

    • Engoz

      April 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Hey, Can you imagine?
      The People who have been condescending to this lady, attacked the dynamics of her family online for TWO DAYS straight, are now talking about her tone being condescending?
      Can you imagine the illogical, hypocritical effrontery? These people CAN kill.
      They’ve been shouting choice, but Nigerians have NEVER accorded Chimamanda the choice to her beliefs. Choice (which they actually do not understand) was never their anger, it was that they felt threatened by the concept of ‘wife’ not being an achievement, lmao! If a woman decides to be a prostitute today, these are the people that will attack her choice. If a man decides to be gay, these are the same people that will not only attack his choice but call for his assassination. I hope no one is falling for their pilfering and armed robber tendencies to hijack the FEMINIST principle of choice. They are a FRAUD!

    • Hey

      April 25, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Lil Wayne is human, it’s snobbish and condesending of you to think that using a quote from his song to make a point about CNA is being disrespectful.
      You don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat, you don’t attack someone and expect smiles with a pat on the back.
      Just as people are screaming bloody murder over her response, thats how she feels when some individuals hide behind a keyboard to write such mumbo jumbo.
      So please lets all take a glass of wine or beer or cold stone ice cream and chill.

  34. nnenne

    April 25, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Don’t let anyone shut you up CNA! Questions are meant to be asked!

  35. omomo

    April 25, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    mz daniel ,weezy and jummy one iPhone x each for you .(in tontos voice).hehehe

  36. Olori Tobi

    April 25, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Hahahhaha Chi baby my baby, ride on jare!!!
    I’ve always longed for her to reply like this – she’s truly Naija, she’s just like us, see shade!!
    I can picture her fuming, speaking Igbo and writing this clapback, hahahha.
    Don’t know why y’all are upset, the shade is not for us Nigerians naa, it’s for the ‘unnamed person’ she can vaguely remember from primary school, who can never be family and who has never read a book lol. At first I thought it was for the Blessing Abeng open letter or Daddy Freeze but seems it’s a whole new person whose comments really got to her. Biko, unnamed person, show ya face, write ya own and reply asap!
    Since BBNaija ended, we need something new to occupy our time, yes?
    At least this one is an intellectually worthy drama.
    Hahah wey my popcorn ?

    p.s – Tobi, I’m still waiting for you.

  37. Engoz

    April 25, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Appropriate response befitting the lazy and shallow Nigerian demographic. E pain dem o. Very shallow and lazy sets of inferior human beings, lmao. When you know your truth, you do not cower in submission to simpletons. Applause!!!

    • kricksc

      April 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Your earlier responses concerning CNA really helped me get where she was coming from. The link you posted, excellent. Thank you ??

    • Ephi

      April 25, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Inferior?

  38. kramer

    April 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Ehmm, why is she targeting Nigerians?? As far as I know she’s getting backlash from everyone else not just Nigerians, go online and you’ll see… I guess Nigerians are just easy to pick on.

    From Buhari to this woman.

    I don’t know why people are taking her serious.Chimamanda is a fictional writer. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is no need putting her on a pedestal. She has not added any extraordinary values to humanity.

  39. whocares

    April 25, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    When I grow up, i want to be just like Chimamanda!!! I read this response earlier on FB and every inch of me was screaming “preach sister! preach!!”. I think she asked a honest question and one i would have wondered about myself if i saw it. Words are important; the order it is used, the contexts, everything- and she asked that question in the spirit of genuine openness and to foster conversation- how difficult is it to understand that?!!!!

  40. lilo

    April 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Her response is condescending and rather insolent. Wa wa ok Chichi

  41. Chimamanda, this is a non issue biko. People did not watch nor read but reacted from their personal insecurities as usual.

    We are solidly behind you, not just us but millions of people, generations yet unborn will rely on your labour of love. Being female, black and one who asks questions is a big deal!!!

    World changers get criticised all the time, but as an artiste’s note that the worst reaction to your words is no reaction at all. Excessively positive reaction is to be suspected, Criticism is very much welcome, those from genuine tried and tested icons of change o, not those from people who did not even read to understand, people who still fall for blatant gradeschool level stunts like a ‘ pick and choose headline’, and other public manipulations.

    Tolkien suffered, GRRM went through the grind. Maria D Russel’s THE SPARROW was criticised because she as an author was boxed as being a religious female inspite of her accomplishments in the literary and science world.

    You are in great company, keep speaking and living your truth. Humanity truly depends on it

    . It wiill be unpleasant for you as it is for us, lovers of your work, but at the end, your steadfastness will relflect in a culture that is changed for the better. GRRM did not see his work of art causing this much change in pop culture and he isnt done yet!!!

