Uche Jombo’s ‘Social Media Slays’ And The Life We Know

Uche Jombo’s ‘Social Media Slays’ And The Life We Know

Through some WhatsApp interactions, I got to learn of a new web series produced by the actress, Uche Jombo, which shows on Nvivo TV. And as these things are wont to do, it was especially because the series, which is anthological, has a gay episode that I got to know about it.

So, I downloaded the Nvivo TV app and sought out the web series. It is called Social Media Slays (SMS). And the episode dedicated to LGBT representation is Episode 3 titled “Eccentric”. (I should have known that the oddity of such a title would be a precursor for more displeasures to come.)

The episode is about 11 minutes long. And the story begins with an older man who stops a young man going about his business to, well, basically chyke him. From the lingering handshake to the compliment about the younger guy’s looks, it is immediately evident that the older man is gay. And thirsty.

The meeting ends with him requesting for the younger guy’s number. [I didn’t get their names, so I’m just going to refer to them as OM (older man) and YG (younger guy)]

Next, we see YG fretting in the company of his friend (YGF, for younger guy’s friend). Apparently, OM had been bombarding him with insinuations of his interest in him, and YG who is straight, is not here for all that. “I don’t have anything against gay people,” he protests to his friend. “It’s just that I’m not gay.”

His friend is however dismissive of his aggravations as he is more interested in the bigger picture, which is to use OM’s affections to their advantage. The seed is sown when after encouraging YG to text OM that his data is finished and he needs to recharge with 3,500-naira, OM sends airtime of 5000 naira. With some hesitation, YG allows himself to be persuaded by his friend to make use of this “opportunity”.

The next scene is the only one I enjoyed in the episode – where OM is lunching with YG, who is now committed to the character of the gay guy who likes OM as much as OM likes him. He is flirtatious and giggly, acting all girly with his limp-wristed gestures to keep up with his sudden homosexuality. (Quite stereotypical, in my opinion, but I can understand why this was filmed like this.) And as they lunch, OM is going on and on about being based abroad and how he visits Nigeria for business, and how he could take YG on a trip overseas if he is interested and has an international passport. YG is so giddy with greedy delight, that he mutters to himself something about he “don hammer”. OM hears the mumbling and asks what he said, to which YG gives an airy excuse accompanied by another girly laugh. (I actually chuckled at this.)

Then lunch is interrupted by another one of YG’s friends, who comes over to their table to say hi. YG, sensing disaster, quickly hustles the friend away from the table, out of earshot of OM, where the friend promptly begins to ask why YG was acting so effeminate back at the table. YG tells him that the lunch is an audition and he is playing a character for the man at the table, who is a filmmaker. The friend, who I can only assume is himself an aspiring actor, asks YG to link him up and makes to return to the table to reestablish his acquaintanceship with OM. But YG shuts him down swiftly and sends him on his way, before sashaying back to the table – the sashay which is for OM’s benefit.

Next, we see YG return home from the day he’s had with OM to meet YGF. He is saddled with shopping bags; OM is apparently quite the generous man. YG is still so pleased with how things are going with OM, and recounts to YGF how OM wants to take him overseas. He adds that OM “is not even interested in sex”. (LOL.) Soon however, the two friends begin to quarrel when YGF expresses his interest in getting his own cut.

Then YG visits OM. (I want to say it’s his home that YG came to, but the room whose door YG knocked on before entering at OM’s invitation had a bed on it. So then, maybe it’s a hotel.) YG is very fidgety, and after flinching a few times from OM’s touch, he finally blurts out the truth to OM – that he is into girls. To which OM replies, “You never told me you are a bisexual.” (LOL. Oh, OM, however did you become an abroad-based businessman with powers of comprehension like this?) YG clarifies that he is just into girls and not ever into guys, essentially admitting that he lied to OM.

So, OM, evidently displeased, picks up his phone and makes a very short phone call. Now feeling very uncomfortable and wanting to be anywhere else but there, YG makes for the door. But the door opens and a beefy-looking man steps in. clearly, OM’s bodyguard or something.

The bodyguard backs a visibly-distressed YG into a corner, where he kneels and starts begging OM, telling him that he had to do what he did, because country hard. After blabbing a litany of woes, he takes another frightened look at the bodyguard, takes in his hefty build, swallows hard and slumps against the wall.

And there, the episode ended.

After watching this, I found myself feeling very, VERY resistant to the story. You see, I’m not one of those LGBT Nigerians who has a “let us manage this one” mindset about the scraps of remotely-positive representation we get in the media and movie industry.

