M.T. is joined by Common Sense Political editor Sithokozile Thabethe as they discuss Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest essay.
On Tuesday, June 15, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published a three-part essay on her website titled “It Is Obscene”. The essay started with personal anecdotes about two unnamed former students, who had criticised her openly for her comment on trans women in 2017, while also using her fame for their personal gain.
It went on to address the larger lack of nuance and compassion in discourses on social media, an issue Adichie has spoken of before in her criticism of cancel culture. While many have lauded Adichie’s essay for an apt representation of “woke” culture on social media, the motivation for this essay was also largely personal. Specifically, it was a public acknowledgement of her controversy with ex-student Akwaeka Emezi, who has been critical of Adichie’s views on trans women.
In It Is Obscene, Adichie criticises two writers who attended her creative writing workshops in Lagos. She befriended both, she says, and helped them get published. But both, in her view, betrayed her friendship by targeting her on social media and spreading malicious falsehoods.