    WE STAND BY YOU ESPECIALLY IN TRYING YOUR TIMES, KEEP MAKING THEM UNCOMFORTABLE, KEEP WINNING!!

  42. tunmi

    April 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    lmao condescending abi.

    At least you’re honest in saying you don’t like her.

  43. ORGA WALTER

    April 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    DINO down, OMO AGEGE untouchable, only in animal farm.

  44. mariadrussel'sthesparrow

    April 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Chimamanda, this is a non issue biko. People did not watch nor read but reacted from their personal insecurities as usual.

    We are solidly behind you, not just us but millions of people, generations yet unborn will rely on your labour of love. Being female, black and one who asks questions is a big deal!!!

    World changers get criticised all the time, but as an artiste’s note that the worst reaction to your words is no reaction at all. Excessively positive reaction is to be suspected, Criticism is very much welcome, those from genuine tried and tested icons of change o, not those from people who did not even read to understand, people who still fall for blatant gradeschool level stunts like a ‘ pick and choose headline’, and other public manipulations.

    Tolkien suffered, GRRM went through the grind. Maria D Russel’s THE SPARROW was criticised because she as an author was boxed as being a religious female inspite of her accomplishments in the literary and science world.

    You are in great company, keep speaking and living your truth. Humanity truly depends on it

    . It wiill be unpleasant for you as it is for us, lovers of your work, but at the end, your steadfastness will relflect in a culture that is changed for the better. GRRM did not see his work of art causing this much change in pop culture and he isnt done yet!!!

    We stand by you, especially in your trying times. Keep making them uncomfy! Keep winning!

  45. lol

    April 25, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    the response was pride. that’s it.

  46. sherri

    April 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Very CNA!
    I hope on those eerily melancholic days which some of us are wont to have, she continues to know she can only be her authentic self. When they call her condescending, arrogant, snobbish, rude and a host of others it’s the usual schoolyard lameness of labeling or kicking whatever you don’t understand.
    She should not have to edit her every thought as she does her writing for fear of offending when no offense is meant..

  47. Me

    April 25, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Her pointedly reserving her address for “Nigerians” is at best cowardice and at worst sad… bandy around impressive words like mysogynist, shallow and throw in a few Igbo phrases to demonstrate your righteous indignation and humility, but fact is you are far worse… an unintended consequence of colonialism.

  48. Laetitia Chukwumah

    April 26, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I have not watched the interview nor did I read the criticism but I am a Nigerian and at my age, I can claim to know Nigeria. I can hear one side of the story and balance. All I want to say is, well replied. That reply oozed with class and education. Well done. I am assured that Nigeria still has what it takes to be brilliant. We used to be brilliant until.…..we suddenly found ourselves with half baked educational systems in the country as well as semi Democratic systems too in the political systems. Please, I am a fan of yours and besides I love your name both for the meaning and how it sounds. You don’t mind if I take on that name. I am a few months older than Nigeria. But I love a wise youth like you. Keep on keeping on as we used to say in the 70s. God’s blessings always.

  49. Peaches77

    April 26, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Somebody asked a question (an important one in my opinion) very politely to a person she clearly adores (i’m not sure I can be that awed by anyone), and the person so warmly and graciously answers providing insight and context to the background, even accepting to edit her Twitter bio (whether jokes or not). Nigerians are up in arms, I even read a so-called journalist saying that CNA will lead women to hell ??? O Chim oo!
    Its either we are quick to make categorical comments without getting all our facts right or we just hate questions, or maybe we aren’t comfortable with confident and bold women…. look don’t shout, sometimes it’s even subconscious. Check ya sef oo if all you can do is abuse CNA because of this interview.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 26, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      All three of the above, my sister. Resounding “yes!” to all flipping three of your questions.

      Case in point. Visited the bank today, standing in a queue with others behind me. Some absolutely silly man sauntered into our midst and slotted himself at the front of the queue. Bank official says to him, “oga there is a queue”, he turn around and starts blustering about how we didn’t look like we were in a queue (in spite of the fact we were standing in front of each other oh) and therefore he didn’t see the need to stand in line. I turned around incredulous and asked him how this change we keep shouting about is supposed to magically happen when we ourselves are so averse to law and order?

      His response – “That is why you cannot stay in a man’s house”.

      That was the end of the argument for him. And the only way he could handle a woman calling out his shenanigans.

      Nigeria. What a waste of space we’re turning out to be.

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