A lot of people like Linda Ikeji’s blog. With The Punch and Nairaland it probably has the most readers of any Nigerian site out there. And most of the time there’s a lot to like, or at least a lot of Nigerian and American pop culture to gawp at.
There are posts about £1 million diamond-encrusted champagne bottles that some people liked (and other people like less). Posts about Big Brother Africa contestants getting it on onscreen (and then being sued). Posts about anything to do with Rihanna. Endless posts about celebrity hatches, matches and dispatches (a lot of celebrities die on there) and regularly shouting out Nigerian tele-evangelists.
But on Linda Ikeji’s blog, it’s all good fun until the gay-baiting begins. Last week she posted a typical example of her carefully calculated bigotry, a picture of singer Timaya lying on a couch with his head resting in Burma Boy’s lap.
Her caption reads: “That is Burna Boy and Timaya…haha! Cute!” The headline on the post is “What is wrong with this photo?” and below the line there are two hundred comments speculating that the two are in a relationship and expressing disgust.
If she has a problem with gay people she should just say so, rather than posting a picture, pointing the finger and then hiding away, as she does so often. She obviously knows that there’s something gross about what she’s doing, but she’ll take the extra hits and leave someone else to deal with the consequences of the gloss of respectability she puts on the presumed homophobia of her readers.
Way back in 2007 she wrote about what seemed to be her genuinely conflicted feelings with regards to homosexuality. But she dispensed with that kind of sincerity a long time ago, and now toes a fine line between stoking peoples’ prejudice and remaining just-about respectable enough to keep being named on prestige international lists.
Frankly it makes her look lame and cowardly, particularly in comparison to other Nigerian journalists like Chude Jideonwo, who eloquently eviscerated the many hypocrisies of the anti-gay bill in 2011 for CNN (an article Ikeji was cited in and reposted on her blog where it was met with the predictable mindless vitriol).
Jideonwo is a hugely successful and respected figure in Nigerian media and his massively popular site YNaija does very well without the kind of homophobia Ikeji seems to consider indispensable.
We like Linda Ikeji’s blog. But we wish she’d drop the homophobia.