Monday 11 July 2016


I pick up my phone, look for the best light source, tilt for the best angle, present the left side of my face, pucker my lips (or smile or laugh), choose a filter and bam! Picture taken!

When I want a full length picture, I hand over my phone to someone and repeat the procedure.

I always present my left side because it is my most flattering side. My smile seems fuller, my eyes brighter and the ‘love handles’ on my waist doesn’t look so pronounced.

I take as many pictures as possible and then choose the best from the rack. Every picture that shows me in an unflattering light doesn’t see the light of any prying eyes. It is CTRL X on them ugly pictures!

Having done that, I go through filter after filter to make my face smoother, clearer, and fresher and my clothes and environment more ‘tush’. When all that is done, INSTAGRAM baby!

50 likes! 100 likes! 1000 likes! And if I am Kim Kardashian, likes in the millions! Yeah…I wasn’t just talking about me.

When you go on any of the social media platforms, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr or whatever suits your style, you see pictures of people that seem a bit…unreal. Everyone is more beautiful, richer, sexier and much more likeable. Everyone seems to be having fun and celebrating life and doing things that you seem to be left out of. Everyone seems to have a very happy life!

But is this usually the case? In most cases, no.

Social media has given us an opportunity to lie to the world.

I know many people who are extremely different from what they put up on social media. There are people who post snaps showing they live in opulent houses while living poor. Women with smaller waists on Snapchat or Instagram seem thicker in reality. Remember when 50 Cents was with that bed of money but filing for bankruptcy? Wizkid spoke of a house he supposedly 'bought' when in real sense, the owner was waiting to embarrass the heck out of him fornot paying rent. And supposedly happy relationships on the gram are anything but.

Take the case of Toke Makinwa and Tiwa Savage for example. I cannot count all the #CoupleGoals posts people put up after seeing well edited photos of their supposedly happy marriages. The wedding pictures were heavenly and the gowns were out of this world! It wasn’t until their marriages publicly came crashing down that people saw how unhappy they really were.

I met an actor cum TV and red carpet host recently. This actor had a very healthy social media presence. He was always on fleek in all his pictures and one would have thought he was swimming in money. He was at our school to talk on his career as a learning platform for aspiring actors. One of the first things he said was, ‘Forget what you see on the gram. Most of what I wear is brought to me by my producers and after the show, I return them. I go home in the clothes I went to the office with.’ I was shocked. Here was an ‘accomplished’ actor telling us that most of what we saw on his Instagram was just for show.

Another actor, this time my favorite Nigerian male actor, spoke of moments of poverty when he was smiling for the gram, when he was posting happy pictures and when he was motivating others to reach for the stars.

I can go on and on with the celebrities but they are not the only guilty ones. I know ladies who cannot take a picture without caking their face first. They cannot go out without their face beat on fleek and dressed to the nines. These ladies spend almost all their money on clothes, makeup, accessories and what not. They hardly ever repeat a dress or shoe. Every day, they take pictures to show off what they have. How would the world know they just bought a new dress if they don’t quickly upload photos online?

This is not just a thing for girls. Guys are guilty too. You look at snaps of Tyson Beckford, Trey Songz, Ebuka Uchendu, Nobel Igwe and you just know that men also want to show off. These men are fashionable and trendy so they show off their appeal in well taken shots. Some other men who may not be conventionally sexy or ‘cute’ show off their wealth. Men like Floyd Mayweather, Young Thug, Birdman and Davido are about showing off that paper. Again, how would people know they are millionaires if they don’t show the things their money can buy for them? And another category is the men who show off their penis prints. You all know how many women swooned when The Game showed off what he was packing on Instagram or when Serge Ibaka mistakenly posted a picture emphasizing his size.

You hardly ever see anyone deliberately putting up a bad picture of themselves. Everyone always wants to look good. And even though I am anti-body shaming, I will never take a picture of my love handles and put online. Hell no! I ain’t sorry! Khloe Kardashian photoshops her bad knee, some dark skinned girls use lighter filters, some ‘white’ girls use the tan filter, people without cars never post pictures where they are trekking or in public transport and stuff like that.

The effect then is that when many people go on Instagram or Facebook or any social media site that is especially designed for pictures and videos, they think that their lives isn’t as good as it should be. They look at the plush houses, luxury cars, designer clothes, expensive jewelry and accessories, state-of-the-art gadgets, perfectly done make up, trips to exotic locales and mouth-watering food and they can’t help but think that their life is sadly lacking in many things.

If you are one of such, remember that away from the well edited or photoshopped pictures are people who have regular lives, who may face (sometimes worse) pains than you do, who are fighting their own battles, who may be dealing with self-confidence issues or whose only true happiness is when they take those pictures. Remember that beneath the cakes of make up on many women is a burning need to feel beautiful. When you worry about the love handles, oi Ramat, I am talking to you, remember that many women expose themselves to grave pain wearing waist trainers just to give the illusion of a smaller waist. When those pictures of your friends or age mates living large begin to pull the strings of depression in your heart, remember that there are things you have that they do not and take that moment to celebrate you. When Serge Ibaka makes you feel like you are a ‘small man’, remember that the key to pleasing a woman doesn’t lie solely in size but in technique. And when you think of all that evidence of good living that seems to elude you, push yourself to work harder, to give in more and to achieve more.

Social media has its blessings and has brought many good things to people. But when the curse of social media comes knocking, be like Hodor, holding that door and knowing that no matter what happens, your Bran(d) will be okay. Sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side. But the plus side to this statement is this: most times, it is not!

So take up the Alicia Keys challenge today. Take a picture of you being you! Post it on your social media platforms and show the world that you like you…just the way you are!

It is #NoFilter day, baby!

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