April 2014 was the year I witnessed (via Instagram) one of the most glamorous Nigerian weddings. Nigerian Superstar Tiwa Savage and beau Tunji “Teebillz” Balogun said their “I Do’s” in a glitzy affair, set against a dreamy Dubai backdrop, the bride drapped in classic Vera Wang couture. She looked like a modern day African Bride, with her equally handsome Prince Charming at her side. Merely a few days shy of their 2nd Wedding Anniversary, the world woke up to a social media catastrophe which saw Teebillz accusing the songstress of cheating with fellow musicians Don Jazzy, 2Face Idibia and Dr Sid.
In a swift PR move, the Erminado crooner quickly sat down for an exclusive interview with Nigeria’s Pulse, opening up about the ongoing drama in her marriage, leading her to divorce her husband. In the interview, Tiwa revealed that she had gone through a lot during their two year marriage as she was the sole provider and bread winner of the family. “I covered up for a lot of hurt in our relationship. I covered up for so long because I wanted people to believe that TJ is the one that takes care of me, TJ is the head of the house…I wanted him to be the head of the house”. Savage also revealed that she had a miscarriage after bleeding and passing out, after which she had to be rushed to the hospital, while on set of her music video in Jamaica. She was unfortunately unable to reach her husband who remained behind in Nigeria.
This story was a reminder of how much women endure all in the name of love, protecting the man, saving face and “doing it for the kids”. It also opened my eyes to the fact that even the most powerful women fight demons on a daily, whether it’s before taking on the world’s biggest stages, before catching the taxi to work, before dropping off the kids at school, or before conquering that boardroom. Every woman has a story and a battle to fight. What has been awe-inspiring for me with Tiwa’s journey is how she got rid of the man that “made her”, and instead of falling on her face, she rose to the highest heights.
The ‘Kelekele Love’ singer is one of the most powerful celebrity brands in Africa, thanks to her MTN Nigeria endorsement reportedly worth 30 million Naira (approximately R1,2 million), as well as other endorsement deals with Maggi, Forte Oil and Pampers. Tiwa has also been a Pepsi Nigeria Brand Ambassador since 2012, alongside fellow A-Listers Wizkid and Davido. Following the breakdown of her marriage, Tiwa’s 50 million Naira (approximately R2 million) endorsement with Pepsi came under scrutiny, with many reporting that the cola brand had dropped the pop sensation. However, Pepsi was quick to refute the sacking rumours, with the beverage maker confirming that “@Pepsi_Naija and @TiwaSavage as strong as ever” via a tweet. 2016 has turned around in a major way for Tiwa following the announcement that she had finally concluded her deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, after a year of negotiations. The world can do its best in reminding you that it has “made you”, that “you are nothing without it”. The truth is, it can break us down for a moment, but a real woman will always pick up the pieces, rebuild herself and come back stronger than ever. Women are made of steel darling!