The real travesty in the Miss Universe pageant is the Nigerian contestant who came dressed as a palm tree


I woke up this morning to a lot of fuss about Steve Harvey. Apparently, he messed up big time by crowning the wrong contestant as the winner. For a full 4 minutes, Miss Colombia was doing her pageant wave and her pageant smile until the MC corrected his mistake and crowned the real winner, Miss Philippines, as the winner with Miss Colombia being relegated to the position of first runner-up.

6 hours old and over 4 million views on YouTube. You people too like bad tin LOL. If na me be Steve, I would point blank refuse to apologise. They must make another crown o, this is arrant nonsense! 😆

This didn’t phase me though: not Nigerian news, not Viva Naija’s concern per se.

My people, my people: who/what was the Nigerian entry for this competition? Firstly, let’s talk about her entire look and profile. Ladies and gentle moi-moi, here is the woman who represents beauty in your country:

“Harpo! Who this woman?!” – popular line from the film The Colour Purple, but oh so relevant here. I’m struggling to place her features as Nigerian, but then again, I’ve not met every single Nigerian, so what do I know?

Her name is Debbie Collins. Not Ayinke. Not Chinazom, Hauwa or Rukevwe. Debbie. Not even Deborah or “Debo-Debo, Debo-baby!” in my best Falz accent but Debbie. Very Nigerian.

She was born in Lagos and lived there till she was 14 and has spent the rest of her life in South Africa. As of 2015, I have now spent more of my life outside of Nigeria than inside it, but if I were to compete for a beauty crown, I would say things that represent my birthplace. There would certainly be at least a sentence or two about eba and ewa Aganyin, but that’s just me. This young lady waxes lyrical about yoga and whatnot. How is this the most beautiful version of my homeland??

I read all of this with growing horror, but still thought “Hmmm…nothing a cup of coffee won’t put right” till I saw her traditional costume. Boys and girls, this is what Ms Collins told the world we dress like:

“Harpoooo! I say who dis woman??” Is this ME? Is this meant to be some ill-conceived version of US? We walk around with ferns on our heads? Beaded hijabs, peplum palaver as the dress and N1000/yard rags to sweep the streets of Abakaliki? Why did she do this to US? What have we ever done to her? Other than no light, fuel scarcity and the odd bit of misogyny, have we not been kind and loving? So why go out and tell the whole world that when we’re not busy, we usually masquerade round as plant holders?

Deborah, we wee not take it. Warn ya sef.

To redress the imbalance in the universe, here are a few pictures of Nigerians in various states of awesomeness taken from these Interwebs. You’re welcome.

This is the closest thing to a tree we wear on our heads. Abeti aja of laive!
You see those yummy coral beads?? All irregular sized and full of holes? That’s what beauty looks like.
Igbo kwenu! Heeh! <3
You can’t stop the shining. We learn it from the womb. Viva Naija!
I mean…what is this if not beauty?
My North as I remember it. Fulani fabulousness
Calm down, ovaries!! Nobody is talking to you here!
Omo Yoruba ni mi. Omo ti iya fi oja aran pon.
These are my people. The people of my birthplace. The wonders of Nigeria. And it couldn’t be more beautiful

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  1. I almost agreed with you but until that moment you screwed things up. Adding misogyny to our identity is worst than every other thing you’ve defined as wrong in this lady. I’m sorry you witnessed your dad pounce on your mum occasionally growing up plus you loving the black eye you get from your abusive relationship occasionally, but that’s now how it is in every other home… I’m afraid to tell you this but it’s not our identity.

  • Excuse me Sir but I think you might be confusing misogyny with abuse. Abuse, the type of which you just described, happens to BOTH men and women. Misogyny on the other hand is a dislike, mistrust of, contempt for or prejudice against females. If you claim to not be aware that most Nigerian females have experienced prejudice or contempt here in Nigeria on account of their gender (more blatantly than in many other countries) at some point or the other, then I would guess that it is bc you either do not actually live in Nigeria or if you do, you have remained ignorant of the struggles that a lot your ‘sisters’ face every day in their academic, professional and private lives for the simple fact that they are female! Either way, it is best to try walking a mile in another person’s shoes before you start to make judgements.

    • Catherine, wallahi tallahi I will marry you. I wanted to respond similarly, but it would seem like I was just trying to defend my post. I genuinely welcomed his comment because I know there are many that think like the previous writer, but I was hoping that someone would come on board and we could have this discussion in a transparent way. You articulated my thoughts perfectly and even better! Thank you!

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