Just when one is thinking the rivalry between two of the biggest female African music superstars in Nigeria, Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage is over, it turned out otherwise. That may never make any collaborative effort between the duo happen, going by Alade’s stance, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Rvalry between competitors in any sphere is often welcomed, especially when it has to do with the strength of their individual abilities either in sport or entertainment. The rivalry could have evolved naturally or stem from insinuations. While this rivalry often times is attributed to fans and supporters of the athletes or artistes, it’s sometimes drawn from their action or content of their work as it makes and create exciting atmosphere for the followers of the parties involved to thrive and get themselves engaged.
Of note, there has been some sort of rivalry between top female artistes on the music scene in Nigeria as to who is superior in terms of their act or craft. Even as they would almost not willingly admit to this individually when asked, observers of the entertainment industry could tell about the seemingly superiority contest existing amongst them which could somehow be felt. In more ways than one, they throw shade or call out their perceived competitor at every slightest provocation or opportunity.
Quite pronounced is the rivalry between two of the biggest female African music superstars in Nigeria/Africa, Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage. The singers have not exactly been friends, which perhaps made their teeming fans to tag them as rivals. Their relationship as far as one knows has not really been pleasant. Just when one is thinking the rivalry is over, it just turned out otherwise. And that may never make any collaborative effort between the two happen, going by Alade’s stance in a video interview last week, in which she spoke about her relationship with Savage.
According to Yemi, fans and followers will always try to stir up something from the collaboration and they’re chances whatever they stir won’t be good for them. The singer, when asked if she would be open to collaborating with Tiwa now that they have put their differences aside, she said: “I don’t know how to answer this question.”
Explaining further, she said: “It’s unfortunate that with the troubles that people keep steering in our ways, it probably will never allow us to ever have collaboration, because you’re not sure the outcome would even be positive or be overrun by negative things and all the fights. When we do music, we do it so people can be happy, so when we do a song together, what are we fueling? What are we encouraging? That’s the most important question.”
The background to this position started about a fortnight ago, when the self-proclaimed ‘Mama Africa’, Yemi released a new album titled Woman of Steel, to the delight of her fans and music lovers across the continent. In the euphoria of that moment, Tiwa Savage, the self-proclaimed Number One African Bad Gal via a post she made on Instagram hailed Yemi. “Been meaning to post this for a few days now but been so caught up. Huge congrats on a great body of work Queen @yemialade For sure you be Woman of Steel.” While this actually got not a few talking about their relationship, it was seen as a subtle admission to set aside their differences.
Savage would further during a listening party for her own new single, ‘49–99’ in England last Wednesday, give a shout-out to her fellow African female artistes including Yemi. The Universal Music Group artiste gave the shout-out after a member of the audience at the listening party asked her who she would like to do collaboration with among Nigerian female artistes. Responding to that, she said, “Oh man, there’s many queen, man. Come on, like Yemi Alade just dropped an incredible body of work, huge shout-out to her. Errrm, who doesn’t like Teni The Entertainer? Like, she’s incredible. Simi, Niniola, Waje, Omawumi…”
“We even have Vanessa Mdee from the East; we have Becca whom I have done records with as well. And even the females from the UK, like you have Tomi… There’s so many… Lola Rae…” After she had given the shout-outs, she then charged women to fight because men can be difficult to deal with. She says, “to keep doing it big, we just need to fight.” She then joked that, “You men are just ruling us, ah… Agbara yin po (Your powers are you much). African men are stubborn (laughs).”
Instructively Yemi’s Woman of Steel, album is thoughtful of the tough appearance that she and most women are often required to wear in order to command the same level of respect as the men.
Interestingly both singers have had amazing careers respectively and reasons like maturity, versatility, flexibility, visibility and creativity stand both out. But rivalries as to who rules the crown of Queen of the industry have pitched them against one another.
Like Yemi once publicly in 2018 claimed to be on the same level with Davido and Wizkid, stating that there was no such thing as number one artiste in Nigeria. She also passed up the chance to stand for Savage while on a radio show and the presenter talked down at her rival. The presenter, Misi, stated that Yemi had a fine vocal range while Savage just shouts.
In reaction to the statement, Tiwa shared a video of herself singing. She also made suggestive posts that alluded to Misi begging from her. She also hinted that she has cut ties with the OAP and any other person who tried to involve her in “BS.” The animosity between the two singers had gravitated to the point that they un-followed each other on Instagram.
Yemi allegedly started the fight when she took to her Twitter handle to throw shots at an unnamed person who according to her, had been photo-shopping her bum to deceive her fans on social media. She warned the person to stop deceiving people and accept the fact that she had nothing behind.
She wrote, “Stop increasing your nyash (buttocks) in your pictures. You know you are straight like ‘I’. Embrace your real self! Ahh ahh. Deceiving fans up and dan (down).”
However, Tiwa thought the message was directed at her and wasted no time reacting. The Mavin First Lady first took to her Instagram Stories to write, “Don’t start a war you cannot finish. Trust me, I’m not the one. I’m quiet but don’t f**k with me.” She followed that up with two Instagram posts showing off her derriere.
With the recent 2019 E! People’s Choice Award nomination putting them up in same set for the African Influencer category alongside Wizkid and Davido, and other African music celebrities like Casper Nyovest and Diamond Platinumz, the Woman of Steel might just be on point with her claim to be on the same level musically with Davido and Wizkid and that there is no such thing as number one artiste in Nigeria, be it male or female.