Home Essays BBN: A Transition from Cultural Identity to Appropriation? by Johnson Onyedikachi.

BBN: A Transition from Cultural Identity to Appropriation? by Johnson Onyedikachi.



Ever since its reinauguration in 2017, the renowned Nigerian reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, has gone on to be an alluring topic of interest which has since provoked constructive criticism as touching its impacts on Nigerian youths in the country and in the diaspora. As a matter of fact, many an analysis of the show have been given in less constructive means, as there is the question of how much of it is more Western than African. And in truth, a close observation of the annual reality TV show in a bid to expound on its societal impacts would leave behind these daring questions begging for answersWhat has become the reality of our cultural identity and societal individuality since the inception of the show?’ ‘What impacts has the show had on our African society?” 

From infancy and through the years of growth and development, there are certain values adopted by man for his sustainability. An overview of the daily activities of a man would reveal a correlation of such a man’s behaviours. For every human, there is a pattern of life that could be interpreted as befitting and acceptable. That is to say when people of different personal behavioural traits come together to become a community, there has to be a unification of those behaviours so as to have a generally accepted pattern of life. Every community of persons in different nations could surely be seen to have a way of life peculiar to them. This expounds the fact that some things which are acceptable by a particular community of persons could be abhorrent to another. Hence, it is expected that persons in a particular community accept the values which the community accepts. In a community, purposeful rejection or refusal to adhere to laid down principles by a particular person(s) could be generally viewed as offensive.   

For instance, in a modest English community and most European communities of the world today, it is an accepted norm for a man making a marriage proposal to a lady to do so while dropping his knees to the earth. In other communities, that could be frowned upon. In the Japanese business culture, an employee is permitted to take a quick nap. The word for it is “inemuri” which is often translated as “sleeping on duty”. Employers heavily recommend “inemuri” to their employees as a form of rejuvenation (Steger 181). “Inemuri” is also considered a sign of diligence to work. This sort of norm would not only be unacceptable in many communities of the contemporary world but also bizarre. Albeit, just as the aforementioned English and Japanese communities, the Igbo community has her personal values which were embedded into her core hundreds of years ago. These values were not dictated out of the selfish interest of a party of persons, but with the general acceptation of the values in mind, they were ushered into being and made to stay. 

Africa as continent of several integral communities has a well-structured value system which, more often than not, repels the ethics of a majority of the Western world and other communities of the world. Regardless of how much more advanced other communities of the world may seem than integral African communities, core cultural value systems of African communities should not be viewed as inferior to those of the Western communities. Hence, any attempt taken towards rendering some ethics in the cultural value system of integral African communities ineffective would be regarded as cultural appropriation—a disregard to the cultural identity of a people. 

However, assuming foreign value systems in an attempt to bring an integral community to global standards could be pardoned. For instance, a community that upholds traditions that impede the rights of a particular person(s) or religious group(s) could be discarded. In the same vein, cultural value systems that are foreign to a particular community of persons could be assumed in a bid to open such a community to development. A critical overview of the reality TV show in Nigeria, Big Brother Naija, would bring us to a point of realizing that the show is such that could open up the country to several channels of growth through its many latent societal impacts. 

One of the unique attributes of Nigeria is in its hugely diversified cultural groups. In that this uniqueness is largely meant to be an advantage to the nation, it could also be an appalling disadvantageOne of the glaring situations in Nigeria is the issue of tribalismAbout fifty years ago, as a result of tribal differences, the country had to endure a civil war. Ever since then, war has also been looming in integral communities of the country. Hence, the country could do a lot with concepts that suffocates chauvinism amongst various ethnic groups in the country. 

Big Brother Naija has been much of a bonding element, uniting persons of different religion and ethnicities. It has become another sport in that various Nigerians are faced with putting up a collective effort to the end that a certain contestant in the show eventually becomes a winner. Such unity could bring persons of various communities into a better understanding of ethnicities which they have grown into adults to hate. Such unity suffocates age-long stereotypes. Hence, apart from the commonplace benefits of weekly entertainment, disbursement of funds from elite groups to the masses and back, the reality TV show has been favourable for the unity of our Nigerian society. 


Works Cited 

Steger, Brigitte. Getting Away with Sleep: Social and Cultural Aspects of Dozing in Parliaments, Social Science Japan Journal, Vol. 6, no. 2, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 181-197. 


Onyedikachi Shaquille Johnson, an eighteen-year-old
Nigerian creative writer can be reached at johnsonshaqs@gmail.com

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