The 2016 AMVCAs have come and gone. A blessed few won many coveted awards and the rest got some much needed continental PR boost. For many though, the AMVCAs have actually been only about one thing; the prestigious red carpet.
In an Africa rife with religion fuelled hypocrisy, there are only a handful of events where our celebrities are expected and even encouraged to embrace vanity and look their best and most controversial. None of these events have as big an audience as the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. With millions tuning in to watch the arrival of the esteemed guests and millions more social media interactions discussing and dissecting these guests’ sartorial choices, the AMVCAs have become big business for everyone involved.
When news broke a few days ago that one of the most talked about celebrities at this year’s ceremony was conspicuously absent from This Day Style’s best dressed list and cover, the person in question, Yorrywood actress Mercy Aigbe Gentry took to Instagram to voice her displeasure at being omitted.
Hey Fam….so I just came back from church and decided to check IG only for me to see plenty tags on a particular pix posted by @thisdaystyle …..I read pple’s comments asking why Mercy isn’t on the cover and at first I wanted to waka pass, but on a second thought I decided to talk about it, cos it’s been an issue dat has lingered for too long!…….I thought to myself why didn’t Mercy make the cover of @thisdaystyle best dressed list?…. Has @thisdaystyle ever featured a yoruba actor on their cover?………are yoruba movies not part of nollywood? …..is Nollywood not supposed to mean home grown Nigerian movies? …..hmmmmm I am very sure they didn’t coz, they won’t want to STAIN their cover with a ‘RAZZ’ ‘LOCAL’ yoruba actor!….Yes I am razz, Yes I am local and Yes I am a Yoruba actor!…..No I refuse to speak ur almighty English with fake British or American accent!….Because I’ll always remain true to myself!…I am ME ….Proud Benin Woman, Proud Ijesha’s wife and above all proud Nigerian. …And just in case e still dey be una like dream ‘LOCAL TI TAKE OVER’ ….😛😛😛😛😛😛😛😛😛😛😛😛
Now for those not in the know, Yorrywood is an informal designator used to describe the Yoruba film industry in Nigeria. This is a niche industry that makes films in the Yoruba language for Yoruba audiences. Mercy Aigbe Gentry is one of their biggest exports, a crossover star whose personal style has won her fans across the board. And This Day Style is a weekly pull out fashion zine that for most of the early 00’s was the single most important fashion authority in Nigeria, primarily because it approached fashion completely without bias.
How times have changed.
Personally, my best dressed person at the 2016 AMVCAs is Lilian Ubi Franklin. Her dress was simply divine but the general consensus- from industry insiders to style blogs,- was that Mercy Aigbe Gentry was one of the best dressed celebrities on the carpet that night.
Her dress wasn’t the most terribly innovative, or even the most visually interesting, but it worked for her. Mercy Aigbe Gentry was the dark horse who upstaged many of our expected fashion favorites. And it seems This Day Style wasn’t quite ready to accept this.
For those who want to argue that something dodgy wasn’t going on, here is some proof that the This Day Style cover was a sham.
Nigerian actor and model Alex Ekubo was one of the worst dressed celebrities at the 2016 AMVCAs with this checkered monstrosity, yet somehow he made the This Day Style cover. In an outfit from the 2014 AMVCAs.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde wasn’t at the 2016 AMVCA’s, neither was actor O.C Ukeje, yet somehow they were captured on the cover, with photos of them at other events, wedged between images of actors and other industry insiders who were actually at the event.
This is incredibly misleading journalism. This Day Style is a privately owned and operated magazine and as such is allowed to do whatever it wants, but for a magazine that gained its clout for being impartial and saying what needed to be said, to descend to these depths to sell a cover says a lot about how low they’ve fallen. Standards simply aren’t what they used to be and someone along the food chain really should be punished for putting out that cover.
Many argue that Mercy Aigbe Gentry shouldn’t care that she was snubbed, that a This Day Style cover means nothing in the long run. This is an inaccurate presumption.
What this cover shows is that there is a bias towards certain kinds of actors and entertainers, and that merit is secondary to nepotism. Every cover Mercy Aigbe Gentry gets is an avenue to promote the work that actually affords her the opportunity to attend these high profile events. Every avenue of promotion that an actor doesn’t have to pay for is a huge privilege. Being denied that privilege especially when it is deserved, must be tough to overlook. She should not overlook it, not while This Day Style still retains some modicum of influence.
Even if I don’t consider Mrs Aigbe Gentry the best dressed woman at the AMVCAs, I appreciate the work she has done transforming herself into a style icon for Yoruba women, and all of this without a stylist.
Her efforts should be applauded. ‘Razz’ or not.
What is ‘razz’ anyway?