I never settle. Whenever Nollywood decides to tell a story about my community, I expect that story to exist accurately – or not at all.

And Nollywood generally has a thing for not bothering with research or consultation when it comes to some of the stories the industry tells. And so, when it especially comes to stories of the LGBT community – stories which, on a good day, the industry is reluctant to tell with empathy and sensitivity – one ends up with a film whose depictions of gay people are either caricatural or so inaccurate, you, the viewer, have to pause and wonder if you’ve been living your gay life wrong the whole time you’ve been alive.

And so, when I watched this episode of Social Media Slays, I could not roll my eyes hard enough.

First of all, I wondered where sugar daddies like OM are. Gay older men who live abroad and visit Nigeria so they can chyke young men and whisk them off to the overseas on shopping trips, all the while not being interested in sex. All you have to do is look pretty, flirt with them and keep them company. Do these men exist? Cos I’d sure love to meet them. God knows giving sex for favours is a very hectic affair. If I can just meet someone who wants the pleasure of my company and none of the sex, then I’ll be good. If you’re reading this and you’re one such person, please slide into my DM. I give very good, ahem, conversation.

Another part of the story I was very resistant to is the insinuation that opportunistic straight men who prey on gay men are really just good guys who wouldn’t do what they do if not for the country’s hard times. Forgive my cynicism, but that is a load of horseshit. In my experience, straight people who see gay people as an opportunity for a better life do not grow a conscience. They are unscrupulous and soulless, whether they are scheming their way through or using aggression to get what they want from the situation involving the gay person. Why, it was on this forum that I published a riveting story told by Jude Idada. A true story he told of someone he knows who went to great, very dishonest lengths to secure a citizenship in Canada using the LGBT narrative.

Some months ago, a heterosexual friend of mine told me the story of a homophobic friend of his who approached him with a proposition for the two of them to fake a gay relationship that they could use to get visas out of Nigeria.

Two Christmases ago, a friend of mine (a gay friend in fact) based overseas sought me out to help him tutor his friend (his straight friend, if you can imagine) who is in Nigeria on the ways of life and struggles of gay Nigerians living in Nigeria. This friend of mine had spent too many years abroad to know how to educate his friend, and because the plan they had to secure an asylum for that straight friend had to appear authentic, they needed a very Nigerian gay person to do the tutoring. (Let’s just say things didn’t end well between all three of us. I came out of that situation feeling a great disappointment for my friend.)

And let’s not even open the can of worms that are the numerous, unrelenting kito stories that plague us right here in Nigeria.

There is too much advantage being taken of gay Nigerians by our heterosexual countrymen for me to buy the story that Uche Jombo is telling with this episode of her web series – that when they start using us, they can stop because they’re simply good people who’ve grown a conscience.

Miss me with that bullshit!

Finally, I found it incredibly amusing (and not in a ha-ha way) when OM rang up a bodyguard to come rough up the poor, hapless straight boy who lied to him. This scenario misrepresents our struggles in the Nigerian gay clime by implying that in an adversarial situation between gay and straight Nigerians, the gays have power. That when we are confronted with an injustice, we have a cavalry to call up to help us push back. That our response to unfairness is a heavy show of force. That we have the muscle to get our oppressors to their knees.

This lie from the very pits of hell is so obvious, I wonder how it made its way from down there up into a movie script. Even for the affluent gay Nigerian, this is rarely the case. The gay Nigerian, when he finds himself in a contentious situation like this, is almost always more concerned with making the “problem” go away. He doesn’t want to cause a fuss. He wants to be quiet. He is more invested in the security of his closet, in the situation not getting out of hand so that ears belonging to his family and friends could hear about it. If he learns that the guy leading him on is not only not into him but is straight and was using him, all he wants to do in response is to eject the guy from his life as “safely” as possible.

And very often, he doesn’t get what he wants. A resolution of such a mess would always end up costing him something dear. His security. His anonymity. His material possessions. His wellbeing. At the end of the day, the gay Nigerian always comes out of this type of situation losing something, instead of overpowering the other.

This episode not only misses its mark by how inaccurately it depicts the way gay people interact in Nigeria, but it fails to align itself with the message if its title, Social Media Slays – which is supposed to establish how problematic it is for one to represent themselves falsely in public or to other people. The only consequence of YG’s lie was a potential roughing up by OM’s bodyguard, and that is neither realistic nor grave enough to serve as a deterrent for those who live audio lives.

I haven’t seen the other episodes of this web series – which is available on Nvivo TV – but this episode rates at a 1 out of 5 for me, and even that is because it managed to get a chuckle out of me when I watched the scene where the straight young man was playing at being a homosexual.

