By Tofarati Ige
In some other countries, being homosexual might not even raise eye-brows, but in Nigeria, a mere accusation or suspicion that a person isn’t ‘straight’ can cast a huge shadow over the person’s reputation and career. A major reason for this is the fact that homosexuality is against the law in Nigeria, and it attracts a jail term of 14 years for offenders.
However, it is also an open secret that homosexuality thrives in the Nigerian entertainment industry, especially Nollywood. In this piece, we take a look at entertainers that have been accused or suspected of being homosexuals.
If you’re as gorgeous as Genevieve Nnaji, and you don’t have any man in your life, definitely tongues will wag as to your sexuality. Genevieve is widely adored by many people across the world, but not much is known about the man in her life. At different times she has been linked to a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, and pop star, D’banj.
However, it was reported sometime ago that she was in a lesbian relationship with Beninoise actress and musician, Ella Martins, though both of them vehemently denied the claims. According to Ella, the scandal broke out after pictures of her kissing Genevieve was leaked by someone who stole the Nigerian actress’ phone.
Some reports also claim that Genevieve has been romantically involved with fellow actress, Rukky Sanda, and one Nkechi. She has never come out to debunk these reports. However, on her marital status, Genny, as she is fondly called, told HVP, ‘If I get married, I really want to stay married and staying married is not an easy thing. It means you are completely in tune with your partner…’
Call her a sex symbol, and you may not be wrong. Beninoise singer and actress, Ella Martins definitely believes in flaunting her sexuality. She became a Nigerian sensation when it was reported that she was in a lesbian relationship with screen goddess, Genevieve Nnaji. However, Ella denied the allegations. In an interview, she said, ‘We kissed, but it was nothing extraordinary, it was a normal kiss between girls.
I mean girls do kiss each other normally, even guys do too. When I was dating Fally Ipupa we used to kiss and now that we are separated and are good friends we still continue kissing like we used to. My fear is I receive strange calls saying that in a few days’ time they will be releasing more pictures about us.’
Biodun Okeowo literally broke the internet recently when gist surfaced that she was in a lesbian relationship with another actress, Adediwura Blarkgold. She had updated her BlackBerryMessenger (BBM) thus, ‘Wura Adesegha, everybody knows you’re a stupid alabosi (pretender). As you have cursed my kids, you shall not reap the fruits of your own kids too.’
When some reporters contacted her to know the reason for the harsh update, she had this to say, ‘Wura Gold was my friend before and we were very good friends. But I started to give her space when I started realising the kind of person she truly was. She told me she wants us to become lovers as in becoming Lesbian partners. I told her I wasn’t interested… and that was it. Wura started going around calling me names. She spoils my name in front of everyone…’
Nollywood actress, Adediwura Blarkgold once submitted that she can handle everyday sex, so this is a pointer to the fact that she has a high libido. However, not a few were jolted when she fought dirty with fellow actress, Biodun Okeowo, over lesbianism accusations. The latter accused her of sending raunchy messages to her phones which include, ‘Anytime I see your Display Picture (DP), I get wet.’
However, Blarkgold says it was actually Okeowo that tried to get down with her. She said, ‘On the contrary, it was Biodun Okeowo that asked me to become her lover and I turned her down. Why would she turn things (around)? People are so funny. You can go ahead and ask the likes of Anita Julius and Liz DaSilva, at least they have slept in my house, if there was ever anytime I made such silly advances at any of them.’ The messy drama is still ongoing between both actresses.
Benson Okonkwo would need more than a bucket of detergent to wash himself clean of all the allegations of homosexualism that have trailed him over the years. Though the actor says it hurts him, he also admitted that it has brought him fame. The rumours took seed right after he acted so convincingly as a homosexual in three different movies, ‘One Dollar,’ ‘Pregnant Hawker,’ and ‘The Strippers.’
In an interview, he stated that though a lot of people believe he is gay, he has never been approached by any homosexual person. In his words, ‘Contrary to what some persons think, I have never been sexually harassed by homosexuals. I am not a homosexual…’Perhaps if he was in a relationship with a female, the rumours would have lacked substance. He had this to say, ‘Being in a relationship will not convince people that I am gay or not…’
However, another twist to the story was when his alleged lover and fiancee, Emelda Emells Anthony, denied that she was in a relationship with him, insinuating that he was gay. This was after pictures surfaced online of Benson fondling her boobs. She said at the time, ‘I’m not in any relationship with Benson. He is just using me to cover up his real lifestyle…
I am not engaged to Benson or planning to marry him. He has never even asked me to marry him…we were supposed to date back when we were introduced but he never touched me and when I started seeing men in his house I understood and we have been friends ever since…’
Eccentric Video Jockey (VJ), Denrele Edun has been called a lot of names ranging from homosexual, cross-dresser, and even transgender. Who can blame the name-callers though? Denrele actively and knowingly fuels those rumours and allegations about his person. He has often been sighted dressed like a woman to events, posting near-nude pictures with feminine poses online, and other such theatrics.
