Last week, Africa’s male Barbie and cross-dresser, Bobrisky was arrested by the police for assaulting a lady in a salon.
After spending some hours at a police station in Yaba, the effeminate young man is out and ready to embrace the stigma that comes with the fame he attracted.
Born as Okuneye Idris Olarenwaju, Bobrisky is very popular on Snapchat with the name, Bobriskyon. He is well-known for posting his well-adorned made-up face and posting money given to him by his mystery ‘bae.’
According to the makeup enthusiast, he makes N100,000 daily from the sales of cosmetic. In late October, Bobrisky’s fame went abroad when he was invited to speak in an event where the social media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad was also speaking.
Unfortunately, after so many disapproving statements by Nigerians who felt Bobrisky wasn’t worthy of that title ‘Public speaker,’ Bashir Ahmad unapologetically pulled out of the event.
In a recent chat with newsmen, this is what the male Barbie feels about himself and the whole controversy around him.
“The organisers invited me to speak on the fact that people are talking about Bobrisky,” the 25-year-old said.
“Them withdrawing wasn’t nice. In Nigeria, the majority of people here judge you so fast. We are in this life once, people should be given the freedom to express themselves.”
“People love the fact that I’m real. It’s about the way I dance, because I’m a very good dancer, and my makeup. I liked my mom’s look and I love make-up,” he said.
In 2014, former president Goodluck Jonathan signed the same-sex marriage prohibition bill, forbidding not only marriage but same-sex cohabitation and any “public show of same-sex amorous relationship” with penalties ranging from 10 to 14 years in prison.
Bobrisky, who gets over 150,000 views on each video he posts, is aware of this law and denies being gay, even though his bae is a guy.
Here is what people think about the male Barbie.
“Still, Bobrisky says he “doesn’t bother” with the haters and instead is focussing on launching a YouTube channel where he’ll do makeup tutorials. It’s exactly that born-this-way defiance that endears him to fans.
“He doesn’t have to take on a leadership role,” said Olumide Femi Makanjuola, deputy director of The Initiative for Equal Rights, a Nigeria-based non-profit organisation advocating for LGBT rights.
“People like Bobrisky are creating the conversation. They didn’t start out to be an activist, but it happened. That’s one of the powerful things of pop culture.”
“It created opportunities for the police and members of the public to engage in extortion and get money from people they believe to be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender),” Isaack said.
“If you pass a law that leads to violence with impunity, you’re creating a situation where there’s lack of respect for rule of law in Nigeria, and that’s not helpful.”