Tiwa Savage recounts leaving Nigeria abruptly at 10 to London and all the bullying that followed suit in high school.
Who would have ever thought that the music star Tiwa Savage was at some point in her life, faced with bullying?
The award-winning singer in her recent interview with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu for Black Box recounted the bullying she went through in high school in London after moving to the United Kingdom at the very young age of 10.
According to Savage, the bullying got so bad that she attempted committing suicide twice as a teenager.
When I got to school, it was horrible and I had an accent. My first day I clearly cannot forget. I got to school late and my teacher couldn’t pronounce my name. She then asked why I was late to school and I said ‘sorry ma there was go slow.’ Everyone started laughing. I was teased so badly,” she said.
“They use to call me ‘African girl’ ‘Fufu’, ‘We heard your food smells badly’ it was so bad that I literally tried to kill myself two times. I was depressed and bullied. They would flush my hair down during lunch break. At some point, I use to have a police escort me to the bus. I wanted to bleach and started growing my hair. It was really terrible.”
The music star also talked about her family, especially her mum who she described as a very typical African parent living in London.
“I found it out initially, I didn’t like her because she was tough on me. Not that I didn’t like her but it was weird. I was really close to her, I could tell her everything. I could tell her things you shouldn’t even tell a Nigerian mom,” she said.
“I would want to go out for parties all night and she would be like ‘be back by 9 and I’m like the people won’t even be there yet. I’ll be so angry. I want to bleach because I hated my dark skin, she caught me and threw everything and I was like what is your business. I think it was between 14, 15, and 16…I was really insecure.”
During the recently held #EndSars protest across Nigeria, Savage was one of the major voices that helped propel the movement. Ebuka asked her why she decided to lend her voice to the #EndSars protest.
“When someone loses a life…I’m just thinking that there is a mother out there who has lost a son because of police brutality. Like I said I know people around me who have experienced terrible terrible brutality from police officers. How can I be in Nigeria and not lend my voice, my platform to something like that? Because people close to me have experienced frightening situations,” she said.
When asked if the #EndSars protest worked, the mother of one said we all have to start from somewhere.
We have to start from somewhere, start from a hashtag, then it gets to protesting, then it gets to the government’s ears, knocks on the right doors and people who have the power to make a change. It is a means to an end,” she added.
Savage said the reason the #EndSars protest was different is that Nigerians got tired and wanted something to change. She added that the police officers became more brutal during the lockdown.