….. That Airtel Advert
To say I am highly disappointed in this recent offering by Airtel that tired network telecommunications provider will be an understatement of the year. That advert is racism if I can say that. The one that has a mediocre actor portraying the ibibio man. I take strong exceptions to the continued pushing of this very derogatory stereotype of my people.
The unending portrayal of the ibibio person as a domestic worker, near literate minion garbed in stupifying and logic defying sequences has continued to gal me, driving me to momentous levels of rage. Over the years, we have continued to be portrayed in this light in most showings and this has come to stay that today my people are mostly seen in that light and are generally not expected to aspire beyond this mediocre leveling. Any person from Akwa Ibom who has achieved some semblance of respect in our society is seen as an exception, he is ridiculed and laughed at as that one person who has broken the mould instead of wallowing in the abyss of domesticated servitude.
So you see my anger as an educated and proud ibibio man with Airtel and this ‘rubbish’ of an advert. I have seen this advert only once and felt the wave of anger swell in my bowels that If we were not in a recession, I would have smashed the television set. Why for heaven’s sake would a grown up man be portrayed as a domestic servant to people who are obviously from another tribe and why would the madam of the house, threaten this adult ‘mongol’ obviously from Akwa Ibom with violence and to the extent of going ahead to pull his ear like a semi-idiotic infant simply because he was very joyous at getting extra credit on his phone and was going about it with the joy and happiness of the first man who landed on the moon.
This advert has done a great disservice to a proud and cultured people. A people with a high level of sophistication and a culture that remains a source of pride and dignity. This company has shown that it does not have any regard for my people and we should in turn reciprocate this insult by boycotting their service and push towards its competitors who will respect us and what we stand for. It is not even their fault if we too did not celebrate this ‘crassness’ by also throwing up actors like Ime Bishop whose caricature and amateurish portrayal of the Ibibio person continue to provide this window then people like Airtel would not be bold enough to throw this kind of affront on us.
I implore Airtel to kindly pull that campaign, apologise to the Ibibio nation or face the wrath of the Ekpe Masquerade. As is the case, I do not expect any PR person from Airtel to contact me or even attempt to soothe my anger with their usual empty cajoling and ‘philistinic’ gifts, all me and the millions of self-respecting and highly educated Ibibio people want is respect. Please pull it NOW. We have spoken.
Joseph Edgar sent in this article from Lagos