The icing on the cake was when a picture surfaced of him kissing the ‘Area Fada’ Charly Boy. They both argued that it was the work of mischievous graphic-artists using photo-editing softwares, but the image had already been ingrained in the minds of many Nigerians, and to them, it only confirmed what they had long since suspected about the Channel O VJ.
In a recent media interview, Denrele proved that he was not bothered about all the tales. In his words, ‘Over time, they have labeled me as a homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, I have been called all sorts of names…maybe they call me names because of the way I dress. When I started out and people began calling me such names, I found it very disturbing, annoying, and demeaning but I laugh about it now.
When I am asked about my sexuality, I just tell them that I am a sexual outlaw…’To further confuse people about his sexuality, he went on Twitter to say, ‘Being gay is a tough job, but someone has got to do it.’ However, he recently announced that he may be getting married soon, but many still believe that it is a ruse to cover-up his ‘illegal’ sexual orientation.
As far as entertainment is concerned, Yul Edochie comes from an impressive pedigree. His father is the legendary Pete Edochie who played the role of Okonkwo in the famous ‘Things Fall Apart.’ The young actor was recently dragged in the mud by his alleged Canada-based gay lover, Steven Ugochukwu, who ranted that Yul collected a lot of money from him in the course of their relationship and tried to dump him unceremoniously.
Ugochukwu wrote on Instagram, ‘We were in a relationship, (but) had issues caused by him. I warned him not to play silly games with me or I use all I have to soil his name. He didn’t know I was recording all our discussions including the ones when he called me and when I called him. He took to Twitter on April 8 and accused me of forcing him to be gay, looking for police to get hold of me. All I did that day was to play our love discussion to my peeps…”
Yul dismissed the claims, stating that Ugochukwu had all the while been pestering him to succumb to his gay advances. In an interview, he said, ‘It started sometime last year or two years ago. I got a message on Facebook from this guy saying that he is gay and wants to ask me out. I said ‘bro, I don’t roll like this, okay? I don’t have a problem if you are gay but I am not gay. And I have a family, leave me alone…’
Veteran singer, Sola Idowu, aka Weird MC, has always been trailed by gay rumours. This is fueled by her somewhat tomboyish attitude and dress sense. She has also never been romantically linked to any man.
According to reports, Weird MC also confirmed that she was gay. In an interview with London-based Omega Magazine, she reportedly said, ‘I thought to myself as my career is progressing every time, the question will come up one day — ‘Weird, are you gay?’ I’d say ‘no,’ I’d say ‘no,’ and there is a very popular saying in the hip hop world: keeping it real.
I thought to myself that I was not keeping it real, not 100%. So I thought to myself this would be an opportunity for me to bring that across. Some people are going to fault me for it, I can imagine, but that’s what I am, that’s who I am, and I am no longer ready to deny it.’
One-time Big Brother Africa winner, Uti Nwachukwu, has also had his fair share of gay rumours dogging his career. He was alleged to be in a relationship with actor, Alex Ekubo, who he once lived with in his 1004 Flats in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Though Uti mainatained that Ekubo was then his publicist hence their living together, many did not believe him as they often went everywhere together. Uti was even reported to give conditions that for him to accept any modeling job, Ekubo also had to be signed up for it. They have both denied the claim at different fora.
By virtue of her Pinkies Foundation, made up of ladies, Iyabo Ojo has also been alleged by some to fancy getting down with the womenfolk. However, she would have none of that. In an interview with Sunday Express, she retorted, ‘My foundation is not about that. Do I look like a lesbian? I am not a lesbian. Nigerians like attaching irrelevant things to something.
They are saying that because I am an actress and because of the name Sexy Pinkies ladies. But it hasn’t stopped me from achieving my goals. 80% of the women in the group are married with kids. I am not one who supports lesbianism. I don’t have a problem with those who practice it, it’s their choice but I do not believe in it because I dont think it’s normal. It’s not biblical. I am not condemning the practitioners (sic) but to me it’s not normal.’