What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up.
“Man Like” is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.
The subject for today’s “Man Like” is Chuuzus. He’s a social media manager, content god, and all-around baddie. He talks about being bullied for being different, his male role model, leaving Nigerian Twitter, and some of his biggest fears.
It’s been a tough week. How are you?
I’ve generally felt angry and helpless with the whole #EndSars situation. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions — pain, anger, shock. I was so angry that people were not talking, and that some people were unfollowing me because I was tweeting about the #EndSars movement.
I think I lost over 100 followers in one day just for tweeting #EndSars alone. Maybe it’s the fact that most of my followers are white people, so they’re not interested in this type of thing. I’m just here thinking that didn’t we say that Black Lives Matter? Why is everyone unlooking?
Pause. Your followers are what?
A little backstory — I love pop culture. I love talking about Beyoncé, Rihanna, Viola Davis, Quentin Tarantino, Kid Cudi. Like a lot. It also helps that I have friends who also enjoy this. So, when we discuss Quentin Tarantino, I’ll post something on Twitter about Kill Bill. Sometimes, it’s Viola Davis, so I’ll post something from How To Get Away With Murder. Over time, I realised that foreigners interact more with this content, so I focused on them. With time, I found myself slowly moving out of “Nigerian” Twitter.
To be honest, I like it because I’m seeing what I really love, which is pop culture.
People drag me that I don’t talk about Nigerian pop culture, but I find it boring. Only a few people excite me, like Burna Boy, Santi, Odunsi, Deto Black, Lady Donli. Then, of course, Genevieve because she’s a queen. If you expect me to talk about the “other “people, I’m sorry it won’t happen.
Lmao. I’m curious about how you can talk about pop culture so well.
I remember being different growing up. I also remember being treated differently in secondary school, and I swore never to allow any of my children to go to boarding school. It’s crazy how people bully you for being different.
Because I didn’t like football and preferred talking about Beyoncé, Rihanna, I was called different names. I remember the popular kids called me names like faggot, dead guy. Apart from the names, I also faced a lot of discrimination. The fact that I don’t like football doesn’t give you a right to call me names. Who TF do you think you are?
I was just a child who enjoyed these things and loved to talk about them. I don’t understand why they had to be mean to me.
I’m so sorry. Do you want to share any incident?
One time, I remember gisting with one of the popular girls back in school and one of the popular boys came by to meet her. He was like, “Why are you talking to this dead guy?” That statement shook me. When I got to the hostel, I was crying. It was normal to them, but I kept asking myself why someone would think it was okay to look down on someone.
I was like, “Do these people really think I’m a dead guy?”
To be honest, I used to be concerned about the opinion of the popular kids. Some people will say that they didn’t care about their opinion, but the truth is that most people did.
It’s sad because nobody knows where the popular kids are today. I want to ask them: “What did you gain by being a bully?” They gained nothing.
It’s wild that back then they used to call me Beyoncé, and I’d be angry. But now, I’m like what?? I can’t believe there was a time I was angry because people were calling me Bey. That’s like the greatest performer of our time. The most celebrated artist of our time. Why was I angry? I guess it’s because I was small and didn’t know what I was doing. Today, if you call me Beyoncé, that means I’m doing something right. It means that my work is exceptional, and I’m doing amazing.
LMAO. I’m dying. How would you define masculinity?
I like not being afraid to try new things. Some people think if you’re doing manicure or pedicure as a man, you’re gay. And these people are usually homophobes. My idea of masculinity revolves around doing things without caring about what people will say. I’m not threatened to do things people consider as “woman-like.” For example, why can’t I like pink? Is it not a color?
Energy. Has anything ever threatened this belief?
No. However, someone has threatened my life.
Yes. Threatened my life.
Back when I was on Nigerian Twitter, I was chaotic and always fighting with people. I blame it on the fact that I was very young.
I got into a fight with someone, and the person was like I know where you live and I’ll deal with you. The person dropped my address, my street name, my bus stop. See, I was so scared. After that incident, I’m just in my own lane tweeting about Rihanna. Before somebody will come and kill me because of Twitter.
I’m sorry but I laughed. Do you have male role models you want to be like?
OMG, Kid Cudi. The type of music he made when I was growing up wasn’t something considered “masculine.” He was singing about being depressed and back then, Hip-hop was all about drugs and women. Kid Cudi was there for me. He was there to address issues that black people look down on. Things like depression, loneliness, feeling lost.
I remember being depressed, listening to his album Man On The Moon 1 and 2 and thinking to myself that everything would end up being fine no matter what.
Did everything end up being fine though?
Does anything scare you?
I’m scared of not achieving my goal of being a filmmaker and an actor. I’m scared that there’s no time with the way things are going. I’m in my 20s, and this is the time I’m meant to start acting and stuff. But wtf is going on? I’ve also not figured out what I want to do with life.
I’m scared of not being well-loved. In fact, I never knew I’d like a relationship until my heart got broken like last month. I used to look down on all these couples in love until it happened to me. Now, it’s something I actually want.
Then there’s also the fear that I’ll never get a banging body. I’ll be sad if that doesn’t happen because I must rock a crop top before I die.
E for Eneji.
I was hoping to ask: when was the last time you cried?
The past week has been so so difficult with the #EndSars protests and all, then I now heard that a young man named Oke got killed. This is someone that was very young, and you could tell that he wanted to achieve something with his life. He had dreams just like any young person, and Nigeria killed him. That was extremely sad to me because no one deserves to go like that.
When I heard the news, I cried and cried. Everyday, I pray that his soul rests in peace.
Me too. Me too.
Check back every Sunday by 12 pm for new stories in the “Man Like” series. If you’d like to be featured or you know anyone that would be perfect for this, kindly send an email.