Bigger and hotter! Those were the words of the Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe at the premiere of the fourth season of the reality show, Big Brother Naija. Since the announcement in January, fans have gone agog with excitement, particularly with the news that the show would be held in Nigeria for the first time since its premiere in 2006. True to its word, a new Big Brother Naija House was built from scratch in Lagos, delicately designed to exude the beauty and splendor that characterize the famous house. More importantly, the interior décor of the house showcased a beautiful blend of arts, adventure, and culture which were prominent in the artworks that patterned the colourful walls. Some of the features of the house were retained with a few tweaks. For instance, there is still the garden, the jacuzzi, where all the steamy actions take place, and of course, the coveted Head of House title that comes with certain privileges. For this season, the winner gets a tastefully designed master suite for the period of his or her reign.
Bringing the show back home also required the organizers to throw all in the ring. Cutting edge technology, tight security measures were deployed to ensure a smooth and safe season.
However, what really got the public buzzing was its theme. In its fourth season, the show picked a street lingo, ‘Pepper Dem’, a phrase which offers different meanings depending on the context.
But it suggests a mix of spicy flavours. Since its return in 2017, the Big Brother Naija reality TV show has sustained a play on street lingos. The second edition was themed ‘See Gobbe’, a colloquial term that quickly brings to mind the popular song by Davido ‘Gobe’ and as well implies trouble.
Last year, the organizers played on ‘Double Wahala’, a slang for double drama or trouble, and which provenance can be traced to the 1990’s hit song ‘Confusion Break Bone’ by the Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. And it was indeed double entertainment for viewers as they witnessed housemates get evicted in pairs. That edition proved challenging for contestants as they kept their guard up so that their partners would not get them kicked out of the house.
‘Pepper Dem’ generally hints at a show of flamboyance targeted to cower an opponent. Of course, the eclectic mix of spicy flavours from selected housemates certainly would concretize the idea behind this theme as they roll out strategies to win the hearts of millions of Nigerians who will be viewing locally and in the diaspora.
Not surprisingly, the series has brought together the mature and the temperamental; an athlete, a video vixen, a police officer, a lawyer; and believe it or not, a part-time male stripper! At the premiere show on Sunday, the diverse housemates graced the stage, dripping in sauce. So far, the contestants are yet to show their true flavour. The coming weeks will certainly bring in all the drama and spice. However, one of the housemates will likely be evicted at today’s show. Who will be the unlucky one?
The Police Officer Khafi
Not a few were alarmed when Khafi Khareem during the show’s launch revealed that she was a police officer in London. It is not the first time that Nigerians in the diaspora have contested in the reality show, but it is unlikely to find a police officer in the house. Born to immigrant African parents, Khafi in an interview earlier this year said she was inspired to join the London Police Force to inspire women to pursue their dreams. The Ekiti state indigene also hopes to be the first female winner of the reality show. So far, she has been described by viewers as a very nice lady but some doubt if her geniality will be sustained in the coming weeks. For now, let’s enjoy her sweet, chili sauce.
The Athlete Mike
Mike has an accent, and he is not apologetic about it. He is also married and is staying clear of the women in the house. But they got their eyes on him, so do the viewers who are anxious to see if he will keep or break the marital code like the 2017 housemate, Anthony Effiong popularly known as Thin Tall Tony. Already, he confessed to Big Brother during a diary session that he felt a connection with one of the contestants in the house, Kimoprah. Though he claimed the chemistry is similar to siblings relationship, who knows what direction the relationship will take.
Most times, The 28-year-old often keeps to himself unless there is a discussion about relationships. He was quick to advise another housemate Jackye on how not to condone cheating from her man. During the live show, the British and Nigerian high jumper said he just wants to give people a good show but was clear that he has zero tolerance for petty talks, the perfect Aleppo pepper. Mike is also a CEO, owner of UK’s first Black-owned cigar line. Though he was banned from representing Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mike will probably be heading to the Olympics next year whether he takes home the grand prize worth N60 million or not.
The Musician Avala
Blessed with good looks and tenor, 30-year-old Avala is in the game for the money and she is not shy about it. The single mother from Ogun state is usually in a cheerful mien, regaling her housemates with her childbirth experience. Sometimes, the imagery is gory and Avala does not know when to stop. Nevertheless, getting hooked is not in her books. We hope she keeps it that way!
The Funny Model Omashola
The 38-year-old model promised to entertain viewers and so far, he has been doing a great job of it, staying true to his Warri roots, Omashola converses mainly in pidgin language, adding the popular wafi flavour for more amusement. One of his trending videos on social media is his diary session with Big Brother where he revealed his discomfort with some of the housemates who speak with accents. He didn’t mince words when he told Biggie that he is indeed worthy of the coveted crown of Big Brother Naija winner. And maybe he is on his way there as his video seemed to have increased his fanbase, though some suspect he is copying the ‘Warri’ strategy of the 2017 winner of the reality show, Efe Ejeba.