In the mid-afternoon hours of the 8th of June 2021, a video of Nigerian singer and queen of afrobeats, Tiwa Savage, angrily lashing at colleague and Nigerian Idol judge, Seyi Shay at a swank hair salon where they both seemed to be getting their hair done. The vitriol Tiwa Savage had hurled at Seyi Shay included lines where she body-shamed and slut-shamed the singer while she also swore on the name and life of her only son, Jamil Balogun, in her Yoruba mother-tongue to lend credence to her listed grievances.
Nigerians on the internet and followers of the music scene have been quick to put forth their thoughts and takes with many siding with Ms. Savage thanks to her reference of Seyi Shay’s version of Kizz Daniel’s Fuck You that saw her referencing Tiwa Savage with slurs. With many taking this as karma for her ruthless commentary on performances at the Nigerian Idol.
While it is no secret that Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay share a strained relationship, this altercation undoubtedly shook the industry and has everyone taken aback at its intensity. To further shed some light on the issue, here is a timeline on the beef between the two singers:
1. Seyi Shay speaking about Tiwa Savage on Ebuka’s Rubbing Minds
In 2017, Seyi Shay had a chat with TV personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu on his show Rubbin’ Minds where they’d discussed her career, her rise in the game and her state of mind. Due to fans' constant comparison of Seyi Shay and Tiwa Savage at that period, Ebuka had asked the singer about the status of her relationship with Tiwa Savage and she had responded by saying;
“I don’t really know her personally. I don't have many friends in the music industry. They’re my colleagues, we say hello, we say goodbye, we invite each other to different things and functions that are happening.”
When further pressed by Ebuka as to why she had a stilted relationship with Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay had gone from stating that she had no idea why in a matter-of-fact manner, to cheekily suggesting that Ebuka ask her instead. She’d then stated that she would work on reaching out and shared that she felt complimented by the comparisons, saying;
“I think her music is great, I think Mavins, in general, are so good and the Nigerian music industry wouldn’t be as exciting if they weren’t a part of it.”
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2. Tiwa Savage releases Lova Lova
Following the heated but mainly one-sided exchange between Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay, the latter has come out to state that Tiwa Savage refused to credit her for her songwriting input on the hit song Lova Lova.
Lova Lova is a Tiwa Savage song released in 2018 that features Duncan Mighty with songwriting credits attributed to Ceeza Milli.
Seyi Shay stated that the song had been written by herself alongside Ceeza Milli and she had not been privy of the moment it got into Ms. Savage's hands. According to her, she had however called Tiwa Savage up to make this known and request that she is at the least credited, to which Tiwa Savage had blatantly refused.
Ceeza Milli has however come forward to ask that he is absolved from the situation and mentioned that he is quick to anger, leaving Seyi Shay's claims unverifiable.
3. Tiwa Savage releases her cover of Kizz Daniels Fuck You
In the first quarter of 2019, Kizz Daniel set the music industry ablaze with his Fuck You song on which he agonised over a lover who cheated on him multiple times. The song which featured copious slut-shaming and name-dropping of prestigious personas in the music industry had become an instant topic and had garnered traction in the upper echelons of the music scene. It had gotten multiple covers from artistes such as Simi, Wizkid, Falz and more. Tiwa Savage had also jumped on the challenge soon after the song’s release in March. While her version had covered an insincere lover who simply used her as his bus ticket to fame, her cover had attracted attention of a different sort.
3. Seyi Shay and Victoria Kimani diss Tiwa Savage on their Fuck You covers
Unfortunately, the attention Tiwa Savage attracted with her version of Kizz Daniel’s Fuck You was a diss directed at her from two other female singers who were at that moment, making waves in the male-dominated music scene.
The first was from Seyi Shay who sang on her version saying, “You know I’m not savage, I dey pay my bills. You no go see my name for the escape o.” Listeners had taken this as a diss to Tiwa Savage who on her version released three days before, belittled her deceitful lover for owing Escape, a popular club in Lagos, to the tune of 50 bottles worth of liquor. Tiwa had sang, “50 bottles you still dey owe Escape.”
Coincidentally, the next day, the founder and managing director of Club Escape, Richard Onadi, posted a video on his Instagram where he explicitly stated that he had shut down his club two months prior due to his establishment being knee-deep in 120 million Naira worth of debt and would be publishing a list of debtors comprising of musicians, reality tv stars and Lagos big boys and girls. He had also added that he had gotten the inspiration to publish the list after listening to Tiwa Savage’s Fuck You cover. He however never published the list or made mention of Ms. Savage being on it.
Fans however also speculated on the opening lines of Seyi Shay’s diss where she made mention of a supposed sister snatching her man, as also being directed at Tiwa Savage who was rumoured to have an affair with Wizkid. But Seyi Shay and Wizkid had only ever been rumoured to have an affair sometime in 2014 when she broke out, a good four years before Ms. Savage and Wizkid started to blow up story headlines with their intense joint performances of Ma Lo.
Two days after Seyi Shay’s explosive Fuck You cover, Victoria Kimani added gasoline to fire with her version where she went straight for the jugular while addressing Tiwa Savage with the lines “Grandma African bad girl, turning 44 still think that you a bad gyal. You can block me from a show but can’t block his blessings. We all know you selling p*ssy and it’s so depressing.”
According to Victoria Kimani, her grouse had been borne from reports she got from show promoter, Paul Okoye who had told her Tiwa Savage had requested that she not perform at the same show as her. Victoria Kimani soon afterward apologised for age and slut-shaming Ms. Savage but refused to take back the preceding lines she sang.
4. Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay have a collision at the salon
On the 8th of June, 2021 things went awry with a verbal collision at a salon on Lagos island, Tayo Cuts where both Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay happened to be at the same time. A three-minute-long video had surfaced on the internet where Tiwa Savage had laid in on Seyi Shay with lines like “Your ass is the dirtiest in the industry,” “Don’t come to me and think you can say 'hi' with the dirty and disgusting spirit you have. You think I’ve forgotten what you and Victoria Kimani said.” While also telling Seyi Shay thus; “You don’t try to squash shit by saying hi, you do that by calling on the phone.”
Seyi Shay had barely got in a word in edgewise, mostly responding to Tiwa Savage with the words she’d insulted her with.
The video had caused an uproar on the internet with most people taking sides with Tiwa Savage. Seyi Shay then granted an audio interview to Motolani Alake of Pulse Nigeria, narrating her side of events. According to her, she’d gotten to the salon after Tiwa Savage and had gone to say 'hi' to her some minutes after getting there to ease the tension in the salon. She’d stated that it was not the first time she’d been in the same space with Ms. Savage and claimed to share a cordial relationship with her after the Fuck You cover saga.
Seyi Shay shared that Tiwa Savage had approached her some twenty minutes after they exchanged pleasantries to then lash at her as captured in the video.
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While most members of the internet continue to side with Tiwa Savage and whip up hilarious scenarios of Seyi Shay taking advantage of her power as a judge on the Nigerian Idol front when faced with a contestant singing a Tiwa Savage song, some elements of the clash beg to be questioned. Prior to the salon encounter, had Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay really been in close contact since the Fuck You cover diss? What could have angered Ms. Savage to the point of swearing on her son’s life? And had Seyi Shay indeed failed to apologise since the diss? And was the snatched lover Seyi Shay sang about in relation to the Lova Lova track?
Tiwa Savage is yet to state her side of the story, but in the eventuality that she does, we hope that would clear up these questions as we continue to follow the story.