Written by Pink Panther

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20 Comments

  1. Francis
    January 03, 07:03 Reply

    Nigeria has really messed you sha 🤣🤣🤣🤣. For me it was just okay and I had no issues with tbe storyline as it’s tiring reading news about we in the victims corner.

    I’d like to believe things like this happens in Nigeria. Some gay people are that influential dem no send you message. Do mistake talk about am for public and risk disappearing the next day. No be Naija we dey again. Have your plenty money and you’d have the security agents etc in ya pocket.

    • Pink Panther
      January 03, 07:14 Reply

      Oh believe me. I’m not about the life where our stories get told showing us as victims. but I believe that there’s a way to tell LGBT stories without depicting us as victims all the while also telling a story that’s very relatable,

      • trystham
        January 03, 08:44 Reply

        There are stories where we are shown as victims? I’d love to see those o.
        This one fuels the notion that gay guys are mobile money trees and pawing perverts. Its not hard to connect these notions and the excuses kitoers present

  2. Faxero
    January 03, 07:45 Reply

    I understand what Pink Panther is trying to say about the series. When something is misinterpreted by someone who has no understanding, those who understand, see it as offensive.
    The interpretation of the gay community, especially in Nigeria, is very important. Films producers ought to get their understanding right and do a background check. The stereotype of the effeminate male being gay is so rampant in society whereby people believe that no gay man is manly.
    Those queer people in the industry have failed to change the narrative by using their position to portray the true story of the gay community in Nigeria.
    Well, it appear to be a movie which is fiction, but we should always have it in mind that movies are made to believe in the views and understandings of the audience.
    Pink Panther, I want to speak to you about something. I will appreciate if you reach me through my mail.

  3. Mitch
    January 03, 08:11 Reply

    “…straight people who see gay people as an opportunity for a better life do not grow a conscience. They are unscrupulous and soulless, whether they are scheming their way through or using aggression to get what they want from the situation involving the gay person…”

    This, right here, is the fucking gospel!

    I sincerely wonder who the fools are that wrote that web series for her. Especially this shitload of an episode.

    For starters, NOT ALL GAY PEOPLE ARE EFFEMINATE!!!! I can’t hammer on this enough. Nollywood has this very degrading way of presenting the effeminacy of a gay man. Add that to their working stereotype of gay people being limp wristed, cross-dressing, hyper effeminate fucks and my grouse with the representation of homosexuals in Nollywood skyrockets to a peak.

    Plus the deliberate cognitive dissonance. How does anyone, in all honesty, being fully aware of the homophobic hell this country is (and please don’t tell me Uche Jombo doesn’t know. They don’t live in a fucking bubble. They know!!!), dare to misrepresent the struggles of the gay man in the face of opportunistic heterosexuals? Just how?

    Everytime they peddle this crappy insinuation that gay people are the ones with the power, they worsen our lives. Because unfortunate fools who don’t have two brain cells to rub against each other would start to see gay people as a source of income. The range of deviousness would vary from the more benign misleading till they get cash from you, to the very debilitating and life-threatening violent kitos we know about. These fools we call filmmakers are fucked up enablers of the violence we face. And, honest to God, I’m fucking tired of them.

    Plus, Pink Panther, if you can lay your hands on hard evidence of what your ‘friend’ wanted you to do for his heterosexual friend, please take it to the embassy or consulate of the country he resides in. Show them how he intended to dupe their government by presenting a heterosexual person as a gay one, thus showing flagrant disregard for the country’s laws. Hopefully, that’d be enough to get his stupid ass deported. Ya bia biri na this homophobic hell that is Nigeria. Then we’d know whether that nonsense benevolence would save him from the homophobia here. Ewu Dothraki that he is!

    • Pink Panther
      January 03, 08:26 Reply

      This!!! All of your comment!!!

      You even added more of what I wanted to say. This depiction of us with power is such a dangerous misrepresentation where the reality is just the opposite. And if more of Nollywood starts peddling this falsehood, it creates a narrative that benefits nobody that’s LGBT living in Nigeria. Maybe the affluent minority, but certainly not the community as a whole.

      • Higwe
        January 03, 10:52 Reply

        Pink P , do not let this nigga lead you to the path of rancour .

        As long as you’re not aiding the so called friend in his quest , don’t go reporting anyone .

        If they are meant to be found out , they’ll be .
        Someway , somehow they’ll pay for their duplicitous act .

        *****************
        I have absolutely no right to tell you the kind of friends you should keep , you’re a grown ass man 4 4ucksake, but one thing I know about negative and toxic people is that they end up infesting and infecting everything around them ….with no casualties taken.

