Famed as Africa’s male Barbie, Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky, never shies away from controversies. In spite of the criticisms against his personality, the 25-year- old beautician is resolute on living his life the way he wants.
Controversy over arrest by Police
Following the news of the ‘arrest’ of Nigerian internet personality and beautician, Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky, for allegedly proclaiming himself as gay, the police have cleared him.
“I don’t know about the arrest, and the command did not arrest him,” the Lagos State Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said on Wednesday.
“He does not have any problem with the command. Ask him who arrested him.”
More so, the Police Public Relations Officer for Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmos, also denied the arrest of the cross-dresser.
She said, “I am not aware of the arrest. Maybe he was arrested somewhere else.”
On Tuesday, the internet was awash with stories of the arrest of the Nigerian Snapchat Queen by police officers attached to a Lekki police station for coming out as gay in an Instagram post.
“All these house boys and girls coming to drop comment on page are you all stupid?” Bobrisky wrote.
“Do you think your hate comments can change me? Why are you trying so hard to get my attention?… If all your insult bothered me, I should have stopped posting here. Yes am gay, I will go to hell fire. Thanks. Please what else? I’m tired of those same words. I wanna hear something new.”
Though he later deleted the post, the attention had begun because in previous interviews, Bobrisky, despite his effeminate ways of cross-dressing, wearing make-up, had always denied being gay. While the allegation of being gay had always hung over Bobrisky, some people thought it was strange that such could warrant the police to arrest him, given his controversial posture as a cross-dresser and skin bleaching cream agent.
In fact, another report speculated that behind Bobrisky’s arrest is connected to a running battle with socialite Toyin Lawani, an allegation which Lawani’s crew have refuted. But Bobrisky does not believe it.
On Wednesday, Bobrisky accused Toyin Lawani of being behind his ordeal.
“Toyin Lawani asked her lawyer to write petitions against me claiming that I worked for her and I’m selling cream to all her customers,” he revealed to Linda Ikeji Blog. Lawani had allegedly called him a riff-raff during a social media rift.
“Which was a fat lie? I never worked for Toyin. She was my friend. I can’t remember ever working for Toyin or learning how to make cream from her.
“Then she also said I threatened her. So we are going to Abuja because that was where the case was reported. Before she wrote petitions against me, she had already threatened me that she is giving me 7 days to go to the internet and apologize to her which I said no way because she offended me. I think because I refused to apologize, she got the police involved.”
Bobrisky also said the police took his phones and was told he would need to wait until the next morning to go to Abuja. In 2016, police arrested Bobrisky for allegedly beating up a lady who allegedly took photos of him.
His early days
WHILE almost every human society throughout history followed norms and designated conventions of cultural behaviours including clothing for each genders or age, there exist some exceptions. But who is exactly is this fair-complexioned Bobrisky, perhaps, Nigeria’s most famous cross-dresser who falls into such category.
Bobrisky who lost his mother in 2008 was born in 1992 in Ebutte Meta, Lagos into a Muslim family. And in interview conducted in 2016, Bobrisky said he coined his brand name by adding ‘risky’ to Bobo, the name his family called him as a child.
“I was born in a polygamous family,” said Bobrisky who attended Kings College, Lagos before attending University of Lagos, where he graduated from the department of accounting. He lost his mother
“My dad has three wives. My mom is the last wife and I, the last born of the family. My family use to call me Bobo while growing up. I was like, ‘let me add risky because I love to take risk.’ That’s why I came up with Bobrisky.”
The skin-whitening business
AND in 2014, Bobrisky got trapped in his biggest risk, cross-dressing, due to peer pressure, he said. It would also take another risk – him being mocked for being dark in complexion – for Bobrisky to discover his now lucrative bleaching cream business.
“I went to Dubai with my friends (and) while gisting, a naughty friend just said, I’m too black that I need to bleach maybe to chocolate or tone up a little,” he said.
“I was like lemme try to tone up, but the cream made (me) to have scratches, dark spots and dark knuckles. I was like lemme kuku make everything blend since I have no choice.”
After Bobrisky turned from black to white, he abandoned his unis*x shop at Ikeja, where he sold ladies’ wears and started selling the cream to his admirers.
“As a cream seller and make-up artiste, I put everything on, to advertise my product – bobrisky is not doing it lure men. People starting adding me on Snap and Instagram because of my makeup and bleaching cream. I sold my cream to other countries like Gambia, Zimbabwe, Canada, Austria and UK, the blog there are promoting my business on their blog.”
Since then, his brand of cream has attracted wealthy clientele and the Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State indigene, with his social media presence, has gradually become one of Nigeria’s most controversial internet personality. He also sells expensive skin-whitening reams which go for as much as 100, 000 naira as he writes about his ostentatious life on social media.
He has also reportedly got invites to elite gigs and even made a debut as an actor in a movie, Ojuloge, with Tayo Sobola and Toyin Afolayan. And for a week last year, Bobrisky came out tops on Google search. Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, in a statement disclosed that Bobrisky was most searched on the global search engine between October 26 and November 2, 2016.
“Top trending searches on Google this week went from a fashionable man with a different dress sense to a search for a chemistry, which is neither a subject nor love bond,” said Kola-Ogunlade.
“Bobrisky, ‘Africa’s Male Barbie’ became a search interest this week after a presidential aide pulled off from a new media conference, because he could not share the stage with the social media sensation.
“Bobrisky had earlier dominated Google search some months back, for cross-dressing, use of makeup and stories of highlife with a secret ‘bae’.”
The gay allegation and s*xual harassment
APART from his s*xy voice and mannerisms, dressings like a woman, Bobrisky recorded more followers, mostly males, on his Snapchat account when he claimed he has boyfriend, known as BAE. Though, he refused to reveal his mysterious friend’s gender, he would use ‘him’ when talking about his BAE. And in October 2016, Bobrisky posted a photo where he posed with N7 million which he received from his ‘BAE.’
“Many times, men have mistaken me for a woman because of my feminine looks,” Bobrisky said, denying being gay, despite ‘twerking and whining’ on social media.
“And they have tried to lure him to bed with money and have failed.”
Though Bobrisky said he is currently single after his girlfriend left him because he wore make-up, he plans to settle down and have a family.
“One day, we went out for a dinner and a white man was staring at me,” she said of how he and his girlfriend separated.
“She got notice and she broke up with me. Since then, I’ve been dating other women but I’m not ready to settle down.”
Life in a homophobic society
IN Nigeria, involvement in same-s*x relationships is punishable with 14 years’ imprisonment as prescribed by the Same s*x Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) which became a law in 2013. However, arrests are infrequent as homos*xuals live in hiding. Hence, it is ironic that the social media account of Bobrisky which tends toward homos*xuality is very active.
The two major religions practiced in the country – Christianity and Islam also frown against homos*xual acts. While the bible in Deuteronomy 22:5 which reads ‘”A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this,’ frowns against cross-dressing, Sharia law prescribes death for people found guilty of engaging in same-s*x acts.
Expert’s view on cross-dressing
A psychologist warns that cross-dressers may begin wearing clothing associated with the opposite s*x in childhood, using the clothes of a sibling, parent, or friend. Some parents have said they allowed their children to cross-dress and, in many cases, the child stopped when they became older.
At 25, perhaps, it is not yet time for Bobrisky to change.