How Sexy is Ebola?

Apparently, Ebola is sexy. Yes, not only is Ebola funny, it is also SEXY.

I found out this mind-blowing fact on Halloween Day. I searched “ebola costume” on Twitter, because I know that there are morons with no sense of social propriety in our midst. True to form, they come out in full force, fingers tweeting with moronic gusto.

Some were generally excited about nailing this oh-SO-creative costume:

Others were filled with apprehension because, you know, life was standing in the way of their Ebola sexiness #PoorYou #Catastrophe #Tragic:

Then you had the ones that were facing a genuine dilemma because they had some REALLY tough questions that needed urgent answers:

I mean, I don’t know, moron. Here is a very short list of why this MIGHT be inappropriate:

And then, this winner:

People (serious side eye to Americans) have spent the past couple of weeks demonizing Africans for “bringing” (because it’s obviously something you carry in your pocket. Like a pen. Or those fliers that roadside campaigners shove in your face) Ebola to their hallowed soil. And, of course, ALL Africans are guilty until proven innocent because we, all ~1 billion of us, all live under the same roof. “Stop the Africans! Close our borders! Ban the flights! Quarantine those savages!”, people have screamed at the top of their lungs. People have been routinely harassed, dehumanized, and stigmatized because of a deadly virus that rages thousands of miles away.

Then, Halloween comes around, and Ebola is suddenly sexy? It becomes yet another tired “slutty —-” or “sexy—–” costume derivative? What exactly is sexy about Ebola? The fact that over 13,500 people have been infected with this deadly virus? Or that about 5000 people have died from it? The children that have been orphaned? Or the families that have been wiped out? Oh, wait, maybe it’s the fact that children in the worst hit places can’t even go to school? Isn’t that sexy?! Why don’t you incorporate ALL of that sexiness into your costume? I bet that would win you first prize at the costume contest.

Ebola is not funny. Neither is it sexy.

Again, for the kids at the back of the class: EBOLA.IS.NOT.FUNNY.OR.SEXY.

Ebola is not a pun that you can use to score cool points. People’s tragedy is not a costume or a garland to wear around your neck. If you’re headed out tonight with an Ebola costume, I suggest that you abort mission and self-quarantine, because you’re a menace to the people around you. Have some sense, be a normal human being and put on a normal costume about a cartoon character or a superhero. Here is an entire list of them: 55 Awesome Halloween Costume Ideas. You’re welcome.

That Time Jamie Oliver Made “Jollof Rice” #JollofGate

 

Yes, guys, it finally happened – they finally got their hands on Jollof rice!

Some context for those who don’t know what Jollof rice is: Jollof rice is one of the 7 wonders of Africa. The list goes: Nelson Mandela, Cape Town, Jollof Rice, Senegalese Twists, Lupita Nyong’o, Shea Butter, and P Square. People might disagree with this list (feel free to add your own list in the comments section. Don’t curtly state your disagreement and move on, ok? Don’t be rude), but the point is that Jollof rice is a BIG deal.(Horrible) songs have been written about Jollof rice. Case in point: this god-awful song by Fuse ODG:

 

Jollof rice has even caused  a diplomatic tension/Cold War of sorts between Nigeria and Ghana over who actually owns this dish (it actually originated in Senegal, but I’m sleep).

 

In Nigeria, Jollof rice is sacred. It is not just the holy grail, it is also the way the truth and the life. Jollof rice is who we are, it is woven into our social tapestry; if a Nigerian invites you to a social gathering and doesn’t serve Jollof rice, he/she hates you and might have sociopathic tendencies (Listen, I don’t make the rules).  You might find this canonization of RICE to be weird. You might sit there and smugly say “is it not JUST rice?” Well, no, it isn’t. It isn’t just rice, you blasphemer; it is JOLLOF rice!

Now that I’ve given you some context, you can then understand why my Twitter timeline went into an apocalyptic uproar this past week, when Jamie Oliver (yes, THE Jamie Oliver) posted his Jollof rice recipe.

You see, Jollof rice is meant to look like this:

Source: Lohi's Creations
Not exactly sure why this heap of Jollof rice is capped with a  plantain hashtag. People hashtag everything. EVEN rice. Smh.

Jollof rice is supposed to be reassuring in its plainness. You should see a plate of Jollof rice, sitting in its sunset-orange glory, and immediately know what you’re looking at. This is the essence of Jollof rice – its predictability and lack of complication.

However, this is Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice:

I don’t even know where to begin. This, whatever this is, is a sensory overload

Nigerians/Ghanaians were furious!

It all started in the comments section:

Like, this person brought in their ancestors. He/She went THERE. You can see that this is not a joke
Like, this person brought up their ancestors. He/She went THERE. You can see that this is not a joke
This is an actual threat. I told you jollof rice is a diety.
This is an actual threat. I told you Jollof rice is a deity
Priorities
Priorities
Even Namibia weighed in. It was a continental emergency.
Even Namibia weighed in. It was a continental emergency

 

Someone even claimed that Jamie had Iggy Azalea-ed Jollof rice. Yes, it got that tense. Gloves came off.

It was deep, guys. We almost called in Iyanla Vanzant to bully-yell everybody into tranquility. There was basically a Twitter village square meeting, and the Nigerians and Ghanaians were not having it. And for good reason. How can you gentrify Jollof rice to the extent that it starts looking like paella? Sacrilege! We can share our children (Hi Brangelina, Madonna, or whichever latest Hollywood star just ordered their very own collectible in the form of an African child), our animals (for your life-changing, perspective-moulding Safaris), and our head-ties that you re-fashion into “urban head wraps”, but we will not share our Jollof rice *bangs gavel*

On a more serious note, I really don’t know how I feel about this issue. Some people claim that this is a clear case of appropriation, but I don’t know that I would make such an extreme claim. I mean, the guy didn’t claim to make Jollof rice, he openly admitted to adding his own twist on the recipe.

My main issue with this entire situation is that Jamie Oliver (or whoever wrote this) described Jollof rice as a “concept”—of ALL the bland nouns in the English vocabulary, you came up with “concept”? I mean, really???—, as though it is an abstraction that we believe in but can’t see. Excuse you, Jollof rice is as real as it gets! How would you feel if I described Thanksgiving turkey as a “concept”? Perplexed? Slightly insulted? Exactly, thought so.

 

 

 

Image Sources: Lohi’s Creations, Jamie Oliver, The Guardian