Chimamanda Adichie Replies Critics Of ‘Wife’ Drama
Earlier in the week, award-winning author, Chimamanda Adichie, received backlash from Nigerians over what they described as taking her feminism overboard. During her interview with former Democrat Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, she asked why her Twitter bio started with ‘wife’ while telling Clinton she was ‘a little bit upset’ with it. Her, being ‘upset’, annoyed a lot of Nigerians.
In reaction, Adichie took to her Facebook page to address the issue.
Read the full article below:
Dear Unnamed Person Who I Am Told Is On Social Media Saying I am Her Family and Telling Me to Shut Up: Cynicism is ugly. It doesn’t flatter anyone. Your’s doesn’t suit you at all.
I remember you vaguely; I think you were in my class in primary school. And now you claim to be my ‘family’ and you are asking me to shut up.
Did you watch the video of the conversation? Did you read a full transcript?
I am tired of Nigerians who read a headline and, without bothering to get details and context, jump on the outrage bandwagon and form lazy, shallow opinions.
I am tired of Nigerians cynically thinking of anybody in public life as a ‘brand.’ No, I am not a brand. I am a person who feels strongly about certain issues. I choose to talk honestly about them. I made the choice to talk about feminism knowing very well the kind of hostility it brings – but I think it’s important and I will continue to speak my truth and hope to bring about some change, no matter how small. Adirom agba egwu ka m data ego.
No, of course you don’t actually deserve a response, but I have some free time today. So I want to make you feel a little important because it sounds like you need it. And I want to reflect on an absolutely lovely hour spent on stage with Hillary Clinton.
I was happy when I was told that Hillary Clinton had specifically requested to be in conversation with me at the PEN World Voices festival. I am an unapologetic fan of Ms. Clinton’s. I have been for many years.
I felt quite emotional when I met her. Having read and followed her for years, it was moving to see her: the warm, human, observant, present, thoughtful person (and looking wonderful, with her hair and makeup on point!).
She said she had read my books and I restrained myself from doing cartwheels. “Is there anything you don’t want to talk about?” I asked backstage. “Ask me anything,” she said.
Towards the end of our conversation, I told her how, having read her writing about her own life, I think she has a great love story with Bill Clinton. A wonderful friendship. I said I feel irritated and protective of her when people dissect her personal life, but I also confessed to having an interest myself, particularly about her public Twitter profile. (I first noticed it when I was researching a piece about her during the presidential campaign). I was upset that the first word used to describe her was ‘wife.’ Was it a choice she had made or was it something done for her campaign and, if it was a choice she had made, did she think my reaction to it was fair?
Her response was very thoughtful. I was too excited, emotional, slightly nervous, to be on stage with this remarkable woman. Had I kept in mind how easily outrage-mongers would jump on a headline, I would have phrased my question better. I would not have made it about my being upset, because it can come across as navel-gazing.
But the truth is that we were supposed to be having a ‘conversation,’ the context of our conversation was personal and warm, I had made the decision to speak from the heart, and it would be dishonest to pretend that I had not reacted personally to so many issues around Ms. Clinton, whose life has become a kind of crucible of all the questions that affect women.
We all react personally to public figures. And I WAS upset that the Twitter bio of a woman who is the most accomplished person to run for President of the United States, would begin with ‘wife.’ And considering her personal history, it just didn’t seem to fit.