The novelist Chika Unigwe and the musician Seun Kuti. Image of Unigwe from her website. Image of Kuti from

The long struggle of Nigerian entertainers with gender expectations, and in particular what feminism actually is, is well documented. From WizKid threatening to send his 16-year-old cousin to beat up Linda Ikeji to Davido recently body-shaming (and apologizing to) a young woman who questioned his political motivations, from Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s “I don’t believe God made man and woman equal in any way” to Tiwa Savage’s own “I also don’t think men and women are equal . . . when we are home we have to realise that the man is the head of the house,” and to the writer Molara Wood and the journalist Kadaria Ahmed calling out Uti Nwachukwu’s attitude to dark-skinned women.

Recently, the novelist Chika Unigwe attended a live performance by the musician Seun Kuti. The performance was imperfect but she was okay with it, until Seun Kuti began talking about feminism and African women and their hair. His comments are even more disappointing given that his grandmother was the great Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, an internationally renowned feminist. But then his father was Fela Kuti, whose song “Lady” includes these lyrics—“Lady go say she equal to man . . . she go want make man wash plate for am . . . But African woman know say man na master, she go cook for am”—the source of a longrunning debate to which nearly every major blogger from Minna Salami to Ainehi Edoro has weighed in.

Read Chika Unigwe’s tweets below.



An earlier version of this post incorrectly named Femi Kuti. It has since been corrected.