As you gear up for the sixth season of Big Brother Naija, here’s why you might not know which lane you’re in
It’s safe to say that the world knows reality TV – years after the first one hit the airwaves, we’re still glued to our screens (TV, desktop and mobile) to tune into the latest example of backstabbing, strategy or dubious relationships because we know what to expect: good, old-fashioned, ruthless gameplay.
That is the way of the Reality TV World.
Enter Big Brother
And we’d be forgiven to expect the same of Big Brother. After all, after 22 years and 448 seasons, the show – if it were a person – would be entitled to vote, consume alcohol, drive a car and stand for elected office. The format is literally older than some of the people reading this article, right now. (If this does not apply to you, consider the fact that this might apply to your kids. Feel old, yet?)
As if sheer age weren’t enough, the show also happens to span 54 different franchises, and all of them have their own idiosyncrasies – their own regional flavour – that make them palatable to the intended market, but possibly a little harder to stomach for outsiders. Some iterations deploy sneaky tricks like fake Housemates or Evictions, “luxurious” and “poor” households, or Big Brother-style Ninjas.
That Nigerian Flavour
While Big Brother Naija might – and probably will – use some of these tricks to keep the Housemates on their toes, that has nothing to do with what makes #BBNaija the first among equals in the franchise. Nope, no twist manufactured by any production company or satellite TV broadcaster comes anywhere close to the singularly unique interaction of that seemingly-mythical-but-very-real phenomenon, the Big Brother Naija fan.
Seriously. Some people talk about the British public’s devotion to the Queen or Beyoncé’s buzzing Beyhive, but – until they’ve witnessed the fervour, the passion, the sheer unapologetic support of the African continent’s most devoted fanbase – those people might want to sit back and learn.
This isn’t an audience. This isn’t even a fanbase. This is a phenomenon.
An Embarrassment of Riches
You think this is hyperbole? Allow us to dissuade you. In other editions of Big Brother, the winner walks away with the prize money, and Nigeria’s offering is no different – you win, you get paid. So far, so expected.
And then… they get a car. Not just any car, mind you, but one of those uber-luxurious, super-expensive German brands, which is nice by anybody’s book. Still not impressed? That’s because you don’t understand – that wasn’t an official prize. That was a gift – from the fans
As in – somebody just walked away from a competition having won N85 million and the audience thought they’d crowdfund him a luxury sedan, just because they liked him so much. And then they did it again – for somebody ELSE. Who didn’t even win!
What? Where else does somebody lose a competition and be given a fancy-pants car just because, you know, “we like you so much”?
Another example, just because we have so many from which to choose: have you ever heard of a person being disqualified from a competition and then have a bunch of fans decide to start a GoFundMe account to give them a bunch of prize money, anyway, because “why not?”
The Public Sector
No, we’re not done. Sure, you’re thinking, “what else?” Well, you’ve forgotten the big one. Government.
The most populous country on the continent, Nigeria consists of many regions, and fans often tend to muster behind the Housemates who call the same place home, which is to be expected. In that sense, it’s no different from fans rooting for the local football team, right? Right. But that’s where it stops, right? You don’t suddenly get to join state government simply because you represent that state on Big Brother, right? Right?
Actually, wrong, wrong, wrong. Three times – because that’s how many times you would be wrong.
Three Housemates have been appointed to State government after their appearances on Big Brother Naija – Ogun State’s governor nominated Season 5’s winner – Laycon – the Ambassador for Youth. As if this were a competition, Bayelsa State’s chief executive named two former contestants as Senior Special Assistants, one of them being the aforementioned disqualified Housemate who is now – no kidding – the Ambassador of the Girl Child.
By the way – all of the examples in this article only cite Housemates from the last season!
Don’t miss the special Big Brother Naija double launch show this Saturday, 24 July and Sunday, 25 July 2021!
For more information on this exciting new season, keep an eye on the website and follow our official Big Brother Naija social media pages on Instagram and Facebook. Follow and be part of the conversation using the hashtag #BBNaija