Toke Makinwa's photo for FAME magazine has stirred up controversy online with many people saying the photos are wrong.
Adored by many, she is also vilified by many. Her haters perceive her as fame hungry and desperate attention.
Toke Makinwa has been able to stir the hornet's nest yet again. The on-air-personality is on the cover of the Transformation issue (no idea what means) of the new fashion magazine called Fame published by Ifan Ifeanyi Michael.
In one of the magazine photos, Toke Makinwa in all of her elegance, and light skinned glory is in the midst of black, poor kids in the watery slum of Makoko.
At first glance, it looks like an angel has just landed to bless some poor Nigerian kids. At second glance, it looks like a rich woman has come to stunt on some dirty black kids. At third glance, it becomes an unsettling visual on slum tourism, a rich woman highlighting her opulence by mingling with poor children in the ghetto. Simply put, this photo flipped poverty into entertainment.
Like someone rightly commented on the publisher's Instagram page, "I think this photoshoot exploited the poor community and their deplorable living condition."
This practically hits the nail on the head. Toke Makinwa's beauty and features were contrasted with the dirty living conditions in Makoko to greatly highlight her physical features. It's an easy but effective trick to pull off.
ALSO READ: Toke Makinwa is all about true love
Ordinary people do this every day. A young woman who thinks she is average in the looks department surrounds herself with friends who she thinks are not as pretty as her to highlight her own beauty.
An alpha male surrounds himself with beta males to increase the appeal of his physical features and leadership qualities.
Pictures are powerful and images are striking. The publisher of the magazine probably did not mean to exploit the poor community but when the narrative of a photo isn't properly told, it becomes vulnerable to public interpretation.
In March 2015, another media personality Eku Edewor was involved in a magazine controversy. Covering ThisDay Style, Edewor featured in several photos being feted by young, darker skinned attendants. This raised an online debate about colourism.
In Toke Makinwa's photo also there is a shade of colourism too apart from poverty exploitation. There might be a need for magazine editors and photographers to go for sensitivity training. This would help them know the difference between a photo that is creative and a photo that sends the wrong message.