Toggle Header

Status over Integrity, Money over Character, Glamour over Truth

(Written last week)

So today is an angry day. I fell down the stairs, got banged up pretty good, and I swore it was a hex from some former Virgo frenemy. I was probably thinking bad thoughts about them at the time. Like y’all are the reason Nigeria is falling apart. I somehow went on this girl’s page and saw her glamorous life and I’m not gone front, my first reaction was damn, God, why do you allow the evil to “thrive” like this while the just are hungry?!

But then I remembered the scripture about the riches of the unjust being laid up for the just. There’s probably a proper article coming from this eventually but I had to get these feelings out. Like these 40 year old “children” of the “elite”–governors, kings, presidents etc. We hold them in such high esteem because they post glamorous photos with their celebrity “friends” and we think that’s the end all be all. They have schmoney most of us only dream of. Schmoney they were born into because their bloodlines have been “educated” long ago, been coming to America since the 60s. Been helping out the British since the 40s. They got it good.

Listen, my folks are market women. I couldn’t be more proud to tell you that my grandmother put my dad and his siblings through school and etc with her aso-oke money. I am very proud of that. That, almost every single one of my blood aunties is or has been a market woman in her life. With that honest money, they raised kids who own businesses and American mansions. That’s not my end game, but I’m proud I come from “nothing” turned into something. Funny thing is we are royal blood, but Nigeria is a shitshow so it don’t even matter. If you want the crown, you have to be willing to steal for it. Like the parents of some of these New Yorkers I’m talking about. At least that was Nigeria 1.0.

So I got caught up in alladat when I lived in New York full time. I wasn’t running deep with these folks but I definitely aspired to their “status”. Trash, Lolade, absolute garbage. There was this culture of “social climbing” as others have called it. Niggas want to be somewhere just because someone semi famous will be there. So by proximity you’ll be important because you’ll get to take a picture and this “celebrity” might be in the background of your picture so you’ll get some clout off of that. This is why I don’t miss New York. Tooooo many of us fall into this trap. Like, you don’t have any value until you’re proximate to someone semi-important.

So anyway, this “friend” who’s page I was on actually blatantly STOLE property from a good friend of mine, someone I introduced her to. When she got caught, she didn’t grovel in remorse, she insulted the nigga. Like, you shouldn’t be so broke that you want your stuff back. Why do you love poverty so much?

Like you can’t even make this stuff up. And I blame us. I blame the so-called good ones because we let them get away with this shit. Till this day I’m sure she hasn’t paid for her crimes. Because the “nice ones” we just roll over and take it. I’m reminded of Myron Golden’s quote: “If you want peace, you must be willing to go to war.” Well here’s a grenade for you.

It’s really not just about the sister I’m talking about. It’s about their whole crew. The “fancy Nigerians” who give the rest of us a bad rep. They spend their parents’ stolen money while continuing to steal from the less fortunate than them while treating us like it’s our privilege to be in their presence. And we take it because WE BELIEVE IT. We believe it’s our privilege to be in their presence because we’ve been programmed to value status over integrity, money over character, glamour over truth.

Instead of us to consistently stand up to them and call them out for their crimes against humanity, for their profiting from the crimes against humanity, for their upholding of the systems that oppress everyday Nigerians, we spend money we don’t even have to go to their “elite” events and take selfies with them!

We’re ashamed of our humble beginnings. We want to dissociate from them as much as we can and pretend we’re actually like them, like we come from stolen money too. That’s bullshit, it’s stupid, it’s self-loathing of the highest order.

We need to actually strap on a pair and stand in the pride of our integrity. If you have integrity but not that much money, isn’t that better? And it doesn’t have to be either or. Can’t you have integrity and lot’s of money. I mean it’s 2023 so use the internet and make real money. And keep your integrity.

Ok, so let’s say these people started out with stolen money but now they’re doing good work. They’re helping the homeless. They’re ending FGM. Great. Do they call out corruption? Do they hold their parents accountable? Did they support the savage bastard who stole the presidency either with their endorsement or their silence?

It’s not a time for Nigerians to be on the fence anymore and I won’t pretend like I don’t see y’all doing garbage. I no longer give a fuck about your approval. Here’s your opportunity to be better. The “inauguration” is just a month away and there will be some proverbial bombs dropped on those on the wrong side of history.

It’s all love at the end of the day because if I’m holding your feet to the fire, it’s because I want you to repent and be fucking better. I’m not going to smile in the face of this bullshit anymore. I’m referencing this sister because she is the quintessential example of the poison of Nigerian exceptionalism. Glamorous. Showy. Stunning to look at. While everything behind closed doors is shameful as fuck. Embarrassing as fuck. Messy as fuck. We need to get it together, TODAY.


Image Source

For more of these writings in your inbox, subscribe here

About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.