Whether you were at the event physically or you attended via social media, all of us were definitely a part of the Black Panther – Wakanda Forever African premiere. The mind-blowing, extravagant, pulchritudinous, theatrical attires? Oh my gosh! They were one for the books.
I spent my Sunday night refreshing the BellaNaija Instagram page to see who wore what, and I was blown away; Nigerian celebrities brought their A-game to the premiere. From the attire to the attitudes, the photoshoots, and the fierceness – people ate!
So imagine my surprise when I got to Twitter to see people mocking celebrities’ outfits and talking about how oversabi is what is killing us in this country.
Someone I know said many of the outfits were ridiculous. After all, it was a movie premiere, not a carnival, not a festival, not an Ojuju ball, not the MET Gala. The person said the outfits didn’t ooze class, instead, they screamed of desperation and the Nigerian celebrities’ innate need to show off and try to outdo one another. On social media, someone asked, “you mean these people dressed like this and then sat in the cinema to watch a movie?” – much to the amusement of their followers.
I have a different opinion. But first, let me be honest: I did find some of the outfits risible. Then the misspelling of Chadwick Boseman‘s name and the ‘what’s your name’ question?” Ah, I almost died of second-hand embarrassment. But here’s something about second-hand embarrassment: they are man-made construes. Ever seen someone who has no shame? Nothing can shake that person. While you are reeling in the embarrassment of a situation, the person is probably just screaming omo and laughing their head off. Those who have refused to wear other people’s cloaks of ignominy realise that a person’s misyarn is not on them. Na you wan bear the shame wey no be your own.
Don’t let me digress. There are many things that make us Nigerians, and one of them is our extravagance, especially when it comes to dressing. Have you seen an average Owambe party? There’s gele like satellite dish, different aso-ebi styles, and makeup that sparkles. Nigerians know how to turn up hard, and our celebrities are no different. When they turn up for events, They. Turn. Up, and then turn heads. The colours, the slay, the attitude, and the vibe is usually on point. They give and bring their all. They eat and leave no crumbs. It is in their nature to slay and slay hard. And let me be frank, I’m down for this extraness. So why should a Black Panther: Wakanda Forever African premiere be any different?
We’ve had movie premieres that our celebrities went hard for – The Woman King, Brotherhood, e.t.c – naturally, I was expecting these looks. Did we overdo it? I’d leave that for the BN Style editors to decide, hehe.
There is something amusing about the way we compare ourselves to other countries (and people), especially the western world, using them as a yardstick for what should and shouldn’t be for us. We see it all the time. You can complain about something in Nigeria and some people would go “even in the US, that is how it is.” So? When did the US – or any country – become the standard for what should or shouldn’t be in Nigeria? I saw a lot of such comparisons after the premiere. People put the photos of the actors and the invitees side-by-side with captions like, “the actors VS the invitees,” “even the main people no do reach like this.” People gushed over how simply the actors dressed and how Nigerian celebrities outdressed them.
Comparisons are good, but certain comparisons are a reflection of how we see ourselves, and how we think other people’s choices or cultures are better than ours. The actors choosing to dress a certain way should have no bearing on how Nigerians turn up for the premiere; they are not the determinants of the Nigerian celebrity dress culture. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a superhero film, so if our celebrities choose to journey to Wakanda with their outfits, let them.
When it comes to movie premieres in Nigeria, there’s only one rule: come big or don’t come at all. I made that up, by the way.