        Toxicity is like a virus and it’s always on the lookout for a new host and just like a quintessential virus – proximity is its surefire ammunition .

        You’re a good man and believe it or not I actually care about you .

        ****************

        I know you will probably retort with something offish ; vilipend ; dismissive…. you’re rather quite predictable .

        I don’t really care , I said what I said .

        Mitch gives me the creeps and I don’t even know him well .

        There is just something tenebrific and eldritch about him that gives the feel of a potential mass shooter or a suicide bomber.

        Like he has afreet locked inside of him and most times he can’t help himself .

        Then again I could be wrong …maybe it’s just my dislike for him speaking. 🤷🏼‍♂️

        Just be safe and don’t get yourself involved in things you shouldn’t be getting yourself involved in.

        • Mitch
          January 03, 11:07 Reply

          Point of correction: You don’t know me at all.
          But go off!
          🤡

        • Audrey
          January 03, 16:28 Reply

          Higwe my cute well built friend a happy new year to you…

          Nnam don’t you think that this thing going on between you and Mitch is lingering too long or don’t you think that us hating OURSELVES would be doing the community more harm than good?

          See,it’s okay to disagree on some issues and even in some situations fight about it but c’mon we need to be as united as we can to bring about the much sort freedom we desire.I understand we have our favourites here but even in the midst of doing so we shouldn’t lose sight of the vision which I think is uniting us all as family and giving everyone one of us a sense of belonging.

          Higwe Dearie(You know you owe me nack) and Mitch I ask you both sheath your sword and kiss,make up and forget whatever it is you both have going on.

          Maybe just MAYBE we get a happily ever after love story from you both.I love you all and would be glad we continue the year as one BIG,PEACEFUL and HAPPY family.Cheers

  4. Higwe
    January 03, 10:13 Reply

    The fact Uche Jumbo is a well known bisexual herself.

    *Preying on young upcoming actresses during the dominance of Asabawood *

    Involved in lesbian trysts with lots of her A list colleagues ( some still thriving to this day )

    Married /was married to a white dude .

    Possibly acquainted with a lot of gays that do not serve these whimsical stereotypes and laughable media representation .

    Well traveled .

    Well informed .

    …and I presume ” Intelligent ” seeing that she’s such a success .

    You’d think she’ll know better .🤦🏽‍♂️

    You’d think she’ll represent her own people better .

    Smh.

  5. Uzor
    January 03, 11:34 Reply

    Truth is, you people’s nollywood casts gay characters for comic relief. That’s why that Umar Krupp Ghanaian boy is flourishing cause he know how to overdo effeminacy. Until your nollywood takes us serious enough to portray us as real, three dimensional characters, we’ll continue to be portrayed as the clowns that reduces the level of seriousness in the movie or distracts you from a trash plot

    • Pink Panther
      January 03, 12:33 Reply

      Lol. He says it’s “you people’s Nollywood”. Abeg I’m not a stakeholder o.

      • Uzor
        January 03, 13:35 Reply

        Ahh, me I’m not a Nigerian oh (mentally of course) I identify as Canadian 😂😂😂😂😂 so nollywood belongs to you people

  6. Rosey
    January 03, 18:05 Reply

    Totally unrelated to the post but somehow, i kept reading YG as Yahoo Guy. lol

  7. Tristan
    January 05, 03:23 Reply

    It’s hilarious and offensive really. How can you see a very masculine guy only for him to become effeminate overnight? I mean, wasn’t his looks and mannerisms the first things that attracted him to you in the first place? The makers of this film are so dumb.

  8. Absalom
    January 05, 05:50 Reply

    Uche Jombo is useless. Shouldn’t you tag her on Twitter?

  9. flexsterous
    January 05, 14:10 Reply

    I completely disagree with you all about your analysis, just because it isn’t prevalent doesn’t make it a misrepresentation by the series. I read on this very platform where a guy who was kitoed got his hands on a gay police DPO’s number who in turn got other gay police men involved and got a resounding justice for him, so there are absolutely gay people who are in positions of power and not victims. And as per the aspect of effeminacy, there’s a reason it’s a stereotype because most effeminate men are gay and this narrative is even peddled by gay men who do not accept Shawn mended as a straight man. Therefore the average straight person believes it and that’s why YB played to it. A Hollywood movie has even been done in similar fashion, where a guy was marooned on a boat with models and pretended by playing up his effeminacy to get close to the woman he liked and to seem less threatening to the women. If I as a gay person, an actor and a drama director were called to write the script, I wouldn’t change a thing, its perfect the way it is.

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