At a Q & A session at the just concluded iRep Film Festival, the topic on why people feel the need to bleach was being discussed and a guy got up and comical or not said he felt the issue was not just skin colour but looks. He said ugly people being marginalized was the issue no one wants to talk about but exists. We all started laughing because we weren’t expecting that and to rein his case in further, he says ‘if person mess for Bus, who dem dey suspect? No be the ugly people? Nobody dey suspect the fine lady as if she sef no dey mess’!! After ‘eeewing’ a picture of the scenario was planted in my head and I haven’t stopped laughing since.

It’s a fact of life though. The issue came to fore this evening for me. I went to a meeting and I was the only black woman there and when I went to use the bathroom, I made sure I was extra careful there were no tinkles or sprinkles and I wondered if this was some slave mentality but then again it wasn’t. it was because I felt if anyone walked in and the bathroom was messy, they’d assume the black lady did that. Now this was my thinking but I had no reason whatsoever to project that kind of accusation on these people because they didn’t act that way or look down on me in anyway but I just did. Is it that black and ugly go hand in hand in my mind? God forbid. Never! In fact I think we are the most beautiful. Nor do I know how our man defines who is ugly but what was in my mind is ‘the different one’ ‘The odd one out’.

It’s a programming of the mind. The reverse of it is like the pleasant surprise when the fair skinned very fine actress in a Nollywood film is very talented and acts really well. I call it a

surprise not because fair skinned fine actresses shouldn’t be able to act but one assumes, they’re there for their looks only. Or the ‘small person’ in a film is assumed to be there in a funny role as an object of ridicule as ‘Aki’ and ‘Bobo’ in our Nollywood hence ‘Tyrion Lannister’ played by Peter Dinklage in ‘Game of Thrones’ is a refreshing change as the serious well-loved caring brother in such a notorious family

This ‘process of ‘de programming ‘in every way is a breath of fresh air.

I wonder if the creator or writer of ‘Black panther’ could fathom the sense of pride, the confidence and the extra swag that epic piece of genius would conjure when it was being put together. It is no coincidence that it brought in record breaking figures at the box office. It was refreshing to imagine Africa in a new light. A powerful superior super power. Not the usual images of hunger and famine

And here in Nollywood, ‘Ajoche’ our own African magic Production, I am very impressed to say, are at their own deprogramming going on right now. ‘ Akajo’ the only albino in the cast, played by Damilola Ogunsi was initially cast quite stereotypically one would think as the village executioner who was feared and his advances rebuffed no doubt because of him being different. This role of being rebuffed and ostracized by virtue of his difference is what was the portrayal of him in the acclaimed ‘The Tribunal’ but then in Ajoche, ‘Akajo’ is now the love interest of ‘Oofun’ the hated but powerful village ‘femme fatale.

When they finally got together, according to her he was surprisingly strong in bed. Why would she wonder why a tall, well built executioner is strong in bed? She did not express the same when she was with General Apeh.

What she meant was that she did not expect to enjoy the experience the same way because he was different.

All the same I bet Ogunsi or ‘Akajo’ is not complaining because I hear from social media, chicks are sliding into his DM to try and satisfy their curiosity too since the popular Oofun’s endorsement.

In conclusion, we are all different and the mind is a powerful tool. Once this difference exists the burden of handling it is automatically borne by both parties whether we like it or not. It’s lif