Today, I am taking a break from the world of politics and punditry to that of pop culture, which is another aspect that I have invested many years of my journalism career into analyzing its operations, mechanics and the movers and shakers of the industry.
About three years ago, Boltin Mazagwu, a New Jersey-based Nigerian-American called my newspaper, The Diasporan Star, and bitterly complained about what his wife, Nollywood actress and musician Judith Mazagwu, popularly known as ‘Afro Candy’ had put him through emotionally. Mr. Mazagwu was reacting to the series we had run then on the marital hiccups and challenges that bedevil our community, where the tie that should ordinarily bind couples in a symphony of love had given way to an emotional dance of attrition and cruelty. One of the subjects we had featured in that series had a story that mirrored exactly what Mr. Mazagwu had experienced and he felt he needed to add his experience to the whole issue.
According to Mr. Mazagwu, his wife had serially cheated on him, and had taken him for a fool, making him believe he was the father of two daughters he had always believed he had fathered and having him invest his hard earned resources on the two girls, only to be startled by the cold hard truth when the kids were subjected through DNA test as part of the emigration process by the U.S. embassy that he was the biological father of only one of the girls. The other girl who had always known and called him daddy was fathered according to him by a man whom Juliet had passed off as an uncle and whom he had innocently come to accept was her rightful uncle. To make it even more painful, Mr. Mazagwu had stated that the so-called uncle was living in an apartment he had rented for his wife and two kids and he was very nice to the man, occasionally sending him money, not knowing he was paying for the “uncle” to take care of his most profound marital responsibility – physical intimacy.
The story after we had published it elicited intense reactions from across the world, with most readers lambasting Juliet and judging her as a bad advertisement of womanhood and its ennobling values and qualities. Juliet had responded in her own interview by stating that she was emotionally abandoned by her husband and that she had to seek emotional solace in the arms of another man. She regretted that the product of that illicit liaison had resulted in the birth of her daughter whom she had thought was Boltin’s and pleaded for her husband’s forgiveness, which was not forthcoming as her husband stated categorically that the marriage was all but dead. “Even if I had intended to forgive her,” the husband had told me, “I won’t do such given what she has just put out on YouTube. Which responsible mother of two girls would put out a video where she is so scantily clad and where she was marketing her ‘assets’ and telling the world her ‘assets’ supersedes intellect and that women who don’t know how to use their ‘assets’ to get what they want needed to blame themselves. Can you image this,”? he had told our newspaper.
Mr. Boltin was reacting to the widely popular or notorious video of his wife’s debut album, Ikebe Na Money, where she had lionized the gift of enticing female rear-end and why those blessed with it should exploit it for financial gains. The video was visually shocking given the frontal nudity that was on full display. The Nigerian Diaspora community was shocked that one of their own could be so brazen in her efforts to push the envelope on what constitutes proper conduct. Some however, cheered her on and encouraged her to be more exhibitionist of her ‘assets’.
If the world had been shocked by the audacity of Juliet Mazagwu by that video, she was to take it several notches upwards when she released a movie trailer about a month ago where she was engaged in pure sex and not a simulated one, as is always the case. She was totally naked in the scenes that were shown. Since the trailer was released, the reaction within the African Diaspora community has been that of total shock, bordering on revulsion. “The very notion that a mother of two could engage in an uninhibited sex act and is advertising it is shocking and morally revolting,” Ann, a nurse practitioner had told us. “I mean, what message is she sending our young girls who may have seen her movies in the past and may now be been encouraged by her total lack of sense of propriety and decorous behaviour?”
From the Caribbean community to African American, Juliet’s movie trailer has become a huge issue. “I didn’t know your girls could go that far,” Keith, a Jamaican-American had told me, in a telephone call last week. “I thought ya’ll were conditioned by certain traditional mores and one of such was advertising one’s nudity. I applaud Juliet though for her dare and drive. It takes a very courageous person to do such.”
Three weeks ago, Juliet had contacted me, and attempted to clarify the ongoing controversy by stating that she had no apologies to offer and that those who don’t like the movie should not watch it. “For all those holier-than-thou amongst us, they can kiss my rear-end. Most of those sanctimonious and preachy folks do even worse things and no one has condemned them or judged them harshly. For all they know, there may be more to what they have seen about the trailer than meets the eye. I am an artiste and I can choose to express myself in any form, shape and manner and I will continue to do so as long as God gives me the power of life.”
Juliet’s movie trailer speaks to the larger issue within our Diasporan community – the “Americanization” of values by our women. Every where one goes, there are carcasses of what had previously seemed a great and exciting marriage, but which got derailed by the co-mingling of traditional values that define that African experience versus the liberal values projected and marketed by the American society. The resultant conflict and identity crises has resulted in our ladies jettisoning the African traditional values and the embrace of the liberal or loose values inherent in the American experience. I have seen our men being commanded by their wives to go to the kitchen and wash plates or to pack their plates and put them in the washing machine, after all “I am not your slave and I also work”. While I see nothing wrong in a man doing household chores to help his wife, what I find revolting is the notion of the women now commanding their husbands to do those things not out of love buy as the order of things.
I have seen men lose their sense of masculinity and ceding that vital headship of the family to women, who would pursue their interests and desires independent of how the husband feels. To be fair to our ladies, some have been turned into this creature by their husband’s lack of drive and push. A situation where a man elects to stay at home or do menial jobs while the wife is the official breadwinner cannot engender respect; or where a man marries a wife not for love but to turn her into a ATM cannot build enduring love and trust. Where a woman becomes too independent, she will strike out and do things that advance her interests however shocking those desires are.
Juliet Mazagwu is an independent woman and in her considered opinion, she can do as he pleases. You can either agree with her conduct or look elsewhere, but that’s her choice